SANDMAN CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL HONORED FOR NUTRITION PROGRAM
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(LOWER TOWNSHIP) – Chicken Caesar salad, nine different fruits and three types of vegetables are on the menu every day at Sandman Consolidated Elementary School in Lower Township. For this commitment to healthy eating, New York Jets offensive guard Adrien Clarke stopped by today to commend school officials for their commitment to healthy eating and good health and to encourage the students to enjoy the nutritious foods offered in the cafeteria.
The Jets and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture joined together for the Eat Right, Move More campaign which urges Garden State students to eat the healthy foods in school that adhere to the state’s new school nutrition policy. The program was announced last year by the New York Jets and Governor Jon S. Corzine, who has been a major supporter of healthy eating for all New Jersey citizens.
“Our new nutrition guidelines that require wellness education and the offering of more nutritious foods to students are scoring big with both school districts and the students themselves,” said Cheryl Goffus, a regional child nutrition supervisor for the Department. “We applaud Sandman Consolidated Elementary School’s enthusiasm and their healthy menu and programs that promote good health.”
Clarke, now in his third season in the National Football League and his first season with the Jets, spent some time at recess with a group of students then addressed the entire student body at an assembly. The 6-foot-five 330-pound professional football player said he knows the benefits of healthy eating and exercise from his years of playing football.
"Eating healthy and exercising regularly gives me the energy I need to perform my best on and off the field," said Clarke. "The most important lesson we can teach our children is how to take care of their bodies so that they grow up to lead long, healthy and productive lives."
Sandman Consolidated Elementary School was one of five schools chosen to receive Jets player visits as part of the Eat Right, Move More contest, which challenged New Jersey schools to submit their meal menus to determine the five schools with the most creative meal selections and that have made the most significant changes to improve their school nutrition environment.
The Lower Township School District has been compliant with the state’s Model School Nutrition Policy as of the 2005-2006 school year, two years before the policy becomes mandatory. The district was one of the first in the state to offer universal school breakfast and has been doing so for seven years. They use only whole wheat pizza crusts and offer whole grain or low-fat snacks. Students also are offered hoagies with turkey-salami and turkey-bologna.
Sandman students may participate in an after school wellness program called “Girls on the Run,” which teaches 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls about exercise and nutrition. This year, 65 girls in the program completed a two-mile run.
There are 498 students in Sandman School. Principal Denise LaBov said as a school, one of the most important goals is to offer each child the opportunity to expand their minds through academics, character and creativity.
“We have to nourish the body to nourish the mind and reach this goal,” said LaBov. “Teaching and providing proper nourishment are lifelong skills that will allow our students to enjoy an all round full and rich life.”
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture works closely with the state Department of Education in providing nutrition and wellness education.
“What has happened at Sandman Consolidated Elementary School and the other winning schools shows that with a little effort and creativity, you can change a nutritional culture,” said New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy. “That’s a major benefit for children now in the classroom, and it impacts their overall health and well-being in adulthood. By offering kids a choice of healthy foods and showing them that healthy food can taste good, too, you are providing them with a nutrition roadmap for life.”
The Model School Nutrition Policy is the most comprehensive in the nation, covering pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, and limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers. For more information on the policy, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school_model.html.
To be eligible to apply for the Eat Right, Move More program, schools must participate in the national school lunch program, a federally funded program to ensure all children have access to a wholesome meal during the school day, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets regularly promote youth health, fitness, and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Over the past six years, the Jets and their charitable foundation donated or raised more than $6 million to promote youth health, fitness, and education.
The other four winning schools in the Eat Right, Move More contest that were visited by Jets players in May were: Brielle Elementary School in Brielle; Heywood Avenue Elementary School in Orange; J. Ackerman Coles Elementary School in Scotch Plains; and Springfield Township Elementary School in Jobstown.