Silver Springs students receive national attention for food projects

This week, farmers from Churchille Buttes Organics donated seedlings, Healthy Communities Coalition's Community Roots donated lettuce and garlic seeds and row covers, and local parents, plus farmers from Dirt Merchant Farms, joined the GREEN Team 6th graders, digging and preparing rows for planting (Photo by Rachel Leach, permission to use)

SUBMITTED NEWS — After their keynote address at the Northern Nevada Food Systems Summit at the Governor’s Mansion in November 2013, Silver Springs teacher Rachel Leach and her 6th grade GREEN Team received a standing ovation from nearly 200 of Nevada’s leading food system experts.

New Developments: The applause was well deserved. The GREEN Team’s nationally recognized, award winning gardening/composting/ recycling/food waste reduction project has attracted statewide and even national attention. New connections made at the Food Summit have led to even more good news, including a school gardeners’ network in Lyon County, and a “biotecture” use for Silver Stage Elementary’s disposable lunch trays, cartons, etc. – they’re being incorporated into a nearby farmer’s “earthship”, a type of passive solar building made of natural and recycled materials. And as part of a special session at the Nevada Small Farm Conference in February 2014, Rachel Leach will be among the speakers describing how the “Farm to School” concept can be used innovatively in the curriculum.

Description of the GREEN Team Project: This well-organized, cross-disciplinary project was designed by Silver Springs Elementary teacher Rachel Leach, along with her 6th grade students. They’ve expanded a school garden and hoop house project to include a composting micro-business, and developed a brilliant system for reducing food waste and recyclables. The project is full of hands-on lessons in science, math, sustainable agricultural practices, and cooking, plus real-world lessons in business, responsibility, leadership skills, frugality, and good nutrition.

Rachel writes, ” I don’t think there’s a better place to teach in the world. Our students are kind and determined – the struggles they face don’t break them, they simply make them stronger and more empathetic toward others… My class decided to take over our school garden and start a composting and waste reduction project that has so far reduced our lunchtime garbage from 20 bags of trash a day to less than 4, with a total weight of 250 lbs per day reduced to under 35 lbs a day…’Composting project’ is a misnomer. These kids do so much more than just compost. They recycle, they give non-compostables to a local community member who raises pigs, and they save taxpayers money by using fewer garbage bags each day. In fact, this project has added a week onto our compactor schedule – instead of picking up the school’s compactor every third week, it is now picked up every fourth week. It has really morphed into something amazing, by far the most powerful thing I’ve ever experienced in my teaching career.”

National, Statewide, and Regional Recognition: In the last year, the GREEN Team project has received praise from Elise Golan, Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, who writes, “This really is fabulous. We’ll be happy to list Silver Stage Elementary (led by the amazing 6th grade GREEN Team) as our first K-12 participant [in the USDA's Food Waste Challenge]. All best regards and congratulations on a job well done!” The project has also received praise from Aurora Buffington at Nevada Health Division Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, from Clark County Food Hub Strategies group, from USDA Rural Development director in Nevada, Sarah Adler, and from Cliff Owl from USDA Food Waste Challenge who writes, “You really are setting quite the example.”

Setting a National Example in Food Waste Reduction: The GREEN Team has been asked to create a webinar for other schools in the U.S. to show them how to get started on a similar project. Rachel explains, “I received a message to call a woman at the EPA regarding our entry into the national Food Waste Challenge. I returned her call during my prep and talked to her for almost 30 minutes, explaining what we’ve been doing, including our amazing visit to the Food Summit. She is so impressed with what we have going on here, (and it probably doesn’t hurt that we are the only K-12 school in the entire country participating right now!) that she wants us to create a webinar to help other schools across the country get started on a similar project. There are 3 categories to the competition, and although most participants only qualify for one category, we actually qualify for all three!”

