Rating System Helps Students, Staff Make More Nutritious Food Choices
Guiding Stars, the world’s first store-wide nutrition navigation system – now available in more than 1,500 grocery stores – announces a partnership with the schools of Regional School Unit (RSU) #14 Windham Raymond School District in Maine, by launching the good-better-best food rating system in the schools. This partnership continues the district’s history of making student and staff wellness a top priority. Guiding Stars has been implemented at Windham High School and will extend to the rest of the district’s schools in subsequent years.
Guiding Stars will rate prepared meals, snacks, salad bar and grab-and-go items with zero to three stars based on its nutritional value. One star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value. This system provides a simple, at-a-glance tool to allow students to quickly identify and choose foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories.
“We are thrilled to be part of Windham Raymond School District’s ongoing commitment to providing their students and staff with a healthy and nutritious educational environment,” said Jim McBride, director of information and systems at Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “Guiding Stars will not only make it easier to identify healthy options, but will make nutritious choices simple, practical and fun.”
Guiding Stars features a proprietary algorithm that is grounded in evidence-based science and utilizes the most current guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations, such as the FDA, USDA and World Health Organization. The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium.
The Guiding Stars program is now on shelf tags and signage in grocery stores throughout the Northeast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida, and the partnership with Windham Raymond School District joins other school partnerships including the first nutrition rating system in a public school, MSAD 75 in Topsham, Maine, as well as Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.
Windham Raymond School District has been a pioneer in creating an environment that makes wellness a priority by employing a School Health Coordinator, maintaining an active Wellness Team, as well as supporting a variety of health and wellness endeavors both inside and outside of the classroom that have been initiated by district staff.
“Part of our responsibility as educators is teaching students about health and wellness while also helping them to be aware of the impact that daily food choices can make,” said Stephanie Joyce, MS, RD, school health coordinator of Windham Raymond School District. “There is a link between nutrition and learning, and Guiding Stars was a natural fit for our schools in order to make it easier for our students and staff to make healthy-eating a part of their lifestyle.”
Another benefit of the partnership will be the consistency of seeing Guiding Stars both in schools and their local grocery stores. Students and their families can talk about nutritious food choices based on information that is comprehensive, accurate, and easy-to-use and understand.
The opportunity of this partnership was made possible through the district’s award of a nearly $1 million federal grant. Windham Raymond School District is one of 73 public schools and community organizations to be awarded the U.S. Department of Education Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. Additionally, the district will use these funds to create various Centers of Wellness throughout district schools.
About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.
Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious choices. The Guiding Stars program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutritional choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently in more than 1,500 supermarkets including Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom and Sweetbay. Kings Super Markets will launch Guiding Stars in 2010. Guiding Stars has also launched the first nutrition rating system in a public school in Topsham, Maine, the dining halls and convenience stores of Bates College and the University of New Hampshire, and on the Shopper mobile iPhone application.
About RSU #14 Windham Raymond School District
The RSU #14 Windham Raymond School District is located in the western lakes region of Southern Maine serving both the towns of Windham and Raymond. With a student population of approximately 3,400 the district is comprised of two elementary schools (Raymond Elementary School, Windham Primary School), 3 middle schools (Manchester School, Jordan Small Middle School, Windham Middle School), one high school (Windham High School), and an alternative education program (REAL School). The mission statement of the RSU #14 School Board is to “create an educational environment that promotes positive and successful learning experiences, and enables all members of the school community to develop their unique potential.”