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    Nathan Hale School first of six pilot schools to get “makeover”

    with nautical-themed mural, flat-screen menu boards and monitors to display PSAs on nutrition, exercise

    New Haven Public Schools on Thursday launched a Health for

    Achievement initiative that is transforming six school cafeterias into “learning labs,” complete with menu boards, flat-screen monitors for displaying health and wellness-focused public service announcements and cafeteria “makeovers.” The first school to fully launch the program is Nathan Hale School, which on Thursday unveiled new changes including the “Nathan’s Galley” nautical-themed cafeteria mural.

    The Cafeteria as Learning Labs pilot initiative is part of the “Health for Achievement” collaboration between New Haven Public Schools, CARE: Community Alliance for Research & Engagement at the Yale School of Public Health, and the RUDD Center for Food policy & Obesity.

    On hand for the announcement Thursday were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo, Nathan Hale Principal Lucia Paolella and District Wellness Committee Co-Chairs Chief Operating Officer Will Clark and Sue Peters, Director of School Initiatives for CARE. Also giving remarks about the project were Nathan Hale physical education teacher Heather Miller and students who are benefiting from the program.

    “We want our cafeterias to be places where young people can engage – to be inspired in the food choices they make, to enjoy mealtime, and to learn about and practice healthy eating habits. I am delighted to welcome students, parents and partners to celebrate a new chapter for our school cafeterias and to learn how we can improve health together,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo.

    Preliminary evidence indicates that healthier students are more than twice as likely to achieve academic goals and that conditions inside schools can greatly influence students’ health and achievement. More information is available at online on CARE’s website, www.care.yale.edu.

    The Health for Achievement project promotes healthy behaviors and achievement among students through research, school programs, social marketing and environmental changes. Monthly nutrition lessons will be provided by the New Haven Public Schools Food Service Registered Dietician for 6th graders, and cafeterias will be transformed with visual and media artwork generated by students, local artists, and teachers. Cafeterias will be equipped with electronic menu boards, large flat-screen monitors displaying student generated films, and cafeteria “demonstration carts” that will be used for interactive food experiments and cooking demonstrations.

    The Health for Achievement initiative and the work of the District Wellness Committee are collaborative efforts that are important components of the district’s nationally recognized School Change Initiative, which seeks to close the achievement gap with the state, cut the drop-out rate in half and ensure every student is academically prepared and financially able to go to college.

    Over the next several months, five additional schools – Jepson, Troup, Fair Haven, Martinez, and Columbus – will also be transformed into environments conducive to positive social interaction, enjoying a meal, and learning. The initiative has been a true collaborative effort with multiple partners coming together and working the transform school cafeterias into “learning labs.” Special thanks for out to school custodians, cafeteria staff, AFB facility management workers, the Information and Technology Department


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