RFKM Awards Bradley Hills ES Most Improved
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September 30, 2014
Congratulations to Bradley Hills Elementary School

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

This morning, at 9:30 a.m., Real Food for Kids – Montgomery (RFKM) presented Bradley Hills Elementary School with the “RFKM Most Improved School Food Award.” 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, 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. 


kids at Bradley HillsThe 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 sends 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. 

Preparing for Halloween Parties

jack o'lanternAs Halloween approaches, it's good to plan ahead to make sure Halloween parties at school don't add to the pile of candy your children will already be getting if they go trick or treating. Work with your child's room parent and offer to set up an online party sign-up form that lists specific healthy items for parents to bring, including only one "treat" and water as the beverage. RFKM's Healthier Party Plan flyer (available in Spanish as Viva la Fiesta) can help give you ideas for healthier snacks. Alternately, you can plan a food-free party with ideas from our Non-Food Classroom Party Ideas flyer (Spanish version). Happy Halloween!

RFKM Awarded Grant from Mead Family Foundation

We are pleased to announce that the Mead Family Foundation has awarded RFKM a grant of $15,000 for general operating support for our organization. We are very thankful that the Mead
Family Foundation has seen the value of our advocacy work in changing the school food landscape and has given us this opportunity.

Our thanks to all the students, parents and teachers who participated in the first "5 for 5 Challenge"! To date, we have raised $1,780 - not to mention the benefit to the participants who ate the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables for five days in a row!

Our congratulations to Eleanor from East Silver Spring ES for winning the prize for eating the greatest variety of fruits and vegetables! Check out her tracking sheet to see what a great job she did trying new things!


Board of Education Candidate Forums

Please see below a list of forums for BOE candidates. Please take the time to carefully evaluate the candidates in this election and their positions on school food and share your recommendations with your friends and neighbors.


Tuesday, September 30th (challengers only): 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 

Rockville Library, 1st Floor Conference Room, 21 Maryland Ave. Rockville 

Sponsored by the Taxpayers League, Parents Coalition of Montgomery County and Montgomery County Civic Federation


Saturday, October 5th: 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. 

Garrett Park Town Hall, 10814 Kenilworth Avenue, Garrett Park

Sponsored by Start School Later, Inc.


Wednesday, October 8th: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Aspen Hill Library, 4407 Aspen Hill Road, Rockville

Sponsored by The Library Advisory Committee and the Strathmore-Bel Pre Civic Association


Saturday, October 11th: 8:45 - 11:00 a.m.

Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. Rockville

Sponsored by NAACP Parents Council


Tuesday, October 14th: 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Silver Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring

Sponsored by the Montgomery County Education Forum (MCEF)


Wednesday, October 15th: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

River Falls Club House 7915 Horseshoe Lane, Potomac, MD.

Sponsored by the Whitman High School Cluster


Tuesday, October 21: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Long Branch Community Center, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring

Sponsored by Safe Silver Spring

Articles and Videos of Interest

The Healthy Schools Revolution Register to learn what pro-active schools and parents are doing across the nation to improve health in schools. Portions of your registration will support your child's school and RFKM. 

Researchers suspect that these artificial sweeteners are disrupting the bacterial microbiome in our gut, which is causing spikes in blood sugar and may be contributing to obesity and other diseases, such as cancer. 

The Empowerment Challenge Four weeks of eating healthy with informative tips and resources to help you along the way. 

Health Fair How-To Guide Learn how to plan and execute a successful health fair at your school.

Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshops Offered in both English and Spanish, workshops are available for download that include lesson plans, learning objectives, hands-on activities, etc. They are designed to raise awareness on healthy lifestyles and how to pursue them. 

Health and Fitness Board Game Encourges kids to be healthy and active.

realfoodmcps@gmail.com  - www.realfoodforkidsmontgomery.org - (301) 202-4812

Real Food for Kids - Montgomery is a 
grassroots parent and student advocacy group working to promote
whole, delicious, fresh and nutrient-rich foods in the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

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