Townsend Schools Celebrate National Healthy Schools Award

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
By Allyson Hagen

Contacts:  Allyson Hagen, OPI, 406-444-3160,
Andrea Johnson, Superintendent, Townsend Schools, 406-441-3454,

Townsend Schools Celebrate National Healthy Schools Award

(Townsend, MT) Cecelia Hazelton Elementary School and Townsend Junior High School in Townsend, Montana, joined an exclusive national group last month, earning prestigious Silver Awards in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) program.

The HealthierUS School Challenge program recognizes schools that are creating healthy environments by promoting excellence in nutrition and physical activity.  Townsend Schools are one of nine schools in Montana to receive a HUSSC award since 2006. 

Superintendent Juneau said, "Schools receiving these awards are models for schools across the state because they demonstrate their commitment to the health and wellness of Montana children. Children who eat healthy meals and are active are better prepared for success in the classroom."

To qualify for the Silver award, Townsend Schools submitted a detailed application documenting adherence to the HealthierUS School Challenge criteria for their lunch menus, nutrition education, opportunities for physical activity, and a local school wellness policy.  The HUSSC application process was led by Vicki Thomason, School Food Service Director.  Townsend School lunches offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables through a daily salad and fruit bar, low fat dairy foods, lean protein choices and whole grain foods.

Brad Racht, Townsend Junior High Principal said, “We are very proud of this award.  Mrs. Thomason and her staff have worked very hard to provide healthy lunch options for our students.  She is consistently trying to improve the lunch program and seeks student input." He continued, "Our entire teaching staff has demonstrated a commitment to physical activity and healthy choices.”

Stated Townsend Superintendent Andrea Johnson, “Healthy nutrition and physical activity are both extremely important for our students to feel good and learn.  I am excited that the district met the criteria for the Silver Awards – now we can work for the Gold!” 

The high priority placed on physical activity and physical education along with innovative programs to increase students’ physical activity were another key reason for the Silver recognition of Townsend Schools.  Health enhancement teacher Vicki Harvey has been instrumental in creating fun ways to get kids up and moving, such as school-wide fit days.  Both intramural and interscholastic sport options are available for students in Grades 6-8. 

Montana Office of Public Instruction officials will present the award to Townsend Schools on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 2:00-2:55 p.m. in the new high school gym and participate in a school-wide celebration.  Parents and community members are invited to attend the award celebration.

An agenda for the celebration can be found here:


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