Funding for the GREEN Team: The GREEN Team project is possible through a remarkable list of partnerships and collaborative work. Recently, the GREEN Team won a $2,500 award for their outstanding work through a competition funded by the Dolan Automotive Group in Reno that will help expand the ambitious goals of their project. This week, farmers from Churchille Buttes Organics donated seedlings, Healthy Communities Coalition’s Community Roots donated lettuce and garlic seeds and row covers, and local parents and farmers from Dirt Merchant Farms joined the GREEN Team in digging and preparing rows for planting. Previously, materials for the garden, hoop house, and composting project included food grade buckets from Sam’s Club, an insulated compost tumbler from the school, technical assistance from Churchill Buttes Organics (Marcia and Steve Litsinger), a compost thermometer from Cooperative Extension, and hoop house materials, organic alfalfa, worm bin, shovels, rakes, and a wheel barrow from Healthy Communities Coalition’s USDA NIFA grant.

This week, farmers from Churchille Buttes Organics donated seedlings, Healthy Communities Coalition's Community Roots donated lettuce and garlic seeds and row covers, and local parents, plus farmers from Dirt Merchant Farms, joined the GREEN Team 6th graders, digging and preparing rows for planting (Photo by Rachel Leach, permission to use)

This week, farmers from Churchille Buttes Organics donated seedlings, Healthy Communities Coalition’s Community Roots donated lettuce and garlic seeds and row covers, and local parents, plus farmers from Dirt Merchant Farms, joined the GREEN Team 6th graders, digging and preparing rows for planting (Photo by Rachel Leach, permission to use)

Lyon School District Champions School Gardens as STEM Labs and Outdoor Classrooms: The school garden and hoop house at SSES are among 7 others in the Lyon County School District, a District that is extremely supportive of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lesson potential of these “outdoor classrooms.” The start -up funding for the school hoop houses and gardens in Lyon County came through Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey grant funding through USDA and Nevada State Health Division. Technical guidance and initial organization was added by Healthy Communities Coalition’s nonprofit garden center, Community Roots, plus area farmers from Churchille Buttes, Dirt Merchants Farms, Holley Family Farms and Hungry Mother Organics. Volunteer labor to build the hoop houses and implement and maintain the gardens included students, parents, school staff, Silver Stage Co-Op members, Boys and Girls Club members, etc.

REPORT: School District ranks high in national comparison

Pedro Martinez

Pedro MartinezEDAWN NEWS — EDAWN recently commissioned the Buckley Education Group. Inc. to complete a data analysis of the Washoe County School District as it compared to the 50 states. The objective was to determine how the district ranked (if it were a state) to the other 50 states in several key areas. The results of the report were enlightening and in-line with feedback that EDAWN has received from many of the existing and new employers. In short, the quality of the graduates here is very good. The report evaluated several criteria and in performance, WCSD ranked better than many states that have an excellent national reputation for education.

The report, dated December 2013, showed that the performance of the district excelled in several areas. For “College Readiness in all Subjects,” WCSD ranks 15th in the nation, ahead of Nebraska, California and most other states. Regarding “AP Test Takers” WCSD ranked 12th. On the “ACT test for Math and English” WCSD ranked 18th and 24th respectively, again ahead of many high performing states like Colorado, Utah and Oregon. Unfortunately, WCSD also ranked low in some key areas such as “Per Student Funding” 50th, “Student Teacher Ratio” 49th, and “Graduation Rate” 43rd.

Pedro Martinez, Superintendent of WCSD reviewed the report and said, “The results were very exciting and demonstrated what we already knew; the district programs, teachers and students were achieving real results and the results were far better than many of the national report cards have indicated.” He also said, “This national data is more than a year old and our recent data will show even greater success in the next report.”

Mike Kazmierski, CEO of EDAWN indicated, “The report was commissioned to answer the question that EDAWN often gets about the poor education rankings of the state. We know that our graduates here are very good because the companies we work with are usually quite impressed with the quality of the workforce.” He also said, “It is unfortunate that some in the state actually relish and promote the low state rankings, which are often driven by the low funding per student number, in an effort to forward their own agenda. Our WCSD is producing more college and career ready students with less. It’s time we recognize and celebrate that success and support their efforts.”

According to Jean Marie Buckley, CEO and President of Buckley Education Group, “It is evident that Washoe County has made education a priority. From the Washoe County Superintendent’s message to increase the college acceptance and attendance rates, to the commitment of the state of Nevada to increase graduation rates and test rates, both Washoe County and Nevada report an increase in the commitment to improve education results.”

