2012-09-28 / School

Superintendent’s Corner

Frances M. McArthur, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Lexington Independent School District

This Saturday, September 29th is the 16th annual National Family Health and Fitness Day. The event’s purpose is to promote family involvement in physical activity. In Lexington ISD we take the health and fitness of our students very seriously because we know the impact exercise has on the brain and student learning. Promoting physical activity in our students directly supports our district’s efforts to ensure our students are college and career ready and we are very proud of our extracurricular programs that encourage students to be active. Equally important as physical activity, of course, is a healthy diet. Lexington’s food services department works very hard to make sure students have healthy, nutritious and tasty choices each day. This past June, the USDA released new guidelines that all school districts in the country who participate in the National School Lunch program must adhere to. These more stringent nutrition guidelines that were released this summer were brought on as a national effort to promote good nutrition and reduce obesity. The new requirements are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and they put limits on how much meat and grains schools are allowed to serve. In the past we had minimum requirements to serve and could determine our own portion sizes as long as they met fat percentages and calories. Now for middle school we can not serve more than 10 ounces of meat or 10 ounces of grains per week. High school students may be served 12 ounces of meat or grain per week. This is a sizable drop from what our students were used to getting (in the past, many of our entrees were easily 3+ ounces of meat and grain daily). While we must adhere to these requirements, in Lexington we offer a vast array of vegetables & fruit daily (easily over a dozen varieties per day), and we have increased our options in our delicious salad bar that has anywhere from sixteen to twentytwo options available each day.

If parents are hearing children come home and comment on the small portion sizes, this calorie restriction handed down by the USDA is the reason. Please help us encourage your children to try some of the new fruits and vegetables available to them this year. We realize these changes are particularly difficult for our athletes who need to consume much more calories daily than the new restrictions allow us to serve. Our Student Health Advisory Committee is looking at these required changes and possible adjustments that we may be able to make within the required guidelines. Mrs. Kathy Lamb, our Food Services Director, welcomes ideas and suggestions on items that we could include in our offerings, or anything else that you might see as an improvement. Please email her at lambk@lexingtonisd.net.

I appreciate all that Kathy Lamb, Jennifer Dane, Assistant Director, and all of the wonderful ladies who arrive at our cafeterias each day at the crack of dawn are doing to provide tasty meals that fit the new guidelines.

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