Kelso Sch. Dist.
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Chicken quinoa bowl
Chicken quinoa bowl
Kelso School District Prioritizes Student Health With Changes to School Meals (Photo) - 04/19/24

Photo/Video Opp:  Media is invited to come to Kelso High on May 3 (National School Lunch Hero Day) and talk to students about that day’s lunch offering: free-roaming bison and lentil chili with cornbread. 

 

Over the last couple of years, Kelso School District Nutrition Services Supervisor and Registered Dietitian Kaydee Harris has been making small changes to the district’s meal program aiming for big impact ins student health.

RECENT UPGRADES INCLUDE:

  • Unlimited fruits and vegetables at EVERY school. Students are offered a rotating variety of fruits and vegetables (seasonal and non-seasonal) at lunch every day. Options include: fresh strawberries, grapes, melons, local apples of different varieties, pineapple, etc. Veggies include: cucumbers, jicama, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, green salad mix, mini peppers, etc. In addition to fresh raw veggies and fruits, items include fresh roasted green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and more. 
  • Minimally processed foods and upgraded ingredients. We are increasing the number of scratch-made menu items, which includes bean burritos, bison meatloaf, baked chicken breast, salmon bowls, quinoa, pastas, sauces, and soups. The nutritional value of our meals is continually analyzed, leading to upgrades in ingredients. For example, the district has swapped out highly-processed, high-sodium American cheese for healthier cheddar, provolone, feta, etc. 
  • Locally sourced foods. Our Nutrition Services team has been working hard this year to increase locally sourced items like bison, salmon, beef, and raspberries through the Local Food for Schools program. They continue to source rolls locally from Kalama Sourdough for all of our menus, and have spent over $30K on locally sourced produce through the Department of Defense Fresh program. 

 

KELSO SCHOOL MEALS FUN FACTS

  • Cooking kitchens at every school. Not every school district has cooking kitchens at every school. Many outsource meals or have one cook site and shuttle meals to school sites. In Kelso, food is made fresh every day on every school site.
  • KSD Test Kitchen. A lot of recipe testing happens every summer. Summer school students and staff get to sample new items and give feedback. Often, new menu items are launched at one school first, then rolled out to other schools after collecting feedback from students. There is also a yearly recipe competition between elementary school Nutrition Services staff during school conferences. The staff is given a challenge menu item, nutrition parameters, and a host of possible ingredients to make the item. Winning recipes get added to the menu cycle. This year’s challenge was a scratch-made bean and cheese burrito, which will rolled out district-wide April 17.
  • Variety is the spice of life. To keep up with current student preferences and food trends, every year new menus, in six-week cycles, are created. Interesting menu items this year include: teriyaki salmon bowl, bison meatloaf, quinoa bowls, chicken alfredo, roasted parmesan broccoli, roasted asparagus, BBQ chicken spread, chicken parmesan, chicken and waffles, and more.
  • We’re doing something right. We actively solicit feedback by fostering conversations with students in our cafeterias. We even look through garbage cans to see what gets thrown away. All this student feedback is collected after each new menu item and we make adjustments as needed. We know we’re doing something right because our meal service has increased:
    • 24% increase in total lunches served in the last 3 years, 105% increase in breakfast
    • 750,000 meals were served in 2022-23 
    • 1 Million meals are projected for this year (2023-24) 
  • ALL students eat free. Due to Kelso’s percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals, we’re able to offer ALL students free meals through the Community Eligibility Provision. 

 

IMPORTANCE OF SCHOOL MEALS 

  • Children participating in school meals are less likely to have nutrient inadequacies and are more likely to consume fruit, vegetables, and milk at breakfast and lunch.*
  • Low-income students who eat both school breakfast and lunch have significantly better overall diet quality than low-income students who do not eat school meals.*
  • Packed lunches brought from home by pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students have more calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugar than school lunches, and less protein, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium, according to a study conducted after implementation of the new school meal nutrition standards.*
  • Receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces poor health by at least 29 percent based on estimates using national data.*
  • Based on national data, economists estimate that the receipt of a free or reduced-price school lunch reduces obesity rates by at least 17 percent.*

*Source: Food Research & Action Center https://frac.org/programs/national-school-lunch-program/benefits-school-lunch#:~:text=School%20lunch%20is%20critical%20to,obesity%20rates%2C%20and%20poor%20health

 

About Kelso School District
Kelso School District has a goal of 100% (bit.ly/ksd-100) of students graduating high school and having post-secondary plans for college, career, trades, or military. Our mission is to prepare every student for living, learning, and achieving success as a citizen of our changing world.  When we asked students and staff what makes Kelso strong, with 45 voices, there was one clear answer (bit.ly/ksd-strong).