Buckley Education Group, Inc. was tasked with researching the education data which reflects the demography of Western Nevada’s education system, statistics and educational outcomes. Educational data is complex and comprehensive, as mandates require public education systems to report baselines, growth modules and standards to the required agencies within the defined state. To provide information relevant on Western Nevada it was essential to review national data as well as regional data to best understand and ascertain the growth and standards of Western Nevada. To begin the data research, education data was aggregated from a macro analysis and then narrowed to a micro analysis.

Urban Roots hosts Craig Sponholtz to teach sustainable water use workshop for farmers, students

Craig Sponholtz

Craig SponholtzURBAN ROOTS NEWS — World-renown water systems expert, Craig Sponholtz visits Reno to discuss sustainable water management in large & small-scale land production. This workshop hosted by Urban Roots with Loping Coyote comes at a great time as drought concerns are amplified in Western Nevada.

“Agricultural interests and water users need to be very proactive in managing resources this year.” This course will teach farmers how to restore our watershed while maximizing climate appropriate crops for the high desert.

The workshop is February 8 – 9, 2014.


The two-day workshop ($200) will explore the landscape, discuss erosion controls and apply efficient wind and snow management techniques with hands-on demonstrations. The study of agroecology aims to combine traditional knowledge, alternative agriculture, and local food system experiences to manage land use sustainably.

Craig Sponholtz has over 20 years of experience in watershed restoration using his degree in Agro-Ecological Restoration around the world. He studied at the Permaculture Research institute in Australia and continues to travel, teach, and collaborate with masters in the field to develop must-know principals that ensure water-related projects are practical, economically viable and harmonious with natural processes.

The workshop is part of an ongoing Permaculture Design Certification course being offered at the Urban Roots farm with collaboration from Loping Coyote. The courses are scheduled throughout the year and open to the public. Neil Bertrando of Loping Coyote developed the curriculum to include site visits and practical applications for urban and rural farmers across Nevada, including FarmCorps members, developing hoop houses at the UNR Valley Road Agricultural Station with the High Desert Farming Initiative.

For details or to register, visit, call 775-636-5105, or email

North Valleys cheerleaders seek support for national competition

North Valleys cheerleaders

North Valleys cheerleaders

SUBMITTED NEWS — The North Valleys Panthers Cheerleading and Stunt Squad is heading to the USA Nationals Cheer Competition in Disneyland on March 28, having earned the bid by virtue of great dedication and performances at a regional qualifying event on January 18, 2014.

The group needs support and has launched a fund-raising effort:

At the USA Regional Qualifier, in Antioch California, North Valleys Cheer and Stunt competed and succeeded in collecting 3 USA National qualifying bids: Advanced Stunt Group #1, all girl, took 5th place, and Advanced Stunt Group #3, all boy, took 4th place. In addition North Valleys Cheer and Student took 1st place in the Large Group Co-ed Varsity Routine, qualifying for the coveted USA National Competition.

The North Valleys High School Cheer & Stunt prides itself on teaching and upholding the fundamentals of cheerleading and stunts. These athletes and coaching staff work hard to instill the values of discipline, respect, hard work, goal setting and the joy of competition. This is how North Valleys Cheer and Stunt were able to work together to gain each bid for USA Nationals. Also, with the help of Five Star Athletics, they have been able to help prepare the team to compete at a national level and be successful as well.

At this time North Valleys Cheer and Stunt is looking for sponsors to help send them to USA Nationals Cheer Competition in Disneyland, on March 28th-30th. There are lots of costs that will be placed on these athletes, that have made it to the national level, and any help would be greatly received. This is a group of hard working student athletes, and they have grown tremendously in their ability and drive to be national competitors. This opportunity is going to be something that they will work diligently for and remember for a life time; along with those who helped them to make this a reality for them.

