Harrisburg School District admins invited to White House

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) – The Harrisburg School District (HDS) is a winner in the White House HealthierUS School Challenge.

HDS accepted First Lady Michelle Obama's challenge to create an environment in its schools that helps students learn how to live healthy, active lives.  The work of school administrators earned them an invitation to visit the White House in October.

HDS nutrition director Dolores Sutterfield said they had to make only minor changes to the school menus. "I looked at our menus and saw that what we were doing was already in the healthy edge of it and I just had to adapt my menus," she said.  "I thought, 'we can do this.'"

The school district modified its menu by incorporating whole grains and more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables within a week to students' meals.  Sutterfield said the most difficult goal they accomplished was adding orange and dark green vegetables to the menu.  "Green beans are not a dark green vegetable, and so we've incorporated spinach quite a bit and turnip greens."

The United States Department of Agriculture awarded the district with a bronze level certification, which means the HDS food program service will get $500 and three representatives from the school will visit the White House next month.

Sutterfield said following the challenge guidelines has helped HDS to prepare for future regulations in schools. "We have new guidelines coming into place next year for school lunches, and in those guidelines if you participate in the healthier U.S. school challenge, you're going to be pretty well in line with the new guidelines that are coming out."

Next year the school district plans to apply for a higher level of certification. "Next year we're going to go for the gold."

The HealthierUS Schools Challenge is part of First Lady Obama's Let's Move! campaign to raise a generation of healthier kids.

For more information about the HealthierUS Schools Challenge, click here.

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