News, Events, and Funding Resources

Healthy Schools Act News

November 2012

Grants available – Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge
Action for Healthy Kids is pleased to announce grant funding to support elementary schools’ wellness initiatives for the 2013 calendar year.  With generous funding from Stop & Shop/Giant Family Foundation, AFHK will award 40 schools with $1,000 each to impact nutrition and/or physical activity programming. Learn more…

September 2012

Registration for fall field trips to Arcadia Farm is now open
Arcadia Center For Sustainable Food and Agriculture is excited to announce that registration for fall field trips to Arcadia Farm is NOW OPEN! Arcadia Farm offers hands-on educational experiences for children to explore the farm-to-table process. The field trips are aligned with age-appropriate curriculum standards, and teach students 1) how to grow food sustainably with the natural cycles of the earth; 2) which fruits and vegetables are available in our region during different times of the year; 3) how farm-fresh food is different from processed or fast food; and 4) that fruits and vegetables can be healthy and delicious! Learn more…

Fuel Up to Play 60 Funding Available – Application Due October 1st
If your school has at least one adult designated as a program advisor and is enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, your school is eligible to apply for up to $4,000 per school year, awarded on a competitive basis. Funds can help you implement Fuel Up to Play 60 – and more importantly can help your school meet its long-term wellness goals. Read more…

August 2012

Institute of Medicine Physical Activity & Physical Education in the School Environment Public Workshop and Forum
On September 20, 2012, the Institute of Medicine is holding a public workshop and forum, “Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools: Perspectives on Successes, Barriers and Opportunities.” The workshop will feature speakers who will discuss: 1) physical education; 2) physical activity in the classroom; 3) physical activity during recess/breaks; 4) intramural and extramural sports; and 5) active transport. To attend in person or to learn more, click here.

July 2012

FY 2012 Healthy Schools Act of 2010 Report
The Healthy Schools Act of 2010 Report for fiscal year 2012 outlines the District’s farm-to-school initiatives, the state of school gardens, and recommendations for improvement. Read the press release, full report and report appendix.

June 2012

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation:  Help Connect Kids and Teens to D.C. Free Summer Meals
The D.C. Free Summer Meals program is a federal nutrition program designed to feed children free, nutritious meals and snacks during the months of June, July, and August. This program helps children and teens get free meals and snacks at sites across the city. There is no application necessary to receive a meal. Children and teens ages 18 and younger can just show up at an open D.C. Free Summer Meal site during meal time. To locate a site, text 202.656.5EAT (328), visit, or call 311. For additional information, please visit Please share this information and flyer with your school communities. If you have any questions, please contact Alexandra Ashbrook via email,

Three D.C. Schools Awarded HealthierUS Schools Challenge Award
Anne Beers Elementary, Aiton Elementary School, and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School were honored among the healthiest nationwide as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Award Program.  Read the full press release here.

May 2012

Exciting News for School Wellness in Washington D.C.
D.C. selected to phase in community eligibility option for school meals, making it easier for high-poverty schools to serve school meals.  And members of theD.C.HealthySchoolsand Youth Commission are appointed to advise the Mayor and Council on health, wellness, and nutritional issues affecting children and schools in the District. Alex Ashbrook, the director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, was appointed to serve as the commission’s chairperson.  Read more here.

Healthy Schools Act Hero Competition!
Become a Healthy Schools Hero and help share what you have been doing to implement the Healthy Schools Act in your school! All entries will be showcased on the Healthy Schools Act website and winners will be award cash prizes to continue their great work at improving health and wellness.  All entries are due by June 22th. Entry form and more information available here.

Students get a Cultural and Culinary Experience with International Food Program Days
DC Public School International Food Program brings cultural and culinary resources of  DC embassies to students.  All 122 DCPS schools celebrate international food days by serving culturally inspired breakfast, lunch, and supper meals.  The International Food Program supports DCPS Office of Food and Nutrition’s mission of increasing students’ access to high quality, all natural school food while expanding their culinary horizons.  May 11th marks the final food day of 2012 with Panamanian Day!

February 2012

“Breakfast in the Council” Celebrates D.C. for it’s #1 Ranking for School Breakfast Participation  Under Secretary Kevin Concannon.  Read more…

January 2012

D.C. Healthy Schools Act Snapshot Highlights Year One Accomplishments, Year Two Priorities
Now in its second year of implementation, the D.C. Healthy Schools Act is helping to improve the health, wellness, and nutrition of the 75,000 children attending D.C. public and public charter schools. The D.C. Healthy Schools Act Snapshot (pdf) reports on the District’s 2010-2011 efforts to implement the Act by examining the major requirements of the Act, year one accomplishments, and year two priorities.