The North Valleys Varsity Cheer Squad: Head Coach, Jasper Remaley and Asst. Coach Raquel Riggle. Cheerleaders are: Emilie Barnes; Alyssa Bowen; Melissa Cardosa; La’Rae Carney; Gracie Clark; Victoria Douglas; Bryce England; Michelle Estrada; Alyssa Haas; Riplee Hansen; Laryssa Ikehara; Jordyn Jarrett; Maruani Lopez; Solene Mascarelli; Ashley Moreno; Skyler Olson; Makayla Savage; Nicole Westreicher; Camryn Wood; Quincy Youngs; Brooke Sterrett. Stunt includes: Beau Dietmeier; Isaiah England; Marcus Horton; Jakob Jarrett; Kyrin Lennon; Skyler Mendonca; Leon Vandyke; James Wheatley.

PHOTO GALLERY: Kids learn conservation at Wild Sheep Foundation show

Kids learn about conservation at wild sheep foundation's sheep show. Image: Natasha Vitale
Kids learn about conservation at wild sheep foundation's sheep show. Image: Natasha Vitale

Kids learn about conservation at wild sheep foundation’s sheep show. Image: Natasha Vitale

From January 23-25, sponsors from the Wild Sheep Foundation Annual Convention and Sporting Expo (The Sheep Show) at the Reno Sparks Convention Center also hosted a special educational event for children.

On the first two days of the event, 420 Washoe County School District (WCSD) middle and high school students attended to participate in wildlife career seminars and learn about conservation. On the final day, Saturday the 25th, the children’s event was open to the public with more than 200 kids and their families attending.

Ryan Brock, a Washoe County K-6 Science Teacher who is also Education Coordinator for the Wild Sheep Foundation, organized the kid’s portion of the event as a way to educate, excite, and inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

As he said, “The goal is to get kids off the couch and into nature. We hope that we can inspire them now, so that they will protect nature later.”

Judging by student responses, the event accomplished its purpose. When asked why he and his friends came to the event on Saturday, WCSD student Luke Hill said, “We thought it would be fun. We didn’t want to just sit around and play video games.” Kids like Luke enjoyed archery, shooting, fly tying, duck calling, and making crafts such as shockingly realistic turkey calls. Girl Scouts from troop 778 also enjoyed learning about turkeys to create their impressive booth on turkeys and turkey calling.

The Sheep Show’s Tracks Program challenged kids to follow animal tracks on the floor to answer questions at booths hosted by Nevada Department of Wildlife, Leica, Kenetrek Boots, Mystery Ranch Bozeman Mt. USA, SITKA, and The University of Nevada, Reno’s Rifle Team. Special exhibits displaying mounted animals and casts of their tracks enabled kids to get up close and personal with wildlife. A special forensics activity taught kids about poaching and the importance of treating nature with respect.

The event also gave kids the opportunity to learn about safe shooting and how to participate. The final day included comments from Team U.S.A. Olympic Shooters Frank Thompson and Amber English. Thompson and English educated students about high school shooting teams, shooting scholarship opportunities, and their own journeys to Olympic success.

Many conventions come to Reno, but few bring as much to the community or raise as much money for conservation as The Sheep Show. Even fewer conventions offer children a chance to participate and learn. This reality speaks to the generosity of the sponsors who presciently understand that the next generation will be responsible for ensuring that nature remains for the enjoyment of all. It is this understanding and the community’s commitment to educating future conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts that will determine whether or not “Wild Nevada” will remain “Wild.”

Local catholic school students participate in week of giving


CCNN_logoCATHOLIC CHARITIES OF NORTHERN NEVADA NEWS RELEASE – For the fourth year, local catholic school students are partnering with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada & the St. Vincent’s Programs to collect items for clients of the charity including the unemployed, underserved and homeless. The collection of food, hygiene items and clothing is part of a service project in recognition of Catholic Schools Week.

Students at Bishop Manogue High School, Our Lady of the Snows, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Albert the Great and Little Flower Schools are putting together personal hygiene times for St. Vincent’s clients, including shampoo, soap, razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Students also are collecting snack packs of food that will be distributed through St. Vincent’s Food Pantry.

Students at St. Albert parish Catholic School (1255 St. Albert’s Drive Reno) will present their donations to Catholic Charities & the St. Vincent’s Programs during a special school assembly at 8:30 a.m. Monday, January 27. Students will fill up a truck provided by Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada to be delivered to the St. Vincent’s Food Pantry and St. Vincent’s Resource Network for those in need. Students, in turn, will learn more about the 500,000 services provided each year by St. Vincent’s Programs.

