CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Nine Clay County elementary schools were among 50 Florida schools to earn HealthierUS School Challenge designations in March, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced Tuesday.
That brought the current total of Florida's HUSSC schools to 280.
The number of certified HUSSC schools has increased from 27 schools in 2012, when the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services assumed responsibility of the state's school nutrition programs.
The HealthierUS School Challenge, a joint effort of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a voluntary certification initiative that recognizes schools' efforts to improve food and beverage options, offer nutrition education and promote physical activity. Schools must meet specific criteria, such as providing smarter snacks and opportunities for physical activity.
“Nutritious meals are the key to academic success, and I applaud these schools for providing students with the building blocks for a healthy lifestyle,” said Putnam.
In an effort to expand the program, the department offers resources to help school districts earn HUSSC certification, including specialists throughout the state to provide personal, hands-on support. The department continually certifies and recertifies schools, as schools must reapply for their HUSSC status every four years to maintain certification.
Schools can apply for four different award levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold Award of Distinction. The Clay County schools awarded HUSSC designation in March were:
- Clay Hill Elementary School (Silver)
- Coppergate Elementary School (Silver)
- Lake Asbury Elementary School (Bronze)
- McRae Elementary School (Bronze)
- Middleburg Elementary School (Silver)
- Plantation Oaks Elementary School (Bronze)
- RideOut Elementary School (Silver)
- Ridgeview Elementary School (Silver)
- Tynes Elementary School (Bronze)
For more information about the HealthierUS School Challenge Initiative and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.