It’s almost time for everyone’s favorite school event… Special Olympics!
Because it was such a hit last year, and because we had such a great response from you all, we are going to give the staffulty the opportunity to “adopt an athlete” again! We have 18 students between the two classes and we would like to give them their special Olympics shirts so they have a uniform look on Special Olympics day. Athlete adoption costs $15 and if you would be interested please come see me in room 602 for more info. I have included the athlete shirt below.
We are going to give teachers the opportunity to purchase a shirt if they would like one, they will just not have your name and graduation year on the back. The shirts will cost $9 for sizes S-XL, $11 for XXL, add $1 for each size larger. Special Olympics is Friday, March 31st this year and t-shirts will be sold until Monday, March 13th to make sure that we get them back in time for Special Olympics. I am going to include a picture of the shirt below.
Thank you all so much for your support of our Special Olympians!
Liberal High School Tackles Student Hunger with a Grab-andGo Breakfast
At Liberal High School in Liberal, Kansas, located in the southwest corner of the state, Director of Nutrition Services Connie Vogts knew there were a lot of hungry kids. Among the largely Hispanic population of 1,200 students, more than 70 percent receive free and reduced-priced lunches ‒ and that number increases annually. The school has been improving the quality and freshness of its food for several years, but when it came to breakfast, many students weren’t ready to bite.
“We have a lot of kids who have food insecurity at home—they’re getting themselves up, maybe their parents are already at work, and there might not be any food at home,” Vogts said. “Students really will eat breakfast if it’s made available to them. And they’re hungry, just not at 7:30 am.”
Giving breakfast a second chance
To ensure that breakfast participation would be addressed at Liberal High School, Vogts added it to the school’s Action Plan, a component of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program. “Having the mentality of being a ‘Healthy School’ with the Alliance helped get everybody on the same page,” said Vogts.
In November 2013, Vogts applied for a grant to start a Second Chance Breakfast between the first and second hours of school. Some teachers were concerned about allowing students having food in the classroom, but ultimately, everyone knew that nourished kids learn better. The school was awarded the $3,000 grant, which was used to purchase a breakfast kiosk and a laptop to track student identification numbers.
Beginning in February 2014, students could grab their bagged breakfast from the kiosk in the common area at 8:45 am, and head to class before the bell. As Vogts explained it, “It’s a five-minute frenzy of activity.”
Full bellies, full attention
To help promote the program, graphic arts students made posters, the video production class created commercials, and the student newspaper ran a story. At first, breakfast was served only from the kiosk, but students were so enthusiastic about the program, Liberal High School soon added three lines in the cafeteria. Before long, the school was serving nearly 400 breakfasts per day. And just one month after it started, the impact was clear. In April 2013, for example, Liberal served 2,487 breakfasts: 2,292 free, 123 reduced rate and 72 paid. One year later, the school served 7,373 breakfasts: 5,919 free, 720 reduced rate and 735 paid.
Not only did the overall numbers increase significantly, but the number of paid meals increased 10-fold, indicating that Liberal High School is reaching a new group of students that hadn’t previously eaten breakfast at school.
Anecdotally, the program can claim victory in the classroom as well. Teachers notice that students who eat breakfast are more focused and eat fewer snacks from the vending machines. Although it’s too soon to look at the program’s overall effect, data show slight improvements on attendance rates and student behavior from the 2013-2014 school year compared with the previous year.
Vogts is thrilled with the program’s success ‒ best of all, teachers have supported it and haven’t complained about distractions or messiness in the classroom while students fuel up with yogurt, whole grain-rich muffins, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fresh fruit, and string cheese.
Next year, Vogts would like to see even higher participation and increased revenue, including piloting the program in one of the district junior high schools. “If we can provide a second opportunity for breakfast ‒ whatever the student’s circumstance is,” she said, “this gives them the nutrition they need to get them through to lunchtime."
Jerked Chicken with Fire-Roasted Fresh Pineapple Recipe
By Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND
March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Making "jerked" chicken, pork, goat and fish dates back to both Arawak natives and Jamaican slaves. It's a technique that imparts a spicy, smoked flavor that's uniquely Caribbean. Marinated with a salt-free sauce or rub of spices, herbs, chili peppers and lime juice, and grilled over hot coals, jerked chicken makes a great backyard or tailgate entree, especially when complemented with the flavor of grilled fresh pineapple. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in pineapple, intensifying its natural sweetness (no sugar added).
To complete your dinner, serve Jamaican rice and peas (kidney beans or pigeon peas) on the side.
- 2 (10- to 12-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
- Jerk Sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 medium green onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 (3½-by-¾-inch) fresh pineapple slices**
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Dash of hot pepper sauce
To prepare the jerk sauce, combine the allspice, thyme, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar and lime juice, mixing with a wire whisk to blend well. Add the green onion, jalapeño pepper and garlic; mix well. Set aside.
Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish. Brush the jerk sauce evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.
To cook the chicken, preheat the grill to a medium-high temperature. Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill, with the thicker portion facing the hotter part of the grill. Grill for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness; the internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F when cooked through. Allow the grilled chicken to rest for 5 minutes, covered, before serving.
While the chicken is cooking, brush the pineapple slices lightly with 2 tablespoons oil. Place the pineapple on the grill; cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until heated through and lightly charred with grill marks. Remove from the grill.
Combine the honey with hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; blend well. Drizzle over the pineapple.
Serve the jerked chicken breasts with grilled pineapple slices.
*If you prefer more "spicy heat," as many Jamaicans do, mix another pepper into the sauce, or add a splash of hot pepper sauce.
**For convenience, buy fresh pineapple pre-sliced, rather than trimming, coring and peeling a fresh pineapple.
Calories: 420; Calories from fat: 160; Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 2g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 90mg; Sodium: 170mg; Total carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 25g; Protein: 32g
Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.