A place at school where students can unload stress and worry

Last week about 20 students sat in Room 466 at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, writing down all the ways that people abuse one another. Rapes and beatings topped the lists. One boy asked, “What if you just have someone tell you you’re not going to get far in life?” Read more in the New York Times.

Helicopter parents can hinder kids’ exercise

According to a new North Carolina State University study, parents’ safety concerns may prevent children from getting enough exercise. In an era of increasing obesity in kids and adults, that could be a worrisome finding. Read more at Psych Central.

School lunch proposals set off dispute

WASHINGTON — The government has some thoughts on how to make the federally financed school lunch program more nutritious: A quarter-cup of tomato paste on pizza will no longer be considered a vegetable. Cut back on potatoes and add more fresh peaches, apples, spinach and broccoli. And hold the salt. Read more in the New York Times.

Recovering the lost art of cooking from scratch

DENVER – Cooking from scratch is becoming a lost art in many homes. Busy lifestyles and fast food make it difficult for many families to eat healthy. It doesn’t have to be like that, and that’s the message children are learning from the food service and nutrition directors at their schools. Watch 9NEWS.

Teen weight loss: They’re doing it wrong

Bored teenage girls studyingIn a recent study of high school students in Philadelphia, researchers found that 14 percent were obese. The good news is that three-quarters of these obese teens said they were trying to lose weight. The bad news is they appeared to be going about it all wrong.

Led by Clare Lenhart, a doctoral candidate in public health at Temple University, researchers looked at data from the 2010 Philadelphia Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included 43,753 students from the city’s public high schools. Data collected in the survey covered a wide range of lifestyle behaviors and health measures like obesity, recent smoking, daily soda consumption, exercise and hours per day playing video games. Read more in TIME magazine.

Senate votes to keep potatoes in schools

The U.S. potato industry has won round one of a hard-fought battle to keep spuds on school lunch menus. Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an amendment offered by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) prohibiting the use of USDA funds to implement rules that would set maximum serving limits on potatoes and several other starchy vegetables in school meal programs. Read more in AgriView.

Big grant awarded to promote kids bicycling

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Grand Valley Bikes is one step closer to encouraging bike riding among youth.

The nonprofit bicycle advocacy group partnered with Grand Junction to win a $44,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Colorado Safe Routes to School funding.

The grant allowed the group to purchase a fleet of bicycles, a trailer, signs and supplies, and training for two people to go to elementary schools to teach kids about pedestrian and bicycle safety. Read more in the Grand Junction Free Press.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.