Evaluating the Impact of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act
Join with stakeholders and community members to help design an evaluation protocol for the D.C. Healthy Schools Act on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 from 10 am – 3 pm at American University.   Lunch will be served.   Please RSVP by Thursday, January 12 to

December 2011

Join the DCPS Family and   Friends Advisory Committee
DCPS’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services has formed a Family and Friends Advisory Committee to help spread the word about the great improvements in DCPS school meals.  Join the committee to become part of further transformation in DCPS school food!  If you are interested in joining, contact Ed Bruske at  for more information.   The committee meets the third Wednesday of each month at 6 pm at DCPS headquarters (1200 First St. NW, near the New York Ave. Metro stop).

August 2011

Updated!   Healthy Schools Amendment Act of 2011
On August 9, 2011, Mayor Vincent Gray signed the Healthy Schools Amendment Act of 2011 and the Healthy Schools Emergency Amendment Act of 2011.   This means that the 2011 amendments to the Healthy Schools Act will become effective on Monday, August 15.

The Healthy Schools Amendment Act is available here.   In this copy of the legislation, the changes shown in blue were made by the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support of Act of 2011 and are already effective.   The changes shown in red were made by the Healthy Schools Amendment Act of 2011.

DCPS Moving Salad Bars into Schools
DCPS would like to have a salad bar in every school to give students more choice at lunch and introduce them to new, healthy fruits and vegetables.   You can help DCPS in two ways: by making a donation through Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools or by volunteering through Serve DC to help set up salad bars during the first week of school.

June 2011

Healthy Schools Act Hero Awards
Congratulations to the top three Healthy Schools Act Heroes: Peabody Elementary School, E.L. Haynes  Public Charter School, and Neval-Thomas Elementary School!    Find out what these schools and others are doing to implement the Healthy Schools Act, here.

Workshops and Events

April 2012

3rd Annual Strawberries & Green Salad Day – May 23rd

Over 200 Washington, DC schools will feature fresh strawberries and salad greens in their school lunches – all from local farms!  The D.C. Farm to School Network is helping 50 schools set up hands-on educational tables in their cafeterias to remind students where food comes from.  Learn more about the event and get your school on board at  If you are interested in volunteering to help engage students at “Where Food Comes From” tables in school cafeterias during the event – learn more here.

March 2012

School Wellness Webinars

Action for Healthy Kids is hosting a series of webinars this spring to on a variety of topics to promote school wellness.  Find out more and register here.

February 2012

Two School Garden Training Opportunities Coming Up in March

School Garden 101 training for school administrators, school staff, and community members will take place on March 20th from 2:30 to 4:30 at OSSE.  Register here.  TheGrowing Garden Teachers Spring Workshop for teachers and garden educators will be held on March 23rd and 24th at the Walker Jones Education Campus.  Find out more information here.

December 2011

“Healthy Fundraising” Workshop

All local education agencies and school food service vendors are invited to attend the “Healthy Fundraising” workshop Dec 5, 2011 from 10am – 3pm held at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education Wellness and Nutrition Services Division.   The workshop will cover healthy alternatives to traditional fundraising and celebrations.   If interested, register here.

For more information, contact Dr. Dawanna James-Holly (Nutrition Program Manager at OSSE) – / 202-741-5307; or Dr. Sandra Schlicker (OSSE) – 202-741-5252 /; or Precious Calloway (Alliance for a Healthier Generation) – / 202-525-1816.

October 2011

Food Day – October 24, 2011

Food Day seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life — parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.   Learn about ways to incorporate Food Day into your school curriculum and more information about Food Day events, here.

September 2011

Field Trips to Arcadia Farm
The D.C. Farm to School Network at Arcadia is now hosting school groups for field trips at Arcadia Farm, designed to connect students with where food comes from, while developing critical skills and meeting age-appropriate curriculum standards.  Arcadia Farm field trips in the fall of 2011 will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am from September 6th though November 10th, 2011.  For more information, read this flyer, or to register, email

May 2011

DCPS and Charter Schools Celebrate Local Foods

On Wednesday, May 25, all 123 D.C. Public Schools and a number of charter schools will be participating in the second annual Strawberries and Salad Greens event, sponsored by the D.C. Farm to School Network. The day will feature fresh, locally-grown strawberries and salad greens in school meals, along with “Where Food Comes From” lessons and educational displays at selected schools.

