Gaithersburg, Md. - December 15, 2010 - Nutrition provider Sodexo partnered with Chicago’s Namaste Charter School to earn the first Sodexo-served school Gold Award of Distinction certification in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Healthier US School Challenge, the highest ranking possible in the program designed to promote good nutrition and physical activity.
Namaste Charter School used its Healthy Lifestyles Program, an initiative that fosters student achievement by joining physical activity and nutrition with family wellness programming, including healthy family breakfasts and educational workshops, to guide its certification efforts.
Namaste Charter School tasked Sodexo to create a customized student nutrition program to both comply with the Healthy Lifestyles Program and to meet and exceed the HealthierUS School Challenge guidelines. The company responded with breakfast and lunch selections featuring whole grains, seasonal fresh produce, low-fat dairy and culturally diverse healthy entrées.
“As a school, our students’ academic success is our primary concern,” said Allison Slade, principal and founder of Namaste Charter School. 'We know nutritious, balanced school meals help Namaste students focus in the classroom and that is why we prioritized this project with Sodexo. Our students have the most nutritious school meals available but just as importantly, they are delicious!”
Sodexo’s contributions to the certification process went beyond the cafeteria. The company provided resources and educational materials for weekly nutrition education sessions and worked with teachers, staff and administration to support classroom lessons and family-focused extracurricular activities. This is the first Gold Award of Distinction for a Sodexo-served school.
“Certification in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge is a tremendous accomplishment and we are proud that we could help Namaste Charter School earn the Gold Award of Distinction,” said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education - Schools. “We take our role creating learning-friendly environments for students very seriously and this achievement demonstrates our strong commitment to student well-being.”
Sodexo is committed to take measurable sustainable actions that ensure a brighter future in the areas of health and wellness, environmental stewardship and community development. Sodexo focuses on nutrition, achievement, environment, community and activity to promote student well-being.
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Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $13 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.
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About Namaste Charter School
Namaste Charter School is a public charter school in Chicago serving 410 Kindergarten – 7th grade students. Namaste was founded on the belief that students must be healthy, well nourished and engaged in physical activity on a regular basis in order to achieve in school. Approximately 85% of Namaste students receive a free or reduced-price school meal based on their family’s low-income status. The school will expand to 8th grade, serving 450 students and their families, in fall 2011.