Falls Church School Board chair Joan Wodiska announced to the F.C. City Council tonight that the Falls Church City Public Schools have just been awarded first place among the nation’s small school systems in the American School Board Journal’s Magna Awards for its program of “healthy meals for all students.”
Wodiska made the announcement in the process of stating the School Board’s decision this year to extend the school breakfast program to all the City’s schools for the first time in history. Coverage of the F.C. Schools’ receipt of the Magna Award noted that the F.C. School Board “targeted four areas for improvement” in its food service, “meal quality, access, staff empowerment and community encouragement,” noting that in 2006 it unanimously banned junk food. In 2008, it moved to provide free lunches to every student eligible for reduced-price meals, with the use of PIN-coded transactions at the till to reduce stigmas associated with it. From 2007 to 2010, the number of reduced-price meals increased by 36 percent and the overall number of number of breakfast meals served increased by 82 percent. All fried foods were eliminated from student menus, whole grains, salad bars and vegetable muffins were instituted. In the elementary schools, 75 percent of the meals are now prepared from scratch and 95 percent of the fruits and vegetables are fresh.
Along with other 2011 Magna Award winners, the Falls Church Schools will be honored on Saturday, April 9, at the American School Board Journal’s annual Best Practices for School Leaders luncheon held in conjunction with the National School Boards Association’s annual conference in San Francisco.