The Colorado Department of Education’s Nutrition Office has announced that B.F. Kitchen Elementary School in Loveland has received an award from the HealthierUS School Challenge.

The school received the Gold Award of Distinction, the top award in the challenge with a monetary incentive of $2,000. B.F. Kitchen is the first school in Colorado to receive this recognition as part of the HealthierUS School Challenge – a USDA initiative that is part of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. The challenge acknowledges a school’s commitment to the health and well-being of its students.

piece of HealthierUS School Challenge logoB.F. Kitchen Elementary School has put a tremendous amount of effort into creating an environment where the administration, teachers, support staff, parents and students put an emphasis on physical education, activity and nutrition,” said Jane Brand, CDE’s nutrition director. “The school has fostered a fantastic relationship with parents through various outreach efforts.”

Part of those outreach efforts include parent and health nights which offer exercise classes such as Zumba. In addition to the district wellness policy, B.F. Kitchen has developed its own school-based wellness policy with additional standards.

“Much of our success stems from the involvement of the teachers at our school,” said Principal Kandi Smith. “The teachers have chosen to lead by example; there is no soda or candy anywhere on campus and the teachers make an effort to practice healthy habits.”

HealthierUS School Challenge criteria include offering fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. B.F. Kitchen offers a different fruit and vegetable everyday of the week along with whole grain products and a weekly legume. The students at B.F. Kitchen participate in physical activity daily and nutrition education is provided to students and parents.

Fourth-grade student Mitchell Knutsen added: “Our school is one of the healthiest in Colorado and we work hard to keep it that way. First, we get lots of exercise. We have P.E. every day. Second, we make sure that we’re eating healthy lunch choices, like fruits and vegetables.”

B.F. Kitchen has also partnered with the “Healthy Kids Club,” a program of the Poudre Valley Medical System to provide additional education and resources for students and parents. The program encourages students to participate in a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Challenge, in which students strive to eat five fruits and vegetables each day, and the Healthy Kids Club provides each student a chart to track their daily intake. In addition to the daily physical activity classes, teachers are implementing one- and 10- minute activity breaks during class time.

Awards ceremony details

The USDA will hold a special awards ceremony for B.F. Kitchen Elementary School at 7:45 a.m. Thursday. It will feature  breakfast with the students and an assembly and awards presentation at 8:45 a.m. The event will be held at B.F. Kitchen Elementary School, 915 Deborah Dr., in Loveland.

HealthierUS School Challenge trainings

In an effort to encourage even more schools across Colorado to recognize excellence in nutrition and physical activity, CDE’s Nutrition Office is offering nine HealthierUS School Challenge trainings in March to assist, prepare and provide information to schools about the HealthierUS School Challenge. The trainings will focus on key areas of the challenge, such as menu planning, physical activity and nutrition education. The trainings will be held Monday, March 14, through Friday, March 18. For more information, visit the training page.

Read more in this more complete story on the award.