Untitled 1 Real Food for Kids - Montgomery, LLC
Real Food for Kids - Montgomery
RFKM School Food Improvement Award 

Past Winners

2014-2015: Chevy Chase Elementary School

On May 29, 2015, RFKM awarded Chevy Chase Elementary School (CCES) the 2014-2015 Most Improved School Food Award for their exceptional emphasis on school nutrition. Last year, CCES created a formal wellness committee, which has been the driving force behind many of the nutrition-related changes that have been made.This year, award_CCES 2CCES instituted RFKM’s Healthier Party Plan, which incorporated healthy snacks and water into school parties and discouraged soda and foods with artificial colors. CCES has also provided teachers with RFKM’s flyer with alternative options to rewarding children with food in class. The wellness committee at CCES replaced cafeteria a la carte foods containing artificial food dyes and too much sugar with healthier items containing high fiber and whole grains. 

Furthermore, the staff at CCES has shown their support for nutrition education by inviting nutrition specialists to hold a workshop for parents in April on preparing healthy snacks and lunches.They also made an effort to keep parents informed and to get parents involved in the changes being made to improve the school food environment. In May, CCES hosted a Wellness Week dedicated to educating the students about nutrition. Assemblies were held featuring experts in healthy eating, and a program called “Eat the Rainbow” was promoted to get the children to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in a fun and engaging way.

CCES has been an advocate for healthy living in the greater community as well as within the school. They held a fundraiser at Nava Health Center to teach parents how to update their holiday meals with healthier recipes and they held a parent-child fitness class fundraiser at Pulse Fitness. 

Other notable nominees included: 
Sligo Creek ES—for installing an interactive salad garden, featuring a section for RFKM on their PTA web site, and promoting healthy snacks in the classroom and at parties; and
Takoma Park ES—for forming a Health and Wellness Committee, promoting nutrition education, and conducting a parent school food survey.


2013-2014: Bradley Hills Elementary School

Lindsey giving award to Sandra Reece, Principal, Bradley Hill ES
RFKM Co-Director Lindsey Parsons (front left) awarding certificate to Bradley Hills ES Principal Sandra Reece (front right)

On Sept. 20, 2014, Real Food for Kids – Montgomery (RFKM)presented Bradley Hills Elementary School with the “RFKM School Food Improvement Award" for the 2013-2014 school year. This award recognizes the school that has made the most positive progress in the past year to improve the school food environment. The advocacy work done by RFKM’s school representative Lisa Mandell and their PTA’s Wellness Committee, in cooperation with Principal Sandra Reece, is an example to all Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) of what can be accomplished with an organized parent effort and cooperative school administrators. 

Their efforts began at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year with a parent survey on school food, which indicated that parents were opposed to many of the a la carte items being sold in the cafeteria and had concerns about the nutritional value of the hot lunches. PTA Wellness Committee Chairs, Aimee Aronson and Lisa Mandell, arranged a meeting between their school’s principal, Sandra Reece, and MCPS Food and Nutrition Services Director, Marla Caplon, to voice parents’ concerns. Following this meeting,Salad Bar at Bradley Hills ES MCPS agreed to remove the a la carte items that over 50 percent of parents disapproved of (e.g., gummy fruit snacks, Doritos, and ice cream) and replace these with healthier alternatives.  Additionally, the survey revealed that parents desired a salad bar, which was subsequently installed in the cafeteria.

To encourage students to eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as educate the kids about the value of nutrition, the PTA Wellness Committee organized “Rainbow Week,” during the week of April 28, in conjunction with Pack Assorted Colors for Kids (P.A.C.K) Week. The committee supplied students with charts and stickers to track the different types of food they ate throughout the week, motivating students to eat a “rainbow” of foods. Parents responded positively to the committee’s efforts, stating that their children were enthusiastically trying new fruits and vegetables at home.

The PTA Wellness Committee frequently engages with parents to ensure that their voices are being heard and that they are actively involved in their children’s health and wellness. The committee Kids at Bradley Hills ES by salad barsends a monthly “What’s Up with Wellness” E-Report, which informs parents of what the committee is working on, as well as stories and tips to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the schools and at home. Additionally, at the request of Principal Reece, the committee invited Food Services Supervisor, Elizabeth Harrell, to speak to parents at their November 2013 meeting, to explain the new changes to the a la carte menu as well as the introduction of the salad bar. The committee also plays an active role in monitoring the food being served at PTA fundraisers and class parties by developing and distributing tip sheets to parents and teachers for planning healthy events.

The BHES Wellness Committee hopes to continue their success in the upcoming school year by holding a cookbook fundraiser in which students can submit their own recipes, bringing more nutrition and wellness speakers to parent meetings, as well as repeating the programs of the past year.

Award Criteria


The RFKM School Food Improvement Award recognizes school administrators and parents who have worked together to improve the school food environment. There are many different ways that your school may have exemplified such efforts. For example:

  • The presence of a wellness committee and/or school-based wellness policy
  • Improvements to a la carte items and/or vending choices
  • Healthy classroom snacks and in-school parties
  • Healthy PTA fundraisers and events
  • PTA signing the RFKM Healthy kids Pledge
  • Nutrition speakers, classes and assemblies
  • School garden

Calls for nominations go out in the spring of each school year to RFKM school representatives and through our listserv and a committee selects one winner each year.


"As a professional in public health, working to reduce obesity and preventable chronic illness among children by increasing access to healthy foods and physical activity in and out of school, I strongly support these recommendations. They are timely and on point. Our children spend many hours a day at school, some children eating the bulk of their meals at school, thus we have an obligation to be smart and responsible with regard to the meals and snacks we provide to them. Schools all across this country are taking steps to adopt a higher standard in school nutrition services. As we take pride in calling ourselves, and being recognized by others, as one of the greatest school districts in the country, we must see it fit to lead in every aspect of our children's education and well-being at school."
- One of the signers of the RFKM 2014 petition on school food.

         Copyright © 2017   Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food and Agriculture (RFKM's fiscal sponsor)