The City of Falls Church’s School Board announced today it has submitted the Falls Church system’s “Access to Healthy Meals” program for consideration to receive a Magna Award from the National School Boards Association. “Falls Church stands as a national leader in providing healthy meals every day to our students, regardless of their economic situation,” stated School Board Chair Jane Wodiska “We believe our program could serve as a model for school districts, demonstrating the strength of a united community and the importance and impact of healthy eating.”
Beginning in 2006, the Falls Church program began with regulating vending machines on campuses to improve nutritional quality. In 2008, the School Board adopted a free lunch program to every student eligible for reduced-price meals. By allowing for confidentiality, the number of reduced price meals offered increased by 49 percent between 2007 and 2010, with an overall increase in the number of such meals by 33 percent.
The Falls Church Schools’ “Access to Healthy Meals” program includes the following: elimination of all fried foods, use of whole grains, salad bars at the high school, making 75 percent of all meals in elementary schools made from scratch, ensuring that 95 percent of fruits and vegetables are fresh, providing “to go” meals for student athletes according to coach specifications, establishing partnerships with area culinary schools to test foods, demonstrate cooking and promote wellness, conducting poster and video contests and student cooking competitions, identifying vendors that meet policy expectations, identifying safe walking routes to schools, and integrating physical education and health curricula into the overall effort.