This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” The annual observance starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2014 is January 26 to February 1. Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large. Learn more here.

Established in 1941, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN) is a Nevada-based, 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation operating nine human service programs including: St. Vincent’s Dining Room, St. Vincent’s Food Pantry, St. Vincent’s Emergency Assistance Program, St. Vincent’s Residence, St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop, Holy Child Early Learning Center, Immigration Assistance Program, Adoption Program, and the Kids to Seniors Korner Program. CCNN is committed to providing help and creating hope in our community. From infants to seniors, CCNN assists approximately 40,000 people per month in the northern Nevada community.

“Jazz in the Schools” showcases finest young jazz musicians


LOGOJAZZ IN THE SCHOOLS NEWS RELEASE – Over 300 middle and high school musicians will perform during the 14th annual Jazz in the Schools program on Saturday, February 1, in Nightingale Concert Hall at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) campus. The event is free to the students and the public and will showcase the region’s best school jazz bands starting at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until 4:30 p.m. This event helps to prepare the school groups to compete in the Reno Jazz Festival each spring and introduces them to UNR and the UNR jazz faculty.

In addition to the Jazz in The Schools program offering entertainment throughout the day, nationally recognized clinicians are on site to critique each student group’s performance; the professional educators then work with that group immediately after their concert to improve their jazz performance skills.

“This annual event is part of our community educational outreach efforts,” said Chuck Reider, Music Director for the Reno Jazz Orchestra. “There is no cost to the students or the school to partake in this interactive educational program. Over 300 students from 14 school bands within Washoe County will participate in the event which is open and free to the public throughout the day.”

The evening before the festival, the Reno Jazz Orchestra also hosts a “Jazz Improvisation Workshop” for any Washoe County School District band director. During this interactive evening, one of the clinicians shares his insight on jazz improvisation concepts and teaching techniques. Interested band directors should contact Jazz in the Schools Coordinator Andy Heglund directly at 775-338-7393.

The Reno Jazz Orchestra started in 1977. The EL Cord Foundation, The City of Reno, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, Healing Healthcare Systems, Ashley Quinn, and the RJO Band of 100 support this annual event.

For more information, contact Lee Weber Koch, Marketing Partner with the RJO, at 775-846-5444 or email

School/Community Safety Forum to be presented in Spanish


cityofrenoGovernment and school officials will address concerns from the Latino community regarding neighborhood and school safety on Thursday, Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m. at Pine Middle School, 4800 Neil Road. The School/Community Safety Forum will be presented in Spanish by Ward Three Council Member Oscar Delgado, Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez and representatives from the Reno Police Department and Washoe County School District Police Department.

Delgado heard from his constituents that they had concerns about safety in their neighborhoods. “At times language can be a barrier for the Latino community to share all their ideas. I wanted to host a forum in Spanish to provide an opportunity for everyone to share concerns and solutions,” he said.

There will be short presentations and then a question and answer period. Light snacks will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information, please call Reno Direct at 334-INFO (4636).

KNPB KIDS writers contest kicks off Saturday



PBSWCLogo_MagKNPB Channel 5 kicks off the annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest this Saturday, Jan. 25, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Reno. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., the event features information about the contest, story-writing workshops and activities for kids enrolled in kindergarten through third grade. Clifford the Big Red Dog also makes an appearance to help children understand the importance of books and writing stories.

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest, accepting submissions through Mar. 28, is designed to encourage and advance children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning.  The annual contest invites children from kindergarten through third grade to submit a story for a chance at having his or her work published. Local winners are entered into the national contest where a panel of esteemed judges rank the top 12 entries.  National winners are announced during the summer of 2014, and the winning stories are featured on National winners receive prizes courtesy of LeapFrog®, makers of the LeapReader® Reading & Writing System.

“KNPB is committed to providing fun opportunities for the northern Nevada and northeastern California area, so kids can express their creativity,” said KNPB Manager of Education Services Cheryl Olson. “The PBS KIDS Writers Contest helps children build valuable literacy skills for success in school and life.”

For those seeking story-writing assistance, PBS LearningMedia features a robust set of resources for children, parents and teachers including story ideas, activity sheets and past winning entries. It also offers a collection of online teacher resources for use in classrooms nationwide.

