North East School District

The District

The School(s)

  • Davis Primary School

    Age Group: K-5
    School Size: Medium (301-900)
    School Environment: Town Fringe
    School F/R: 58%
    School ADP: 62%

  • North East Middle School

    Age Group: 6-8
    School Size: Medium (301-900)
    School Environment: Town Fringe
    School F/R: 50%
    School ADP: 63%

The Project

  • Project Description

    North East School District in North East, PA got creative when trying to get students excited about eating new fruits and vegetables. At Davis Primary School, they came up with the idea of the “Friendship Fruit Salad.” Each variety of fresh fruit represented good qualities and actions, such as kindness, hard work, or sharing. Bad fruits, like rotten bananas, represented bad qualities and actions, such as name calling, not doing your homework, etc. The students voted on which kinds of fruit to put in the fruit salad, and proceeded to gobble it up. Connecting the fruits with beneficial actions at school helped build a positively charged bowl, which led to a lesson about health benefits. The creativity of the project got the students excited about trying fresh fruits. It prompted the cafeteria staff to add more of students’ favorite fruits to the regular menu, such as watermelon, strawberries, and grapes.

    At North East Middle School, the school conducted a large-scale taste test in which a huge table was set up in the cafeteria with over thirty kinds of fruits and vegetables for the students to try. Nutrition facts were provided with each variety on the table. The students loved the opportunity to explore such a vast array of produce. The project prompted the cafeteria to offer more fresh items on their menu such as celery sticks, broccoli, watermelon, and pears.

    In order to bring the education factor of these programs full circle, the district partnered with Adagio Health Center to conduct nutrition education courses monthly throughout the school year.

    Food Service Director Robin Petroff-Hedlund recounts the reaction from the students after their Project Produce activities, “The students loved it. We were overhearing kids saying ‘Where’s the apples? Where’s the grapes?’”

  • Successes
    • Students enjoyed trying new fresh, nutritious foods.
    • Teachers, parents and principals were overwhelmingly supportive of the effort.
    • The cafeteria adapted their menu to include more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Challenges
    •  Prepping such large amounts of fresh produce for the programs.
    • Documenting their purchases. 

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