Here in Washington, D.C., 45,000 children and teens woke up this morning feeling a little bit differently than they had for the previous weeks of summer.  That’s because today is the first day of the 2011-2012 school year for District of Columbia Public Schools.  Beginning today and running through the day after Labor Day, children across the country will partake in the same experience – putting away the summer shorts and t-shirts and replacing them with new school clothes or uniforms, saying goodbye to the public park concession snacks and getting back into the swing of planned lunches (or lunch money), wondering what this year’s teachers will be like or who will be in their classes. It’s an exciting time for students as well as their parents and caregivers.

As America’s students head back to school, we wish them a year filled with new learning experiences in the classroom and beyond.  And we’d also like to remind everyone about our industry’s efforts in schools.  It’s been a year since we released the final report on our national School Beverage Guidelines, and we’re proud to report that the Guidelines are in place and working.  With this national program, we delivered on our commitment to remove full-calorie soft drinks from schools, and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion options.  As a result, we slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004.

Have fun and good luck!