Smart Snacks in Schools: What's In AND What's Out

So long doughnuts, chips, and soda in school vending machines. Snacks in schools will look a lot different when kids head back to classrooms this year.


Under the new "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards, which took effect nationwide in July 2014, most foods sold in schools will have limited fat, calories, sugar and sodium.


It's all part of the government's effort to improve students' eating habits and to make sure they don't avoid nutritionally-balanced federal school meals by eating snacks sold in vending machines and snack bars.


"It's pretty common for kids to buy a few cookies and ice tea instead of getting an actual lunch," said James Walsh, 16, a junior at Linden High School in Linden, New Jersey. "It's a smart decision to try to regulate what's sold in vending machines, but kids can still get junk food at the corner store or bring it with them to school."


Snack foods sold in schools will have to be less than 200 calories, have less than 35 percent saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat and contain some sort of nutritional value instead of just empty calories, according to the guidelines.


They also have to be a "whole grain-rich" grain product or have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food.   >> READ MORE  

When Dee Howard's son joined the Loudoun Valley High School football team two years ago she couldn't help but flinch when she watched him collide with guys 50 pounds heavier. Freshman year was his first year playing football, and now he's a junior lineman looking to start.


"The first year was eye opening for us," Howard said. "Of course he loved it, so that's why we let him play."


But this spring, she and several other parents of Loudoun Valley athletes thought their concerns about the risks that come with a sport their kids love might be eased when they heard a Bethesda, MD-company would give them impact sensors. The sensors attach to the back of helmets with peel-and-stick tape and light up when a player takes a hard hit to the head.


In March, Brain Sentry teamed with Inova Neuroscience Institute to formally offer to provide sensors at a discounted rate to every Loudoun County high school football and lacrosse player. Inova Neuroscience Institute offered to track the data from more than 2,000 students to determine if the devices are useful in combating head trauma, a growing concern nationally among athletes from little league to the NFL.


But Loudoun County Public Schools declined the offer, and after Loudoun Valley parents pushed forward to buy the sensors anyway, school district administrators went as far as to say athletes who wore the sensors could not play.   >>READ MORE 

City investing $25M to expand early childhood education
A key part of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's plan to fight crime is to make high-quality early childhood education available to low-income families.

The city will invest $25 million over the next five years to expand preschool education programs throughout Marion County.


"Long-term those children who are in those programs have tremendous brain development, social development and all kinds of experiences that help build the foundations for them to stay in school longer. Kids who are exposed to those kinds of education programs are less likely to commit crimes, are less likely to rely on social programs and are more likely to be employed and stable members of the community," said Megan McKinney Cooper, director of development and marketing at Day Nursery.


Under the mayor's plan, current early education programs will expand across the city and 1,300 scholarships will be given to preschool-aged kids who qualify for free or reduced lunch.


Gooru Pairs with BSN to Open Multimedia Archive for Teachers

Gooru, a free online tool for personalized learning, is going to have the first unit of each of Sibling's Blended Schools Network (BSN) online courses available, which will allow teachers to search for "standards-aligned" multimedia learning resources on any K-12 topic.  Joshua Bolkan, writing for The Journal, reports that teachers can also:


* Remix Web and original content to create custom collections


* Share collections with students to meet their personal needs


* Monitor students' real-time engagement, comprehension, and progress


* Browse courses on Gooru's K-12 libraries  and create customized content for their classrooms


* Access more than 2,200 lessons from BSN


* Access additional lessons through the use of BSN's marketplace

Gooru was founded and created by CEO Prasad Ram, also known as Pram, who describes his site as  "an open and collaborative online community where the best free materials for learning can be found, created, remixed and shared." Pram was head of R & D for Google India and CTO for Yahoo! India, reports Jordan Shapiro of Forbes.  He made contributions to Google Maps, News, and Translate.  Gooru, as described by Pram, is a "a non-profit education technology startup in Silicon Valley with a mission to honor the human right to education."   >> READ MORE 
Green Schools Alliance Selects Smart Grid Technology Partner  
The Green Schools Alliance (GSA) announced an exclusive partnership with Noveda Technologies, to bring energy and water management tools to their member schools. Under the partnership, all GSA member schools will now have access to cutting-edge energy and water monitoring systems as well as other advanced analytics tools and conservation technologies provided by Noveda Technologies.

