Twenty-nine of 31 Beaufort County public schools were recognized in the Healthier U.S. School Challenge, according to a news release Tuesday, and picked up $17,500 as a result.
Shanklin Elementary and Shell Point Elementary schools won gold awards, which ranks just below the "gold award of distinction" as the contest's highest honor, according to the Healthier U.S. School Challenge website.
Two schools won silver awards, and 25 won bronze.
The program, which began in 2004, is sponsored by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services Division and is open to all schools participating in the national school lunch program. To be named a winner, schools had to meet criteria in 10 areas, including meal planning and portion size, nutrition education, physical education, and school health and nutrition policies, according to a Beaufort County School District news release.
"Beaufort County has been aggressive in the healthy schools initiative," superintendent Valerie Truesdale said in the release. "We partnered with Sodexo, our food service contractor, to revise menus to promote healthier choices in school breakfasts and lunches, eliminating fried foods."
Truesdale said the district also hosted the "Eat Smart, Move More" regional conference, and it measures students' body mass index, pursues grants to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and has removed high-calorie items from vending machines. Some schools also have started walking and fitness clubs, she noted.
Award-winning schools receive monetary awards, totaling $17,500 to the district. Application for the awards was supported by Sodexo partners Larry Wilson and Donna Brazil, who direct food services with the county school district.
Other award-winning schools were:
- Beaufort Middle School, Bluffton Middle School, H.E. McCracken Middle School, Hilton Head Island Middle School, Lady's Island Middle School, Robert Smalls Middle School, Whale Branch Middle School.
Beaufort Elementary School, Bluffton Elementary School, Broad River Elementary School, Coosa Elementary School, Hilton Head Island Elementary School, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, Lady's Island Elementary School, Michael C. Riley Elementary School, Okatie Elementary School, Pritchardville Elementary School, Red Cedar Elementary School, St. Helena Elementary School and Whale Branch Elementary School.