Board of Public Education Receives Public Health Award
The Maine Public Health Association has presented the Ruth S. Shaper Memorial Award to the Portland Board of Public Education for adopting six groundbreaking policies that promote student health and wellness.
The award also recognizes three staff members of the Portland Public Schools who played a key role in creating the policies: Ron Adams, food service director; Peter Eglinton, chief operations officer, and Chanda Turner, school health coordinator - nutrition.
The six policies, passed earlier this year, set nutrition standards for food and beverages served and sold in the Portland Public Schools during school hours and at other times. The policies specify that food may not be used to reward students and that recess and physical education classes may not be denied to punish students.
The policies call for all elementary students to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity opportunities daily. The board also adopted guidelines for safe walking and biking to and from school.
“The Portland Board of Public Education took a bold step to benefit the students in Portland by adopting one of the most comprehensive policies in the state, and one that is now a model nationwide,” the association noted, in announcing the award. “We commend the Portland Board of Public Education for recognizing that proper nutrition and physical activity have direct and immediate benefits on student achievement, academic performance, attendance, behavior and lifetime health and wellbeing.”
The award was presented at the Maine Public Health Association’s annual meeting on October 17 at the Augusta Civic Center. Jenna Vendil, the board representative from District 1, accepted the award on behalf of the school system.