Archived Story

Middle grade students pick bills [UPDATED]

Published 10:25am Thursday, March 13, 2014 Updated 12:26pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

Each year, Gary Hoffbeck’s eighth-grade social studies class debate bills that would improve their lives in the Middle School.

It is always fun to see what is important to them — so here are their top vote getting bills:

• 96 percent — Two study halls per week

• 95 percent — A reward hour once a month for games, movies, naps, etc.

• 94 percent — Phone charger outlets in student lockers

• 93 percent — Add Taco Johns, Pizza Hut, Subway to our noon-hour meal choices

• 93 percent — Tablet notebooks

• 88 percent — More clocks in the hallway

• 86 percent — Using cell phones between classes

• 86 percent — A surprise perk for students on Mondays

• 86 percent — 10 minutes longer lunch by cutting 10 minutes from periods 7 and 8

• 86 percent — Swimming as an optional phy. ed. class

• 81 percent — Gatorade fountain available

• 80 percent — Choice of hangout places during lunch


Eagle Scout project finished

Thank you to Mike Mortenson — an 11th-grader and a member of the boys swim team — for completing the installation of new benches in the pool gallery as his Eagle Scout project.

The original benches were made of wood and had developed numerous cracks. Mike replaced the wood with the same plastic material we have used in the KSS student commons, locker rooms and teacher desktops. Mike did an amazing job.


Fuel Up to Play 60 healthy snack challenge working

The Kennedy Secondary School allows students to bring in a snack to their second period class. And, our recently updated wellness policy asks staff to foster and encourage healthy eating.

Linda Bowhall, Middle School family and consumer science (FACS) teacher, Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) program advisor, and school wellness committee member, noticed that her students often bought unhealthy snacks.

Recalling the school wellness policy, the lessons learned from partnering with PartnerSHIP 4 Health, and the fact that healthy kids make better learners, Bowhall decided to encourage students to consider bringing and eating healthy snacks.

So she began giving fun stickers to students who brought healthy snacks. The stickers worked their magic and soon students were bringing bananas, apples, grapes, yogurt and bags of mini carrots to class.

Bowhall decided to up the challenge by introducing her students to Fooducate (, a website that grades foods and beverages on a scale from A to D. Fooducate’s algorithm is based on information that is publicly available on a product’s package: the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list. The product is simply scanned in order to receive instant feedback on the nutritional content.

When asked by Bowhall how Fooducate and the discussions in FACS class had impacted their snacking behavior, it was clear that these students are now on the road to healthier food choices:

• “It has educated me on how many ingredients are in the food along with what they are. Some are as simple as carrots and some so complex.” — Rachel

• “It has changed how I eat, like less processed foods.” — Olivia

• “Now I think a bit better about foods and I am more careful on what I eat.” — Rylan

• “It helps me choose the right food to eat.” — Brenna

And that is not the end of the story. Bowhall and her students have decided to take this healthy snack challenge school-wide, and are encouraging students and teachers to submit photos of students with healthy snacks to the “Healthy Snacks Hall of Fame” on the school website … because healthy snacks lead to healthy students, and healthy students make better learners.

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