The Lonoke Public School District began implementing the Breakfast in the Classroom concept at the middle school building in February. Students are able to grab a convenient, but healthy breakfast after school has started in case the early morning breakfast or breakfast at home doesn’t work for them. Eating breakfast has been research-proven to reduce absenteeism, behavior concerns, nurse visits and to improve academic test scores in students.
The district wrote a grant for $4,400.00 to implement this initiative. Breakfast numbers have doubled since beginning the program. The high school has begun the combo meals to provide more variety in the cafeteria for the older students. Combo meals are alternative meals from which to select if a student chooses to not eat the tray lunch. Combo meals are allowed in the cafeteria due to being able to have a sixth meal choice for this age group of students. Every day, five meal components that are required are offered to the students.
This year, the food service department has undergone several new changes across the state of Arkansas because of the Healthy Kid Act of 2010. Each meal for lunch must include a fruit and a vegetable choice for students. Fried foods are limited to students. Serving amounts are also regulated by the child nutrition guidelines. Students in primary and elementary receive a plate lunch with no less than five complete components. Students in middle school and high school have choices. This is called offer versus serve option. Every day, five meal components that are required are offered to the students. The students are only required to select three complete components of the required five. Due to the new meal pattern, the combo meal selection must include a vegetable. We are seeking new healthy offerings to provide to students with our combo meal selections. Please encourage your child to take part in the fresh fruit and vegetable offerings that they are allowed to receive at this level.
The District Student Leadership Team members have reviewed the requirements and have developed some menus for review. Surveys are being created for students and staff members to also review requirements and create sample menus. We are in hopes to increase student and adult participation in our cafeterias along with striving to provide everyone with healthy meal choices. Students at the elementary level will be participating in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable snack grant, if awarded, next school year. This initiative provides fresh fruit and vegetables to these students in order for them to receive a healthy snack. This snack will be in addition to their breakfast and lunch, not in place of it.
We are trying hard to reduce student meal charges in our cafeteria. Please check with your child or grandchild or contact the food service department to ensure that your child is current on his/her meal status if payment is due on a regular basis. Letters from the Office of the Superintendent will be sent to those households that owe the school district funds and have not made an effort through the food service program to pay the owed meal charges.
When meal charges are not paid, the district must cover these costs, and this matter decreases the total district funds for other areas of need for our students. Please help us to keep meal charges to a minimum. If you have questions or comments regarding our food service program, initiatives, requirements, etc., please contact Mrs. Sue Roedel, Food Service Director, at 501-676-7020.