Kelso and Longview Art Students Showcase Their Work at the 2024 Celebration of the Arts - 04/16/24

For over 50 years, Kelso and Longview secondary art students have come together to showcase their works of art. Students’ paintings, drawings, pastels, sculptures, ceramics, and photography will be on display in the 2024 Celebration of the Arts, held at Cowlitz County Event Center next week.

With three high schools and five middle schools participating, the number of art pieces is substantial. There will be close to 200 pieces from Kelso High School, alone. The event is free and open to the public.

2024 Celebration of the Arts

Cowlitz County Event Center

  • Artists & Teachers Reception Monday, April 22, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Exhibit open for viewing: 
    • Tuesday & Wednesday, April 23 & 24, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
    • Thursday, April 25, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

While the show is more an exhibit than a sale, if interested in possibly buying a work of art, patrons can express their interest by filling out a compliment card and including their email. Students may or may not be willing to sell their work.

 

About Kelso School District
Kelso School District has a goal of 100% (bit.ly/ksd-100) of students graduating high school and having post-secondary plans for college, career, trades, or military. Our mission is to prepare every student for living, learning, and achieving success as a citizen of our changing world.

The Arts in Kelso School District
Kelso School District has a wide variety of visual and performing arts options for students.  Our robust program gives students a pathway for personal expression while providing them with lifelong skills and the opportunity to share their talents with their communities through performance and competition.

Kelso Community Invited to Instructional Materials Open House - 04/12/24

Kelso School District invites the Kelso community to preview the proposed high school social studies materials for adoption during a two-week-long open house at the Ruth E. Clark Instructional Services Building.

The district encourages community members to leave their feedback regarding the materials once they have been reviewed. The building will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from April 15-26, 2024.

The Ruth E. Clark Instructional Services Building is located at 601 Crawford St. in Kelso.

Kindergarten Registration is Open in Kelso - 04/10/24

Kindergarten registration is open in Kelso for children who will be five years old by August 31, 2024.  There are two ways to register:

  1. Fill out a paper packet. Enrollment packets may be picked up at any elementary school or downloaded from the Kelso School District (KSD) website at bit.ly/enrollatksd.
  2. Enroll online at bit.ly/enrollatksd

To determine which school children should attend, families can enter their address at bit.ly/school-site. Documents needed for enrollment include: birth certificate, proof of residency, and immunization records.

 

Applications opened on March 1 for Transition to Kindergarten (TK) and Preschool Pups. These programs serve early learners ages 3 to 4.  

 

TRANSITION TO KINDERGARTEN (TK)

Transition to Kindergarten (TK) is a FREE pre-kindergarten program for children who will be four years old by August 31, 2024, and would benefit from additional preparation to be successful in kindergarten the following year. Classrooms are staffed by certificated teachers and paraeducators.

  • Full day, five days a week, starting September 3, 2024
  • Access to transportation (for those not in identified walking boundaries), specialists, recess, lunch, and all aspects of the kindergarten school day 
  • To the greatest extent possible, students will be placed for TK at their home school

Families can learn more at bit.ly/ksd-early and can apply for the program online at bit.ly/tk24-25app.

 

PRESCHOOL PUPS

Preschool Pups is a FREE, inclusive preschool program comprised of typically-developing children who play and learn alongside children with disabilities. This program is housed at Catlin site and open to all Kelso families.

  • Open to three- and four-year-olds, must turn three by August 31, 2024
  • Morning and afternoon sessions, four half-days a week, starting September 3, 2024
  • Morning session provides breakfast; afternoon session provides lunch

Families can learn more at bit.ly/ksd-early and can apply for the program online at bit.ly/pups24-25app.

 

Not sure which program is right for your child? For a detailed comparison between TK, Preschool Pups, and Head Start—including program staffing, calendars, and qualifications—visit bit.ly/ksd-early or click here for the document in English, and here for it in Spanish

 

KINDERPALOOZA
Kinderpalooza, a fun event for Kelso kindergartners, early learners, and their families, is Tuesday, May 7, at Coweeman Middle School (2000 Allen St, Kelso) from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm. At this event you can:

  • Register for school if needed (even if you’ve already registered, please come) 
  • Meet Kelso staff 
  • Board and ride a school bus 
  • Learn about summer learning activities in our community 
  • Get information about the breakfast and lunch program 
  • Learn how to become a parent volunteer 
  • Talk to a school nurse about medications and immunizations 
  • Take a picture at the Class of 2037 photo booth 
  • Enjoy some snacks 
  • AND MORE!!!!

For additional information or questions, families can contact their school office or email early.learning@kelsosd.org

 

 

About Kelso School District

Kelso School District has a goal of 100% (bit.ly/ksd-100) of students graduating high school and having post-secondary plans for college, career, trades, or military. Our mission is to prepare every student for living, learning, and achieving success as a citizen of our changing world.  When we asked students and staff what makes Kelso strong, with 45 voices, there was one clear answer (bit.ly/ksd-strong).