Screen grab from an MCPS video on its food services division. Credit: VIA MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Montgomery County Public Schools earned a middling grade this week on a report card evaluating the food served in its cafeterias in 2017.

A nonprofit and business coalition, Healthy School Food Maryland, awarded grades to all 24 school districts in Maryland, and overall, the scores increased by 56 points compared to last year. Earning an A+, Howard County Public Schools posted the highest marks for serving whole, fresh, local and safe food. MCPS came in 10th place with a grade of C+, according to the press release.

This is the second year the 19-group coalition has released the School Food Environment Grades, which considers a school system’s level of transparency about its cafeteria food, availability of water, scratch cooking programs, menu variety, food sugar levels and farm-to-school programs, among other factors. The report praises MCPS for prohibiting artificial colors and other chemical additives in food and for preparing at least 40 percent of its meals from scratch. The school system received lower scores in the categories of general transparency and providing salad bars.

The school systems were awarded points in each of 12 categories and then graded based on how close they came to Howard County, which set the curve as the highest-scoring district.

MCPS performed better on this year’s score card than on last year’s, when it earned a C grade and came in 14th place overall.

This article was corrected to state that scores overall increased by 56 points.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at