by Charlotte Pope
Every week, the White House recognizes Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities through its “Champions of Change” program. Earlier this month, Jessica McAtamney, a teacher at W.B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences, was among 12 teachers, college students, and other educators who were honored for their innovations that are helping to move their neighborhoods forward.
This guest blog post comes from Talia Fisher of Healthy NewsWorks (no connection to WHYY's NewsWorks).
Local students recently published their own book through Healthy NewsWorks, a nonprofit organization that engages elementary and middle school students in creating authentic journalism to promote health and literacy.
Healthy NewsWorks, which was founded by former Inquirer health and medical writer Marian Uhlman and Upper Darby teacher Susan Spencer, works with students in 13 area schools, including four in Philadelphia. Each school publishes a newsletter focusing on making healthy lifestyle choices.
Lisa Hantman’s 3rd grade classroom in McCall Elementary School in the Society Hill neighborhood gives away her passions: math, science, and service learning.
On a recent breezy afternoon, Hantman unveiled to the class the project that they would be studying over several weeks — how much does it cost to feed a family of four for a year.
This guest blog post comes from the Philadelphia Urban Food and Fitness Alliance. PUFFA solicited questions from students, parents/guardians, and other community residents and received responses from the Food Services Division of the School District of Philadelphia.
1. Why can't our children have organic milk to drink?
The total cost allotted to a school lunch is approximately $2.73, and $1.39 is allotted for food, $1.03 for labor and
39 cents the balance for infrastructure/administrative costs. Within the budget of $1.39 for food, 25 cents is available for milk. At this time, the cost of organic milk would significantly exceed the available funds for this item.
Natalie Lucas (left), assistant director of expanded learning at Foundations, Inc., serves Martin Luther King High School senior Michael George (right) as he gets ready to enjoy a meal he and other students prepared for a community lunch held in West Oak Lane in August. Students participating in King’s Seeds for Learning: Beyond the Farm program, sponsored by Foundations, worked with a local chef to make healthy dishes using fresh produce grown on the school’s campus. More than 150 community residents, including elected officials and nonprofit leaders, were served that day.
In a previous post, Peak Johnson reflected on his experience in an afterschool program, and in this entry he looks at an afterschool program focused on gardening. More attention is being paid to healthy eating and access to fresh foods inside of schools, and students in this program spend their time outside of school growing their own fresh food.
What used to be nothing but a huge parking lot for the Philadelphia Housing Authority has become something much more to a group of residents living in the Haddington section of Philadelphia.
Nearly hidden amidst a cluster of homes, the Conestoga Pearl Gardens is full of garden beds neatly in rows, cherry trees ready to be picked, and a park area where children are able to play. The garden is just one of many that the nonprofit Urban Tree Connection oversees. The organization’s primary goal is to engage children and adults from some of Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods in community-based, urban greening projects.
To the editors:
As any parent, teacher, school nurse, or day care provider knows, children frequently get sick. When they do, sitting in school doesn't help them get better. They need to be home with a parent. Also, no parent wants their child to be in a classroom where there is a child with pink eye, a fever, or vomiting.
The fight between two unions to represent 2,300 School District cafeteria workers is not over yet, despite an election that gave UNITE HERE an ample 2-1 margin of victory in late October.
Just a few days after the vote, Workers United, Philadelphia Joint Board, a division of the Service Employees International Union, filed a complaint against both UNITE HERE and the School District of Philadelphia alleging that illegal practices and a biased campaigning process cost them the election.
Activists who have long pressed the District to enhance its feeding programs are pushing changes in policy that they say will result in students eating more free meals at school.
Community Legal Services (CLS) and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), want Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to include a school’s participation rate in the school breakfast program as an indicator on the new school report card.
Milton Friedman said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Well, in Philadelphia schools, many students are able to get a lunch that is free, but not necessarily one that is healthy. The poor state of nutrition in school cafeterias should not only be alarming for advocates of health, but for advocates of quality, equitable education as well.
Without wholesome, nutritious food, our students are not able to perform to their academic potential. The lack of quality food in our schools has a direct impact on how well (or poorly) our youth can focus, study, learn, socialize, grow, and develop.