Regency Acres P.S.
2017-2018 (Year 2)
Regency Acres P.S., Aurora, Ontario – York Region District School Board

Regency Acres is a small school of 320 students. As we approach the end of year 2 of our grant, there is much to celebrate. This past school year, our school offered 20 salad days and served almost 2000 salads! This means approximately 23% of our school ordered salads as a healthy lunch option. Salad days are offered twice per month. Students and parents are super excited to order and cannot wait for the next salad day as each day has a different theme. The most popular salads we offered this year were: “Taco-it-up”, “Greek Chicken Caesar” and “Build a Bagel”.

As for the students, they can’t get enough! Usually the day before salad day, we hear students running to the office to ask “Is tomorrow Salad Day? I’m so excited!”. This program has allowed students the experience of trying out different foods. One Gr. 1 student said “I’ve never had chickpeas! They’re look like green peas, but just yellow”. I think the greatest impact this program has had was the option for parents and students to access healthy foods at a low cost. After filling her student with 13 ingredients, a Gr. 8 student mentioned “Wow, this is a lot of food…. a salad like this would cost over $14 dollars, at least!” At times, we’ve also accessed the help from our Healthy School Student Leadership Team who have helped prepare and call down classes for our school-wide Salad Days events. The older students in the school love to help out on these days and it’s been such a great leadership experience. One of the Gr. 8 student leaders expressed “I’d love to do this idea when I go to high school…I hope they have a program like this”

This program would not be possible without our special program coordinator, Gwen Al-Kas who cooks and prepares each salad day with so much love and attention. The food is always displayed so creatively and every item purchased is carefully sourced and purchased. Our teachers, Heather Deckert and Norma Moffitt are also key planners and promoters of this program. As well, our office staff, Judy Sandiford and Norma Hardisty deserve a mention as they help with marketing flyers to our parent community and set-up the process for parents to pay on-line.

Lastly, this program has allowed our school to build meaningful partnerships with local businesses, farms and community partners. The staff at local grocery stores know us and greet our staff when we visit. A program like this really brings the community together!

2016-2017 (Year 1)
Regency Acres Public School, Aurora, ON

In October 2016, our school, Regency Acres, was pleased to join the national Farm to School movement! This year we  worked really hard to offer 8 delicious Salad Days.  Our goal?  To highlight locally sourced veggies and fruits and get our students excited about eating healthy, locally grown and unprocessed food! This year, approximately 28% of our students ordered salad and each month – that added up to nearly 900 salads.

Our Program Coordinator, Gwen Al-Kas along with our Health Schools teachers, Heather Deckert and Norma Moffitt are the reason for our success. Gwen is the heart of the project. She organized themed Salad Days each month in order to get kids excited (i.e., Cobb Salad, Nacho-it-up Salad, Build-a-Bagel). We also have a team of students who help organize our Salad Days and they have been trained to be great hands on deck helpers. It really takes a team effort to make these days successful.

What makes me smile? The way the whole school is abuzz about salad.  Here are a few of my favourite quotes;

“My students always ask me: when is the next Salad Day? (teacher)
“This is our favourite lunch program offered by the school” (parent)
“I want to eat vegetables all day long…I love the crunchy ones!” (student)

What was a key program highlight this year? A local media source, SNAPd,  highlighted our Farm to School launch.  Not only did city mayor attend our salad bar lunch, many other community organizations participated too. Click here to see more:

What’s on the plate for the 2017/18 year?  We plan to double the pleasure. We are rolling up pur sleeves to offer 20 Salad Days.

Lisa Leoni, Principal
Regency Acres P.S.
Aurora, ON  (York Region District School Board)

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