Learn more at the Strawberries and Salad Greens blog!

March 2011
Healthy Schools Act Workshop

On any Monday morning between 8:30 and 9 a.m., students in the District are eating free breakfast in their schools across the city. But on Monday March 14, 2011 a room full of administrators and staff attending the Healthy Schools Act Workshop sampled breakfast themselves.

At the Healthy Schools Act workshop, hosted by D.C. Hunger Solutions, the D.C. Farm to School Network, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, more than 100 school administrators, food service staff, and others from DCPS and public charter schools got to taste featured breakfast options from four different food service providers. As a result, they fueled up for a day of practical learning and discussion on putting the Healthy Schools Act into action at their own schools.

Principal Peapod engaged her students in active examples of how to excite students about trying new and healthy foods and introduce nutrition education into the day. Between samples of healthy options for school breakfast and lunch, presentations and panels discussed the importance of increasing breakfast participation and incorporating local produce into school meals, expanding farm to school programs. Everyone agreed the benefits of every child eating a healthy breakfast and lunch at school are undeniable and together they reflected on successes and obstacles to improving the quality of school meals, healthy vending, and fundraising options.

Participants heard from a range of speakers including Sandy Schlicker, OSSE’s Director of Wellness and Nutrition, Janey Thornton, PhD, Deputy Under Secretary, USDA and D.C. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh about how D.C. is leading the nation in school wellness and how every school can continue to improve the health and wellness of every child in the nation’s capital.

With stomachs full of a tasty lunch made from fresh and locally-grown ingredients, tote bags packed with goodies to increase awareness and excitement about school breakfast, and heads filled with ideas on how to become Healthy Schools Act champions in their own schools, no one went home from the Healthy Schools Act workshop hungry.

Funding Opportunities

April 2012

Farm to School Program Grants Available

USDA Food and Nutrition Services announces funding for farm to school programs specifically focused on getting local foods incorporated into school meals and improving nutrition and physical activity available for all schools, non profits and other organizations.  Letters of Intent are due May 18 and applications for funding due June 15.  Find more information and download an application, here.

March 2012

DC Physical Activity for Youth (DC PAY) Grant Funding Available

OSSE division of Wellness and Nutrition Services is accepting applications for grants up to $10,000 to increase the capacity of DC schools to provide physical activity to all students before, during, or after the school day.  DC public schools and public charter schools and organizations participating in the Healthy Schools Act are eligible to apply.  Applications due April 17, 2012.  Apply here.

School Grants for Healthy Kids 

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) will award over 500 schools with grants, ranging from $1000 to $5,000 for the 2012-2013 school year to help improve school nutrition and provide kids with greater access to healthy foods.  Applications are due May 5th.  Apply here.

January 2012

Grant Opportunities for Farm to School Activities

USDA offers multiple funding opportunities for schools, farmers, and communities to engage in Farm to School  activities.  Find out more about current and ongoing USDA grants here, or visit the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food  website which provides further information on USDA grants and loans that support local and regional food systems.

Funding for School Gardens

Funding for school gardens is now available through the Division of Wellness and Nutrition Services within the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Washington DC public schools and public charter schools participating in the Healthy Schools Act and DC based school garden-focused organizations may apply for up to $10,000 in funds to increase capacity of school gardens as educational resources. Applications are due Jan 13, 2012. Grant applications are available  here.

December 2011

Game On! Grant Opportunity

Action for Healthy Kids is partnering with the Stop & Shop Giant Family Foundation to offer funding for “Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge.”   Game On! is an easy-to-use, online resource that helps schools promote nutrition and physical activity before, during, and after school.   To learn more about the program, visit

Grant applications are available  here.   A webinar on Friday, December 2, 10am will offer more information.   Sign up  here.

October 2011

School Wellness Grant Opportunity

Action For Healthy Kids’ “Game On” school wellness challenge is open!     Visit the Action for Healthy Kids Game On webpage to get involved and get great (free) tips on incorporating healthy eating and physical activity into your school.

And there are grants available to support your school’s healthy eating and physical activity efforts.   Check out how to apply here.


May 2012

Are you interested in seeing what individual schools are doing to improve student wellness?  Check out the DC Public School Health Profiles and DC Public Charter School Health Profiles.  These profiles contain self-reported data for the 2011-2012 school year on each school’s health and physical education programs, school meals, local wellness policies, and more.

