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HealthierUS School Challenge Initiative

Information about and instructions how to apply for a HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Award.


The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary certification initiative established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to recognize schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of nutritious meals, physical activity, and nutrition education.

First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign incorporates the HUSSC by acknowledging schools that are actively working to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic. Four levels of superior performance are awarded and the USDA is offering monetary incentives with each level: Bronze ($500), Silver ($1,000), Gold ($1,500), and Gold Award of Distinction ($2,000).

Question and Answer Guidance

The USDA offers HUSSC Frequently Asked Questions External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) for clarification on criteria guidance.

State Agency Contacts for the HUSSC

For questions or to submit a HUSSC application, please contact Elizabeth Moreno, Nutrition Education Consultant, by phone at 916-324-9749 or by e-mail at, or Desiree Rojo, Child Nutrition Consultant, by phone at 916-323-0213 or by e-mail at

How it Works

To receive a HUSSC award a school and/or school district must:

  1. Participate in both the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

  2. Be a Team Nutrition (TN) school, to enroll as a TN school, please visit the USDA Team Nutrition External link opens in new window or tab. Web site

  3. Have and support a Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) as mandated by Section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296

  4. Meet or exceed HUSSC criteria established for:

    • Average Daily Participation (ADP) in the SBP and NSLP (No required ADP for Bronze award level)
    • Nutrition standards for meals
    • Nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages
    • Nutrition education
    • Physical education and activity
    • Other Criteria of Excellence from which schools can select


Take the Challenge

We encourage all California schools to create healthier school environments and then apply for a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold Award of Distinction.

To qualify for an award, a school must submit an application to the California Department of Education (CDE) and meet or exceed criteria set forth by the FNS.

Please refer to the USDA Application Criteria and Guidance External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) for detailed HUSSC criteria listed by category.

Visit the USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Application External link opens in new window or tab. Web page to download the Application for Silver and Bronze or the Application for Gold and Gold Award of Distinction.

Please note: multiple schools in the same district may apply under one district application when all of the following apply:

  • The same menu and foods were served throughout the district
  • The same nutrition education, physical education, and physical activities are provided or offered (according to the grade level)
  • The same competitive foods and beverages were sold throughout the cafeteria and/or school campus
  • Each school must be enrolled as a TN school
  • Each school follows the same district’s LSWP

You can submit your completed application to:

Attention: HealthierUS School Challenge Team
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 4503
Sacramento, CA 95814



Award-winning schools are recognized with a cash award, a framed certificate, an award banner from USDA to showcase their achievement, and an optional local media event! HUSSC schools also receive national recognition by being listed on the TN Web site. Awards are certified for four years from the USDA’s date of approval. If a school has received a lower level award, the school only needs to wait one year to reapply for a higher award.

California HUSSC Awardees

A current listing of California schools that are HUSSC certified is available on the USDA HUSSC, California Award Winners External link opens in new window or tab. Web page.


Sacramento, California on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Redding, California on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Los Angeles, California on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

The address of the training locations will be announced by e-mail. To sign up for e-mail announcements from the Nutrition Services Division, please visit the CDE School Nutrition Programs Mailing List Web page.

Training Registration Instructions

Training registration for school nutrition program sponsors is available at the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Training Registration Web page. Please review the instructions below before starting the registration process.

School Nutrition Program Sponsors Instructions

  1. Obtain your sponsor five-digit CNIPS User ID number or personal CNIPS User ID and password to use for registration.
  2. Visit the CDE CNIPS Training Registration Web page and begin the online registration process.
  3. Enter your sponsor five-digit CNIPS User ID or personal User ID and password.
  4. Select Register for Training or select View Available Training if your agency is currently not an approved sponsor.
  5. Select All on the Program Training Available page.
  6. Select desired course on the Available Training(s) Screen.
  7. Select preferred time and location on the Available Training Locations page.
  8. Enter the attendees contact information on the Attendee Information page.
  9. Print the Training Confirmation before exiting the system (last screen in the online registration process). This is your only record.

Registration Assistance and Cancellation Procedure

If you need assistance with online registration, please contact the CNIPS Help Desk weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by phone at 800-952-5609, Option 6, or by e-mail at

If you are unable to attend, please contact the CNIPS Help Desk by phone at 800-952-5609, Option 6, or by e-mail at to cancel your registration. Please provide your registration confirmation number, if possible, when cancelling your registration.


The USDA offers the following archived Webinars on individual sections of the HUSSC application and application submittal:

HUSSC: Digging Into the Other Criteria for Excellence External link opens in new window or tab. (12/17/13)

Let's Get Active! Nutrition Education, Physical Education, and Physical Activity HUSSC Criteria External link opens in new window or tab. (12/4/13)

HUSSC Meal Criteria: A Closer Look External link opens in new window or tab. (9/23/13)

HUSSC: Reviewing Applications External link opens in new window or tab. (8/29/13)

Applying and Submitting an Application External link opens in new window or tab. (8/8/13)

Please visit the HUSSC Training and Technical Assistance External link opens in new window or tab.  Web page for additional resources.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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The USDA and the CDE are equal opportunity providers and employers.
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