Lexington-Richland School District Five schools were recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for promoting good nutrition and physical activity.

Each school in the district is enrolled in the HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC:SL), a voluntary, nationwide program established by the USDA to acknowledge schools for serving nutritional meals, teaching kids nutrition, and encouraging more physical activity. 

The district will receive a total of $20,000 and each school will receive a banner to display on campus.  The money will be used to purchase items for school cafeterias and include items like cutting boards to cut fresh fruits, baskets to display fresh fruits, carts, breakfast carts, supplies to make parfaits, knives, and display signs.

The USDA program recognizes schools by awarding bronze, silver, and gold award of distinction levels of performance.  School District Five schools received the following distinction levels: Ballentine Elementary (Bronze), Chapin Elementary (Bronze), Chapin High (Bronze), Chapin Intermediate (Bronze), Chapin Middle (Bronze), CrossRoads Intermediate (Silver), Dutch Fork Elementary (Silver), Dutch Fork High (Bronze), Dutch Fork Middle (Bronze), H. E. Corley Elementary (Gold), Harbison West Elementary (Gold), Irmo Elementary (Bronze), Irmo High (Bronze), Irmo Middle (Silver), Lake Murray Elementary  (Bronze), Leaphart Elementary (Gold), Nursery Road Elementary (Gold), Oak Pointe Elementary (Bronze), River Springs Elementary (Silver), Seven Oaks Elementary (Gold), and Spring Hill High (Silver).

To qualify for an award, a school must adopt USDA standards for food served by the school and agree to provide nutrition education and opportunities for physical activity.  In addition to serving meals that emphasize fruits and vegetables, the district serves students smart snacks – those consisting of whole grains – and offers low-fat or fat-free milk, water and 100 percent fruit juice.

“We continue to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables every day in all of our schools in School District Five,” said Todd Bedenbaugh, School District Five Student Nutrition Director.  “If we can teach our students how to make healthy food choices and the components of a balanced plate at school, it increases the likelihood that they will be receptive to healthy options and also use these skills when they are off of the school campus.”