Thursday, February 14, 2013


JAM stands for Just A Minute, referring to taking "just a minute" from academics for physical activity.  The JAMS actually last 3 or 5 minutes.  Many classrooms have already been doing in-class activity breaks this year, but with our new Jammin' JES wellness initiative, we are celebrating JAMS school wide and talking about the importance of physical activity.  What is so important about physical activity breaks in school?  It has been shown to improve academic success and increase focus and attention in class.  Physical activity is important for overall health and can decrease obesity which reduces the risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.  Increased physical activity has also been shown to reduce risky behaviors, reduce rates of depression and improve overall outlook on life.  With our JAMMIN' JES initiate, we are highlighting the importance of physical activity and celebrating it regularly!  We are keeping track of monthly JAM totals.  On September, 26th 2013, we participated in a World Record JAM moment where we did a JAM at the same time as 1,351,974 other people around the world!  That kicked off our JAMS for the year!


News from the Kitchen

The school day just got healthier thanks to new federal requirements for changes to school meals.  As a parent, you have the ability to help make the school meal changes a positive and exciting experience for your child. The new school meals have more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; low-fat milk; and less salty and fatty foods. School meals now do a better job of giving your kids the healthy foods they need. Help your child check out these new meals and find what they like.

It takes time to get kids to learn to like new foods. Here are some tips to help your children eat healthy foods:
  • Make time to join your child for lunch in the school cafeteria.
  • When your child gets home from school, ask what he/she ate for lunch.
  • Eat meals with your child as much as you can. Let your child see you eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks.
  • Grocery shopping can teach your children about healthy eating. Talk to them about where vegetables, fruits and grains, and milk and meat come from. Let your children make healthy choices.
  • Try new foods yourself. Describe how they smell, feel and taste. Offer one new food at a time. Serve something your child likes with the new food.
The School Day Just Got Healthier. Together we can help our kids learn healthy habits that last forever.

The following are specifics about recent changes on the JES menu:

  • Almost all from scratch
  • Processed foods off the menu
  • Local Misty Knolls Chicken
  • Cabot butter and Stonyfield organic yogurt
  • All whole grain pasta
  • Almost all whole wheat flour
  • Brown rice only
  • Beans 2-3 x week
  • Fresh fruit and veggie bar T-F, with seconds
  • Five rainbow groups of veggies per week
  • Real Maple Syrup

In other Kitchen News:
  • The State of Vermont Department of Nutrition and the USDA Foods were both here at JES for an inspection review. They report that we are exceeding the national requirements. They were very happy with what they saw! We won't stop here, though! We are continuing to improve on our menu and look for ways to add healthy recipes that the kids will love. One avenue that is helping in this area is taste testing! Our third taste test is next week and the kids have been very excited about the process. See our post on Taste Testing for more details.
  • We are hoping to move to all round tables in the cafeteria.
  • click here for a link to the USDA site for details about school lunch requirements.

What is School Wellness? School wellness is a focus on all aspects of the health of the student to improve education outcomes. The overall goal is to teach kids about HOW to be healthy with improved nutrition, increased physical activity and improved life skills. We teach them WHY it is important and help them practice. This leads to improved education outcomes AND health outcomes, both of which have a huge impact on their life. Ultimately, we hope these healthy behaviors turn into habit for them, part of their lifestyle and they become healthy, happy, better educated and more productive members of society.

Click here to view the presentation on School Wellness given 1/16/13 by Nurse Amy.

Many studies show there are benefits to a School Wellness Program such as

  • increased academic success
  • increased focus and attention in class
  • decrease in risky behaviors
  • improved outlook on life
  • decrease in obesity which reduces the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes

But here is the #1 reason to be passionate about and put energy toward School Wellness: This generation of children is on track to be the first to not live as long as their parents! JES is part of a nation wide movement to reverse this trend by increasing physical activity and improving nutrition. To learn about the exciting programs going on Nationally and Locally, click the link above for the wellness presentation.