The 2015-2016 school year has begun and we are so excited to welcome our community’s children back into the classrooms of Tahlequah Public Schools (TPS). What a joy it is to share our days with them. As we witness their growth, both in mind and in body, we are reminded of the important connection between wellness and educational development. Our district Health Council takes their mission to promote wellness very seriously, as we strive to include physical activity and good nutrition in each school day.
Our district Wellness Policy can be found on our TPS website. It details our current practices and future goals in four primary wellness areas – physical education and fitness; child nutrition program standards; nutrition education; and other school-based activities, to include fundraisers and vending machines. We welcome parent involvement and will be posting future wellness meeting schedules on our website. We would love to include you in our efforts to encourage students to lead healthy lifestyles.
Our Child Nutrition Team (CNT) actively participates in the TPS Health Council. They continue to meet the many regulatory requirements of USDA, while still providing appealing meals to children. There is a great deal to consider when creating menus for our young clientele. We want our students to enjoy their meals and be able to select food items that they want and/or are accustomed to. At the same time, CNT must follow USDA guidelines, which govern what they can serve and how much they can serve to each child. The requirements differ from grade to grade, with higher nutrient allowances for older children.
Tahlequah menus are analyzed to ensure that students receive the nutrients they need. The analysis includes fat, saturated fat, calories, sodium, and trans fat. No trans fat is allowed in any food item or ingredient served. The analysis is based on one week’s meals, including both breakfast and lunch.
The mission of our menu makers is two-fold: First they must ensure that the required levels are met each week. It is important that the meals served are of high nutritional value. But just as importantly, they must also ensure that our kids want to eat the meals served. Only the highest quality ingredients and food items are purchased. Our district cooks truly care about the meals they prepare and always have your children in mind as they determine which method of cooking will yield the best product and which spices will add just the right touch to make school meals great. We are proud of their achievements and appreciate their continued efforts to explore new options and increase the appeal of their meals.
Many of our children will receive their school meals at no charge. We remain proud participants in the Free and Reduced Meal Program. As always, we ask for your help in receiving Free and Reduced applications from all of our district families. The program is designed to help our kids meet their nutritional needs, while also assisting our district in other ways. Our free and reduced percentage remains a major factor in funding many school-based programs. Your participation helps us provide the very best for your children in every educational arena. Please help us stay strong through your submission of a Free and Reduced application. Applications are available through your child(ren)’s teachers at every school site. We are truly grateful for your support.
It’s going to be a GREAT year! We look forward to continuing to serve your children