Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recipe for Success Teacher of the Year

A schoolyard garden and kitchen curriculum at Westwood Elementary School have earned Olga Miles the Golden Whisk Teacher of the Year Award from a Houston-based foundation that aims to improve childhood nutrition and combat youth obesity.

Olga has been selected for the Golden Whisk Award by the Recipe for Success Foundation as a shining example of an instructor with the Houston group’s trademarked Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education program.

At Westwood Elementary last year, students planted and grew green, leafy lettuce, carrots, red tomatoes, beans and big cantaloupe in a school garden. They later learned how to cook and eat the healthy vegetables that they grew with guidance and instruction from teachers.

Working with third-grade teacher Lisa Calloway, Olga introduced the Seed-to-Plate program to r third- and fourth-grade students at Westwood last year. She will be honored during a luncheon at the River Oaks Country Club on Nov. 19. Event tickets are still available.

“Olga has gone above and beyond to make the Recipe for Success Affiliate Partner Program come to life for her students,” says Sarah Tanner, Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education Program coordinator.

“By implementing fun and inspired lessons, tying in literature and science concepts with the culinary and gardening curriculum, and leveraging technology to further engage the kids, Olga has helped Westwood become all that we could hope for in an affiliate partner,” she also said.

Olga’s students used a student-friendly, Facebook-like social media application called Edmodo to document and talk about veggies and good health in online postings as the tiny planted seeds turned into leafy foods.

“The Recipe for Success theory is that if students are growing their own vegetables, they will be more interested in eating vegetables and food that are good for them,” Olga says. As a part of the after-school programs, students gardened one week and then cooked the next, as weather and available produce allowed.

Principal Kay Kennard, Miles and Calloway piloted the program at Westwood with support from ACE Grant Coordinator Dinah Meischen. The Recipe for Success Foundation was established in 2005 by Houston resident and award-winning children’s author Gracie Cavnar.

The foundation seeks to combat youth obesity by changing the way that children view, appreciate and eat food, and mobilize communities to provide children with healthier diets. Cavnar is author of the children’s book, “Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo,” which has won honors and awards in several categories.

Recipe for Success’ curriculum for children ages four through 11 years has been taught so far to 15,000 children. They have grown, cooked and eaten healthful food through school gardens and cooking classes.

The group's annual Blue Plate Special Cafe: A Harvest Market & Awards Luncheon will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at The River Oaks Country Club on Nov. 19. Special rate tickets at $75 per person are available for teachers and students interested in this event. All proceeds benefit the Recipe for Success Foundation.

For details, please visit www.recipe4success.org or call 713-520-0443.


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