KSDE Weekly

Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition

Districts, organizations honored for outstanding practices in child nutrition programs

Three Kansas school districts and two organizations were recently honored for outstanding practices in Child Nutrition and Wellness programs that help support the Kansans Can vision.

The Kansans Can 2022-2023 Best Practice Awards were presented by Cheryl Johnson, Child Nutrition and Wellness (CNW) director for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), during the Aug. 8 Kansas State Board of Education meeting in Topeka. This is the sixth year for the awards.

The Kansans Can vision, which was established by the State Board in 2015, is Kansas leads the world in the success of each student.

Recipients of the Kansans Can Serve Local Foods award are Logan Unified School District 326, DeSoto USD 232 and Quality Care Services Inc.

Logan USD 326 received a Farm to Plate sub-grant from KSDE as part of a USDA Farm to School grant. The district’s objective was to educate students as to where their food comes from and give them a sense of ownership as they were allowed to grow their own food that was then used for school meals.

Logan USD 326 used grant funds to purchase grow lights for garden towers, which allowed students to increase the amount of produce grown. They also purchased a compost bin and a commercial dehydrator.

“Logan is a leader in serving local, quality foods in school meals and in teaching students where their food comes from,” Johnson said. “They are a mentor and inspiration to many other districts throughout the state showing that Kansans Can serve local foods in child nutrition programs.”

DeSoto USD 232 celebrated Farm to Fork Friday each Friday from August through October during the 2022-2023 school year. Every Friday, a different local produce item was sourced from local farms and served at lunch through the Kansas City Food Hub – a farmer cooperative wholesaler and retailer that partners with 30 local farmers.

Produce served included watermelon, grape tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, Fuji apples, romaine and sweet green peppers. Farmer information cards were posted during the lunch meal service so students could see where the produce came from.

Quality Care Services Inc. is a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsor of child care homes. The organization was awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Edible Garden Turn-Key Grant effective July 2022 through June 2023. To apply for the grant, Quality Care Services needed community partnerships.

Quality Care Services partnered with Kansas Corn STEM and created a preschool curriculum that was offered free to all child care home providers through Kansas. Each of Quality Care Services’ child care home providers were given a local food bundle kit, which included a book on composting, container garden handouts and a sub-grant application for either a raised garden bed or hydroponic garden.

The organization successfully awarded 16 raised garden kits and 19 hydroponic garden kits. Providers grew more than 843 pounds of local food during the winter months.

“Quality Care is the first child care sponsor in Kansas to directly apply for a Farm to School Grant from USDA and is to be commended for its passion about serving quality local foods in day care homes, educating pre-K children about where their food comes from and creating a STEM curriculum,” Johnson said.

First Choice Support Services, a CACFP sponsor of child care homes, received the Kansans Can Step Up to Lead award. The organization faced staffing challenges during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“First Choice lost all personnel except the executive director and one enrollment specialist in February 2021,” Johnson said. “Lacy Schmidt stepped up to lead in a position where she was a new employee with no other experienced employees to mentor or guide her. She went above and beyond to learn and build competence in CACFP administration. She has maintained perfect attendance since her employment.”

One of Schmidt’s major accomplishments was the outreach she conducted to licensed child care home providers.

“At a time when there is a shortage of child care workers in Kansas, leadership to encourage day care home providers to participate in the CACFP, which is an indicator of quality care, is to be commended,” Johnson said.

Lansing USD 469 received the Kansans Can Impact Wellness award. The district has an active wellness committee that meets regularly. As a team, the committee has set goals to impact wellness within Lansing USD 469. Goals include increasing visibility and interest within the community around creating a healthier school environment and incorporating social-emotional wellness into the wellness policies.

“KSDE CNW supports schools in their wellness policy implementation by offering wellness coach visits to school districts,” Johnson said. “The wellness coach that assisted Lansing … was impressed with the work of this diverse community and how their strong policies and practices are truly impacting wellness in the Lansing schools and communities.”

Posted: Aug 17, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush
Tags: CNW

Theme picker

Copyright 2024 by Kansas State Department of Education | 900 SW Jackson St. | Topeka, KS 66612 Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use  |  System Maintenance Notices  |  Open Records (PDF)

The Kansas State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. (more information...)

To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made. To request accommodations or for more information please contact the Office of General Counsel at gc@ksde.org or by 785-296-3201.