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HCPSS Earns A+ on 2016 Healthy School Food Maryland Report

December 22nd, 2016

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) received an “A+” and was the only Maryland school system to earn an “A” on the 2016 School Food Environment Grades report from Healthy School Food Maryland.

“HCPSS has been intentional about offering healthier food choices that students want to eat,” said HCPSS Superintendent Renee A. Foose. “With the help of a Horizon Foundation grant, HCPSS was able to add fresh fruit and salad bars in some of our schools. We have taste-tested several healthy menu options with students, and the school system continues to test and change its menus, which has resulted in an increase in student participation in school meals.”

Healthy School Food Maryland is a coalition of organizations and individuals in Maryland working for whole, real, local and safe foods for children in Maryland school cafeterias. The 2016 School Food Environment Grades is a report card on the state of school food in each Maryland public school district.

Healthy School Food Maryland released their first edition of the ratings this month. Grades are calculated using a rubric of 12 items that address school food and student wellness, such as reducing sugar; access to potable water; use of local produce and farm-to-school programs; salad bars; use of artificial colors, flavors and other chemical additives; scratch cooking; variety and repetition of meals; healthier vending options; transparency; wellness committees; and policies on junk food marketing. Other items considered include district wellness policies and committees, transparency, and policies on junk food marketing.

District grades were informed through communication with food service employees and members of school health and wellness committees in every Maryland school district, information provided by parents, USDA census information, and other sources.

The full grade report is available online. To learn more about HCPSS school meal programs and the school system’s commitment to student well being, visit