Local winners are selected by KNPB in late April 2014. Awards include an on-air recording of the winning student, publication of the submitted work and recognition at KNPB events in the spring of 2014.

To enter the contest, and for more information on entry rules and contest resources, visit or follow KNPB on Twitter and Facebook.

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by PBS and based on the Reading Rainbow® Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a concept developed by WNED-TV, Buffalo.  The Contest is sponsored in part by United Federal Credit Union, Reno Gazette-Journal, Dolan Auto Group, IGT, The Abbi Agency, Reno News and Review, Great Basin Federal Credit Union, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Umpqua Bank, City National Bank, Mountain America Credit Union, Sage Financial Advisors and Western Nevada Supply and with support from Lafrance Family Foundation, Marie Crowley Foundation, Abraham & Sonia Rochlin Foundation, Leonette Foundation, Jack Van Sickle Foundation and Nell J. Redfield Foundation with national promotional support from Highlights for Children®

About KNPB
KNPB Public Broadcasting is seen by 140,000 people weekly in northern Nevada and northeastern California. KNPB provides three digital broadcast television channels on channel 5.1, KNPB Create on channel 5.2 and KNPB Vme on channel 5.3. KNPB channels are also available on cable and satellite services. KNPB provides PBS national programming and award-winning, locally-produced KNPB programming in standard and high definition. provides engaging interactive content, including the KNPB video portal at that streams all locally-produced KNPB content and most PBS national content. KNPB serves students, teachers, parents and caregivers through immersive educational services from KNPB Campus that bring classroom lessons to life. Through the support of local corporations and foundations, as well as individual members, KNPB has been delivering public television and educational services to the communities it serves since 1983.

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About WNED
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, WBFO-FM 88.7 and Classical 94.5 WNED, member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at

About LeapFrog
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. is the leader in educational entertainment for children. For nearly 20 years, LeapFrog has created award-winning learning solutions that combine educational expertise, innovative technology and a child’s love for fun. With experiences that are personalized to each child’s level, LeapFrog helps children achieve their potential through LeapFrog’s proprietary learning tablets, learn to read and write systems, interactive learning toys and more, all designed or approved by LeapFrog’s full-time in-house team of learning experts. LeapFrog’s Learning Path, the ultimate guide for parents on early childhood, is designed specifically to help support and guide their child’s learning with personalized ideas and feedback, fun activities and expert advice. LeapFrog is based in Emeryville, California, and was founded in 1995 by a father who revolutionized technology-based learning solutions to help his child learn how to read. Learn more at

About Highlights for Children, Inc.
Devoted to “Fun with a Purpose,” family media brand Highlights for Children, Inc. ( has helped children become their best selves for generations. Highlights magazines are the best-read children’s magazines in North America, and total more than 250 million impressions each year. In addition to the flagship magazine, Highlights’ other offerings include a preschool magazine (High Five), an infant and toddler magazine (Hello), a children’s book company (Boyds Mills Press), puzzle book clubs and a variety of digital products. Highlights can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at its blog, Highlights Aha!

Department of Agriculture releases school meal eligibility data

Nevada Department of Agriculture logo

Nevada Department of Agriculture logoThe Nevada Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition division released today the 2013-2014 Free and Reduce Price Meal Eligibility Report. It provides the total number of students eligible for free or reduced price meals at all schools statewide that participate in the program.

Many different federal, state and local community groups use the report to demonstrate the need of individual schools throughout the state. In addition, school districts use the data to determine eligibility for federal grant programs such as Title I and for local programs such as free after school snack and weekend supplemental food backpack programs.

Nearly 295,000 meals are served daily in Nevada to children in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. The National School Lunch Program has recently undergone changes that increase the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered to children.

Healthy school meals are a critical part of a healthy school environment, and free or reduced-price meals help provide children with fuel needed to learn. Families are encouraged to fill out a free or reduced price meal application. Interested parents or guardians should contact their local school district for more information.

Data are provided at the school and district level, but information about each student’s status is confidential. School food service staff members receive and process student applications and the Department’s Food and Nutrition division monitors applications for accuracy.

Visit for more information about the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.