Cleveland Middle School Helps Put ED Tour in Motion

Michael Yudin with Solon students, retired NFL player Lomas Brown, Ohio dairy farmer Davis Denman and Chomps, the Cleveland Browns' mascot.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Michael Yudin (second from right) with Solon students, retired NFL player Lomas Brown, Ohio dairy farmer Davis Denman and Chomps, the Cleveland Browns' mascot.

SOLON, Ohio—For a back-to-school sprint through the Great Lakes region, it just seemed to make sense to warm up with a little physical activity. So that’s what Michael Yudin, the Department’s acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, did Tuesday morning at Solon Middle School, a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School outside of Cleveland. Secretary Duncan will visit Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon.

Yudin joined Solon City School District Superintendent Joseph Regano, Principal Eugenia Green and representatives from the dairy industry and the National Football League’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program for an assembly to motivate Solon Middle’s 400 8th graders to make smart food choices and be physically active. Lomas Brown, a retired NFL player who spent the 1999 season with the Cleveland Browns, was also on hand to encourage the students, as was Chomps, the Browns’ canine mascot.

Solon Middle School Principal Eugenia Green

Solon Middle School Principal Eugenia Green leads a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School that is now participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

“We know that healthy students are better students,” Yudin said, congratulating Solon Middle on its Blue Ribbon award and its commitment to student health. Through quality school nutrition and the integration of physical activity into the day, schools are one of the key pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat child obesity.

After the assembly in the school’s gym and a toast to the new school year—with milk, of course—Yudin, Brown and Chomps joined the students on the school’s athletic field for a football, Frisbee, running and walking break.

Solon Middle School students

Following an assembly, students took a mid-morning activity break on the school's football field.

Launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fuel Up to Play 60 empowers youth to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health.

“Just as the NFL uses their playbook…we can use Fuel Up to Play 60 playbooks to choose the activities that are best for each of us,” said Solon 8th grader Jeff Lidawer, one of several student-athletes who spoke at the assembly.

To learn more about the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, including five steps that schools can take, visit

Office of Communications & Outreach

Uninsured Children: An Education Challenge

If there were millions of children in America whose families didn’t know they could enroll in school, we’d feel an urgent need to get the message out them, wouldn’t we? Well, that’s the situation with our nation’s health insurance program for children—five million children are eligible but they remain uninsured because of a lack of awareness.

This is an education problem on two levels. First, as I’ve suggested, we need to educate families about this option they have for health coverage. Second, if a child is not healthy, he or she cannot learn. There is nothing more important than ensuring that our nation’s children are safe and healthy.

I joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius last week to highlight the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to enroll five million children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) within five years. A phenomenal coalition of partners, ranging from state governors to national advocacy organizations, has stepped up to the challenge to enroll kids and educate families.

I want to thank my good friend Secretary Sebelius for her extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to ensure that everyone has access to excellent and affordable health care. Kathleen and her team have been phenomenal partners with the Department of Education on so many issues, from early learning programs to H1N1 flu. It is fair to say there has never been as much cooperation and collaboration among the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services as there is today.

We have also been working closely with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on improving USDA’s school lunch program and have had a major role in the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative—an effort that has ushered in an unprecedented wave of attention and action to tackle the issues around childhood obesity.

On the issue of health coverage for children, nearly all of the nation’s low-income, uninsured children are eligible through Medicaid or CHIP. Now, the challenge for all of us is to connect children with that coverage. America’s schools can help lead that effort.

Our job is to make sure everyone knows how to enroll. There is a role for every member of the school community, including superintendents, principals, teachers, school nurses, and lunch room staff to get involved.

In fact, recent federal legislation has made it possible to use the school lunch application to do more than refer families to health coverage. Under certain conditions, school lunch programs can share information from a student’s application with Medicaid and CHIP, speeding up the process of getting children covered.

As a former school superintendent, I would have loved to have had this type of efficient communication. I saw so many children who would have benefited tremendously from the simplicity this brings, and I know this will have a measurable effect on participation in these programs.

There is no better time than now to raise awareness about getting children enrolled in health care. As parents help their children get a new school year underway, staying healthy should be at the top of everyone’s school supply list.

Arne Duncan
Secretary of Education

“Fueled and Fit” at DC Public School

Karen Duncan, wife of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, visited Walker-Jones Education Campus in northwest Washington, D.C., on October 16 to celebrate National School Lunch Week as a part of the Department of Education’s “Fueled and Fit” campaign. Mrs. Duncan was joined by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For over 60 years, USDA has helped to protect the health and well-being of children across the country by providing them with balanced, low-cost or free lunches through the National School Lunch Program.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.

To explore the “science of food,” Mrs. Duncan, Deputy Secretary Merrigan, and an enthusiastic group of elementary-age students participated in demonstration activities conducted by White House Chef Sam Kass and local Washington, D.C. Chef José Andrés in the Walker-Jones cafeteria. The chefs showed how some common foods can be altered into completely different substances through interactions with air.

Chef Andrés whipped carrot juice into a frothy cloud using an electric mixer and served the new, airy concoction to children with mini carrot sticks. Chefs Andrés and Kass then explored how air turns sliced apples brown, yet also allows bakers to make bread from the ingredients in dough. Perhaps the favorite demonstration of the day involved the transformation of milk into natural whipping cream, which was served to the children with fresh raspberries. After the demonstrations and food tastings, children enjoyed a lunch of fruit, vegetable pizza, and milk provided by the Chartwells food and nutrition services program.

National School Lunch Week ran this year from October 12-19, offering the opportunity to recognize school officials, food service professionals, and others who work to ensure that children are fueled, fit, and ready to learn every day.

ED Staff

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Ready to Learn—National School Lunch Week

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Secretary Arne Duncan and his wife, Karen Duncan, joined members of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and representatives from the D.C. Public Charter School Board and Revolution Foods for a visit to D.C. Prep Edgewood Elementary and Middle School Campuses in northeast Washington, D.C., to commemorate National School Lunch Week.  As part of today’s visit, the Secretary and his wife toured the school, participated in a soccer clinic led by Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, conducted lunchtime readings and led discussions with students.

D.C. Prep offers students healthy meals through the Revolution Foods service and focuses on wellness through activities such as physical education, recess, and field trips to local grocery stores.  Students at the D.C. Prep Edgewood Middle School Campus also boast some of the highest academic achievement in the city.

“Fueled and Fit: Ready to Learn” is a Department-led campaign to highlight the research-based connection between proper physical fitness/nutrition and student achievement. The idea is that healthy and fit bodies equal active and creative minds. Department officials will be visiting schools throughout the next six weeks highlighting the importance of wellness and fitness.

ED Staff

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