Food and thought at Washington Elementary

       Washington Elementary Principal Terry Martinez has worked with people advocating an area children's museum and has also been “looking for ways to make our meals more healthy,” he said.

Enjoying their daily fruit (bananas this time) at Washington Elementary Jan. 16 are (standing from left) Samantha Cone, Jossibeth Czubik and Edwin Hernandez, and (kneeling from left) D.J. Sandoval, Aaron Schilowsky and Emiliano Duran.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Last week, by coincidence, these efforts simultaneously came to a head - Washington becoming one of two schools in District 11 to be involved in a museum brainstorming session (Audubon Elementary is the other) and and in a grant-financed District 11 program to provide a daily fruit or vegetable to every student for a year (Monroe Elementary is the other).
       Martinez said he was impressed by the ideas brought forward by 15 of his students Jan. 15, when board members of the Pikes Peak Children's Museum came to Washington. They heard such suggestions as a climbing wall, a display showing the inner parts of an iPod and a place to build using foam and sand. The museum leaders had wanted feedback from a “diverse population,” he said. “Our students [coming from a broad ethnic cross-section] provided a different perspective than another school might have.”
       The Pikes Peak Children's Museum board is proposing a museum for children through age 10 that will “foster hands-on discovery learning and creativity,” a press release states. “They have already completed the initial research, a feasibility study and a grassroots seed-money campaign. The next phase of planning will include fundraising and commissioning a master plan. The site for the museum has not yet been identified.”
       The fruit/vegetable arrangement, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, started Jan. 12. Called the “A to Z” service, it allows D-11 Food & Nutrition Services to serve “a fresh fruit or vegetable from every letter of the alphabet at least once during the school year,” a press release states. These will include the likes of apricots, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, cherries and canteloupe, a schedule shows.
       One of the first things Martinez did when he became Washington's principal four years ago was to stop selling things in the lunchroom “that aren't healthy,” he said. Now, a side challenge in the A to Z project is eating technique. “There are kids with no experience in some of the foods,” he said. “For example, how do you eat a kiwi?”

Westside Pioneer article