Mount Desert Elementary to be honored with Maine’s first top health excellence award

USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon and Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will present the award at a school assembly Friday

NORTHEAST HARBOR – The Mount Desert Elementary School will become the first in Maine honored with a Gold Medal of Distinction from the HealthierUS School Challenge.

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will join United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon in presenting the award this Friday to Principal Scott McFarland at an assembly for students, teachers and the community.

The K-8 school met the challenge’s rigorous health, nutrition and fitness criteria to qualify for the award, including offering at least one serving of whole-grain food each day; varying the kinds of fruits and vegetables served; moderating sodium, portion size and calories; and providing a minimum of 90 minutes per week of physical education/activity.

At Friday’s event, staff and students will share how their school is cultivating engagement in the lunchroom and the classroom through a variety of innovative health-related initiatives, including a culinary club which brings kids into the kitchen as volunteers and a school garden and greenhouse.

With the assistance and support of Maine DOE, Maine is a national leader in creating healthy school environments with 22 percent of the state’s schools achieving Gold of Distinction, Gold, Silver or Bronze in the HealthierUS School Challenge compared to 6 percent nationally.

The challenge, which is voluntary, improves children’s health by increasing the quality of foods served in schools and providing students with nutrition education and physical education and opportunities for activity.

WHERE: Mount Desert Elementary School, 8 Joy Rd., Northeast Harbor

WHEN: 2 p.m., Friday, May 24

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