January 2012

Effective Breakfast Models: Thinking Outside of the Cafeteria and After the Bell Webinar Series

Action for Healthy Kids is hosting part 3 of a 5 Q & A webinar series on health, fiscal and academic benefits of effective school breakfast programs on Tuesday, January 31 2012 from 4-5 p.m.  Register  here.

October 2011

USDA’s Farm to School Web Page – Now Expanded

USDA has updated and expanded its Farm to School webpage.   Check out the many great resources now available, including: nutrition education curricula and posters;menu-planning tips; and evaluation tools.  And don’t forget to browse this site for local information.

Become a School Breakfast Champion!

Action For Healthy Kids is launching a free webinar series focused on helping communities   promote all the great things about the school breakfast program.   The first webinar, “School Breakfast Basics,” is on Thurs. Oct. 27, 4 to 5 p.m.   Register here.

More from 2010

USDA Awards Kelly-Miller Middle School in their HealthierUS School Challenge
Congratulations to the Kelly-Miller Middle School for receiving a silver award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture! It is the first school in the District of Columbia to be presented with the silver-level honors, and the first D.C. middle school to receive recognition in the HealthierUS School Challenge. (USDA Press Release, October 26, 2010)

River Terrace Elementary School Making Debut on TV One
Join First Lady Michelle Obama in an hour-long TV special, airing Friday on TV One, as she takes Roland Martin around the White House vegetable garden and discusses different components of her children’s health initiative. Viewers will also get the chance to see River Terrace Elementary School, a local school that was recently awarded the USDA’s Gold award for the HealthierUS School Challenge.
Watch Let’s Move with First Lady Michelle Obama on TV One (Comcast Channel 1) on Friday October 29th, at 10 PM ET.

Tom Vilsack helps bring the spirit of the Let’s Move! Campaign to a Northwest D.C. School
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan and a group of volunteers on Saturday to construct a new playground for the Hyde Leadership Charter School. Over 500 volunteers joined Vilsack, on right, including his wife and many of the school’s students. Thanks to their hard work, today stands a brand new playground that’s ready for the community to enjoy!

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Gives Golden Carrot Award to D.C. Public Schools
As a runner-up, the DCPS will receive $1,000 to benefit their food service program. The Golden Carrot Awards began in 2004 as a part of their Healthy School Lunch Campaign. Its aim is to give recognition to those food service programs that are dedicated to making school lunches healthier for children. (PCRM News Release, 10/13/2010)

Afterschool Meal Program Makes the Front Page of the Washington Post
D.C. Public Schools are helping to fight hunger and improve nutrition through the roll-out of the Afterschool Meal Programs at 99 schools. (The Washington Post, 10/19/2010)

Congress approved a Continuing Resolution
which adopts the District’s fiscal year 2011 budget which includes funding to support the Healthy Schools Act of 2010. Schools can receive local funding for complying with Healthy School Act requirements as of October 1st. (Office of the State Superintendent of Education, 10/1/2010)

D.C. schools join the salad bar movement
“Elsie Whitlow Stokes School, along with six others in D.C., have salad bars thanks to United Fresh. It’s one of several groups raising private money to put them into schools that need them most.” (ABC7/, 10/6/2010)

got breakfast? Foundation Announces Silent Hero Grants
The got breakfast? Foundation announced its third round of Silent Hero Grants to award grants of up to $5,000 each to public schools, non-profit private schools and non-profit organizations participating in the national School Breakfast Program. The deadline for submitting the application is November 15, 2010. A total of up to $50,000 in grants will be announced by February 1, 2011. (PR Newswire, 9/15/2010)

HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Honors Two D.C. Schools
HUSSC recognizes schools that are supporting school wellness through the promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Nationally, only 840 schools have been selected for this honor. Congratulations to Kelly Miller Middle School (silver) and River Terrace Elementary School (gold) the only two schools in the District on achieving HUSSC certification. As the Healthy Schools Act is implemented, more schools will likely achieve this national recognition. (USDA, 10/25/10)

Dr. Beverley Wheeler, President and CEO of the Center City Public Charter Schools and the former Executive Director of the D.C. State Board of Education, speaks out on the importance of school breakfast:
What have you done today to dramatically impact student achievement?’ This is the question that I ask all Center City Public Charter School teachers, principals, and staff each day. Right now, we can impact student achievement by feeding students a healthy breakfast. That’s why I love the idea of serving free breakfast each day in the classroom. It’s a simple way to say to students that they are important and we’re going to make the effort to make sure they are fed.”