Cross-posted from the Huffington Post:
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 enabled the U.S Department of Agriculture to make historic changes to the meals served in our nation’s schools. Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks sold during the school day are now more nutritious than ever, with less fat and sodium and more whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. For many kids, the meals they get at school may be the only nutritious meals they receive that day — and when children receive proper nourishment, they are not only healthier, but they also have better school attendance and perform better academically. It’s not enough, though, to make the meals healthier — we must ensure that children have access to those healthier foods.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act authorized a program, known as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), that can help schools achieve their educational goals by ensuring that children in low-income communities have access to healthy meals at school so they are ready to learn. In this program, schools agree to offer breakfast and lunch for free to all students, and cover any costs that exceed the reimbursements from USDA. Designed to ease the burden of administering a high volume of applications for free and reduced price meals, CEP is a powerful tool to both increase child nutrition and reduce paperwork at the district, school, and household levels, which saves staff time and resources for cash-strapped school districts. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at a meeting of the White House Rural Council to an audience of the National State President’s Conference of the FFA on Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Secretary Vilsack took questions from the audience and discussed international, national and agricultural production topics with the FFA State President’s. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Secretary Vilsack had the opportunity to speak with some of our nation’s brightest young leaders at the National FFA Organization’s State Presidents’ Conference. He discussed USDA’s efforts to revitalize the rural economy and recognized the officers for their commitment to leadership, personal growth and career success. Below is a blog post submitted to USDA by Clay Sapp, 2012-13 National FFA President. Read more »
Cross posted from the White House blog:
During recent days we have had the honor as part of a U.S. Presidential Delegation to accompany more than 150 U.S. Special Olympians to the 2013 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. In addition to the Opening Ceremonies of the games on Tuesday, the Presidential Delegation had a unique chance to spend time with the athletes and view some of the events.
While we have made a special effort to cheer on the U.S. athletes on behalf of the President, the Special Olympics is about far more than winning – it’s about encouraging diversity, celebrating inclusion and recommitting to the human rights of persons with disabilities around the world.
People with disabilities come from all walks of life, genders, every social class, and all religious traditions. Most of us have a family member, friend or acquaintance with a disability. People with disabilities make tremendous contributions to our society, to our families, to our neighborhoods – adding to the diversity that makes America a unique and special place to call home. Read more »
Today, on Teacher Appreciation Day, we have an opportunity to say “thank you” to America’s educators. In particular, I’d like to send a brief message of thanks to our teachers working in small towns and rural communities across the United States.
A quality education is imperative to the lives of children in every corner of our country, no matter where they live. This can be more challenging in smaller rural schools that face unique geographical challenges, tight budgets and barriers to technology in the classroom. Read more »
A recent USDA HUSSC event featured a rousing finale in which the entire gymnasium-filled with jumping and cheering students, teachers, administrators and partners- were showered with gold confetti.
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
In the President’s recent State of Union Address, he spoke candidly about winning the future. I can’t think of a better way to achieve that than by ensuring our Nation’s children are provided a healthy school environment to learn, grow and thrive. Read more »
Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) constructs playground equipment at Hyde Leadership Charter School in Northeast D.C. In the foreground is Housing Secretary, Shaun Donovan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan (left) and National Service Director Patrick Corvington looks on.
Saturday, October 23, 2010 — This morning dawned a beautiful, crisp, autumn day here in the District of Columbia. As the sun climbed above the horizon, over 500 volunteers gathered to build a playground at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in northeast DC. Among the volunteers were Secretary and Mrs. Vilsack along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his wife, Karen. Mrs. Duncan works with a non-profit group called KaBoom which advocates development of play areas for children and openspace for communities. Both Mrs. Vilsack and Mrs. Duncan are teachers and have gained an excellent rapport over the past year advocating healthy, nutritious meals in the National School Lunch Program and also promoting the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »