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City School Children Will Be Eating Healthier


By Anne Forline

Gloucester City News

During the recent Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) meeting representatives from Nutri-Serve, Jennifer Dina and Loretta Ravelli, gave a presentation regarding the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

This Act has been long touted by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign as a way of urging children to make healthier food choices. 

New mandates from the USDA became effective on July 1 that required school cafeterias to initiate sweeping menu changes by encouraging healthy food choices and setting good nutritional priorities.

These changes called for school cafeterias to move away from serving processed foods and instead offer a lower fat menu with increased daily offerings of local fresh produce.

There was a lengthy discussion about “offer versus serve,” which means the cafeteria can merely “offer” the recommended healthy food choices to students.

The new USDA mandates require that all students who eat a school lunch or breakfast must be offered and take a fruit or vegetable with every meal.

Additionally, fruits and vegetables must account for half of the student’s plate.

Both Dina and Ravelli stated the importance of encouraging healthy food choices in children beginning at a young age. “It’s difficult to change the eating habits of a high schooler,” Ravelli said.

More information on the new cafeteria mandates can be found on the district’s website under “Food Services” tab.

Under new business, the Board passed a motion regarding the district’s social networking.

The district’s Facebook page is now live and can be found at On Twitter, the district’s user name is “Lions Pride” @GCSD_NJ.

Although the motion also involved the district’s television station, this issue is still in the investigation stages as many logistical issues still need to be worked out, including a cost study, Superintendent Joe Rafferty said.

Janet Kauffmann, technology director, added that the district is working with the City of Gloucester and is still in talks with Comcast for a price quote and to see what services they will provide. 

During the business portion of the meeting, several motions were made and approved by the BOE, including:

Approving a contract with Follett Software Company for the licensing and implementation of the Destiny Resource Management Solution for $6,315.

Approving the South Jersey Technology Partnership (SJTP) with Sterling High School to provide technology support and services.

Appointing Patrick Hagan and Sandy Hubler as co-advisors for the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) club at GCHS. This amount is an $800 stipend that will be funded through the Perkins Grant.

Granting permission to the district to apply for the 2014 Preschool Education Aid (PIA) Plan to the NJ Department of Education.

All other business on the Board’s agenda was approved, which included student action items as listed, personnel items, workshops, field trips, fundraising and curriculum.

The BOE also engaged in a discussion about professional appointments and advertising for these positions prior to the upcoming reorganization meeting.

Student representatives from all of the district’s schools updated the superintendent and the BOE by giving reports from their respective schools. These students were: Angel Rodriguez (GCHS), Alexis Alago (Highland Park Program for Success), Kirstyn Herman (MEC) and William Horton (CSS). 

The superintendent also personally thanked outgoing board members, Ed Hubbs and Linda Bittmann, for their untiring dedication and countless hours for volunteering their time in order to develop policy for the thousands of students in the Gloucester City School District.

“The truest form of government in a democracy is public education,” Rafferty said.

The superintendent’s words to Mr. Hubbs and Ms. Bittman were met with applause and a standing ovation. 

The BOE will meet again for its Reorganization meeting on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm, which will be followed by the Caucus meeting.

The regular meeting will be Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm. All meetings will take place in the GCHS Media Center. 

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