La Porte ISD’s Jennie Reid Elementary School has received the prestigious U.S. School Challenge Silver Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
According to Yvonne Bennett, LPISD director of school nutrition, only 13 districts in Texas have received Healthier US School Challenge Awards since the program began.
“We are proud and pleased that USDA recognized our efforts in the Healthier U.S. School Challenge by awarding Jennie Reid Elementary the Silver Award,” Bennett said. “Schools are required to meet stricter nutrition and menu guidelines as well as offer physical education a minimum of 45 minutes weekly and incorporate nutrition education in the curriculum.”
The Jennie Reid Elementary cafeteria was required to increase the number of servings of whole grain items, add more orange and dark green vegetables and offer at least one cup of beans and peas weekly. Jennie Reid exceeded the physical education requirement by offering P.E. 30 minutes every day.
In addition, the school uses the Healthy and Wise program to teach nutrition education in the
The district received a congratulatory letter from First Lady Michelle Obama and will be presented with a $1,000 award by the Texas Department of Agriculture.
La Porte ISD's School Nutrition Department was recently recognized at the LPISD Board of Trustees meeting after earning perfect reviews from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at three district campuses.
According to Yvonne Bennett, LPISD director of school nutrition, every five years, school nutrition departments participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs undergo a comprehensive on-site evaluation developed by USDA. As part of this Coordinated Review Effort (CRE), a state compliance monitor reviewed three LPISD campuses in January and found no areas for concern in 15 areas of review and 132 possible findings.
The three campuses that were selected for the CRE and earned perfect reviews were La Porte High School, Baker Sixth Grade Campus and Lomax Elementary School.
In his comments regarding the reviews, the compliance monitor lauded the work of Bennett, assistant director Jill Gonzales and the campus nutrition staff members. "Ms. Bennett and Ms. Gonzales are to be commended on operating such a fine program," he said, making positive comments about the schools, the food offerings and the presentation of offerings in a way similar to the food court concept.
Of 240 reviews conducted in Texas this school year, only seven have been awarded an Excellent or Perfect review, Bennett explained. The School Nutrition Department will receive an award from Todd Staples, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.
School nutrition staff members at Lomax Elementary include manager Kim Berryhill, Tharesa Comello, Mary Dibello, Maria Martinez, Victoria Reinitz-Gomez, Emelita Twomey, Belinda Breaux, Karen Correa and Linda Sims.
The Baker Sixth Grade Campus cafeteria staff includes manager Dalia Moore, Louisa Castillo, Juana Salazar, Jutta Garrett, Julia Rodriguez, Linda Elledge, Mary Busbee, Eulalia Calderon, Dawn Haviland and Sylvia Rocha.
School nutrition staff members at La Porte High School include manager Sheila Haller, Cheryl Reedy, Martha Wiggins, Debbie Hopp, Tina Bivens, Gayle Rouse, Heredia San Miguel, Annette Mason, Wafaa Elabdallah, Lien Le, Maria Gracia, Sharon Szaronos, Marlene Beltran, Tammy Corbitt, Laura Vela, Benjamin Clow, Ykeitha Payne and Evelyn Freeman.