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AASA Builds Relations on

Competitive Foods    

 

BY MARIAN KISCH

School leaders nationwide are working with AASA to promote better competitive-foods policies and practices. Through a two-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, administered by the Leadership for Healthy Communities, AASA has established a cohort of mentors and mentees from Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin to work on this effort.

The goals are to build meaningful relationships between mentors, whose schools have strong competitive-foods policies, and mentees, whose district don’t, and between AASA and all participating districts, and to create and implement policies at the district level.

AASA recruited mentors and mentees through its network, e-mail lists and state superintendent associations.

In the project’s first year, AASA has aided districts in relationship building and policy adoption. In 2013-14, they will work on implementing those policies. AASA also will establish a second cohort to expand the work.

After an initial face-to-face meeting at AASA’s 2013 national conference, the groups have communicated regularly via conference calls and e-mail, raising and answering questions and sharing experiences and expertise about providing healthy snacks and beverages. AASA provides resources through webinars.

“We are seeing a lot of relationship building,” says Sapna Batheja, AASA’s project manager. “Increasing access to competitive, nutritious foods is imperative to creating the optimal learning atmosphere for students, as healthy students are better learners. School administrators are in the right position to foster this environment.”

Further information on AASA’s Competitive Foods initiative and answers to questions about participating districts are available from Batheja (sbatheja@aasa.org or 703-875-0732).  

 

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