Archive for Thursday, May 15, 2008

Students seek junk food alternative

Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School Board hears presentation on cafeteria snack menu

May 15, 2008

Clark Middle School students might eat a little healthier next year.

At last week's meeting of the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School Board, sixth-grade teacher Kim Prier, with the help of several of her students, gave a video presentation to the board on an Expeditionary Learning project undertaken by the sixth-grade students this semester.

The EL project, which in EL lingo is called an investigation, sought to look at the snack items available to students on the cafeteria's a la carte menu. The menu as it is consists entirely of junk food, with such choices as potato chips and corn chips plus packaged pastries and other baked items laden with corn syrup.

Prefacing their presentation with a nod to the growing concern over childhood obesity rates, the students at the meeting listed the fat calories and total calories for each snack item.

Steve Cook, principal of Clark, said the project "is part of a much larger investigation on the science of nutrition," for which the school's science teachers worked with the students.

Their project had also included a survey of Clark students, which found that more than 80 percent of them reported eating at least two unhealthy snacks a day and that many of them would eat healthier if given the options. The students said they wanted all the current items on the menu replaced with healthier items, such as snack chips that are baked instead of fried, wheat crackers, yogurt, string cheese and fruit cups.

As to whether Clark students would easily give up their favorite junk-food snacks, Prier said "they'll have a hard time giving up Hot Cheetos and Ho Hos."

The students then distributed to the board and audience members samples of the healthier fare they'd like to see on the menu at their school.

Superintendent Robert Van Maren said he and the board would consider the students' recommendations, noting that fresh fruit was the most problematic to feature on the cafeteria menu, especially apples, because they are so perishable.

"We plan on making the changes as requested and adjusting other offerings as we move forward into next year," Van Maren said in an e-mail later.

In other business at last week's meeting, the board:

¢ Approved an amendment to the 2007-2008 budget, adding $725,627 to the expenses and transfers for the general fund, special education fund and the at-risk fund. The changes in expenses and transfers for the general fund went from $14,206,315 to $14,729,882; the special-education fund went from $3,128,441 to $3,270,501; and the at-risk fund went from $1,100,000 to $1,160,000.

¢ Heard Garold Baker, athletic director for the district, on his coach-staffing recommendations for the next year.

¢ Approved payment of warrants for $351,014.

¢ Approved construction bills and bond issue payments of $107,928.

¢ Approved new contracts for Sarah Benton, Clark Middle School sixth-grade teacher, and Nicholas Schuster, Bonner Springs Elementary third-grade teacher.

¢ Approved the resignations of Cari Lynn, ninth-grade cheerleading coach; Elizabeth Dillon, high school math teacher; and Garold Baker, athletic director. Baker will be serving as athletics director and assistant principal at Turner High School.

¢ Watched Dalene Buhl of Energy Education Inc., present an Energy Pacesetter award to Jim Hann, who has served as the energy manager and educator for the district in the 42 months since it contracted with Energy Education to reduce the district's energy consumption.

¢ Held an executive session to discuss teacher negotiations.

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