"We are excited to offer our member schools, world-class, patented solutions from Noveda Technologies that will have a big impact on reducing the carbon footprint in schools while lowering operating costs and educating the students simultaneously," said GSA President, Margaret "Peg" Watson. "Having intelligence on their consumption patterns will enable schools to better manage their costs while educating the students on the virtues of energy efficiency."


GSA member schools, like the NYC Department of Education with 1,800 schools, will now be able to choose from a range of innovative solutions from Noveda Technologies, including monitoring, energy and water reduction challenges, advanced analytics and building controls. Noveda's patented monitoring solution also integrates consumption and generation data from buildings and provides actionable intelligence for building operators and users. Ms. Watson added, "We decided to partner with Noveda after reviewing several solutions in the market and we are very impressed with the technology and even more so with the Noveda team."  >> READ MORE 

M. H. West & Co., Inc. (WEST) has completed a second year of its signature Young Entrepreneur Program for students at P. B. Young, Sr. Elementary School. Students rolled out their businesses after six weeks of focused instruction, interactive exercises and site visits about entrepreneurship that is tied to Virginia's SOLs. The students acquired or sharpened their decision making, critical thinking, reading, math, marketing and life skills.


The students for the 2nd year selected Lemonade, Face Painting and Photography as their business options. The students showcased their businesses in the presence of their family, friends, the school family, school officials and area businesses. Students again are demonstrating that they are good corporate citizens by giving to a local non-profit organization.  This year they plan to donate $500 to Seton Youth Shelters. Finally, the students celebrated their experiences in a graduation and awards ceremony where they were recognized for their completion of the entrepreneur program. Below are more details on WEST's YEP  Program which was recognized recently as a collaborative award winner by the Norfolk Education Foundation.   

Julian House at 804.782.1938, 888.937.8904 (Toll Free) or
WEST understands that not only do the children need a back to school checklist, but sometimes so do the parents!
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  • Meeting the Teachers

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel doled out some good news for Chicago Public Schools teachers today, announcing that Google Inc. and Staples Inc. have funded every Chicago-based project on the education crowdfunding site called As a result, teachers will receive close to $400,000 in classroom supplies, including paper, pencils, books, musical instruments, microscopes and laptops.


"There is no greater investment," Mr. Emanuel said in a release announcing the donation, which so far has 367 teachers with 450 projects totaling $390,000. Google, based in Mountain View, California, and Staples, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, will split the cost of the projects, which were submitted until 10 a.m. this morning.


Google's donation comes a few weeks after the company made similar donations to schools in San Francisco and Atlanta.

Shortly after accepting a $42 million federal grant Tuesday for Head Start and Early Head Start in San Bernardino County, Preschool Services Department Director Diana Alexander called the state of the programs "excellent," but said the High Desert is seen as one area in most need of growth and staffing.

The award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes $2.1 million in restored funding previously lost to sequestration and will dramatically support the programs' $53 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15.

The Preschool Services Department will back the remaining $10 million that is needed through in-kind volunteers, donated services and reduced rates for goods and services, according to a county staff report.>> READ MORE 
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $73,654,300 in YouthBuild grants to support academic and occupational skills training for at-risk youth.

"YouthBuild offers thousands of young people the tools, resources and opportunities they need to punch their ticket to the middle class," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These federal grants are part of our broader effort to invest in the future of our nation's youth and help them climb the ladder of opportunity."




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Denise sees the fleece,
Denise sees the fleas.
At least Denise could sneeze
and feed and freeze the fleas.

Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins.

If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela  
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