When non-instructional departments in a school district improve service excellence, instructional and learning gains are positively impacted. Here’s an example based on a Child Nutrition Services department spurred by one of our partner school districts, Tarrant City Schools (AL).
Research suggests that students who eat school breakfast attend on average more days of schools, achieve higher proficiency in mathematics, and are more likely to persist to graduation (No Kid Hungry); in addition, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) highlights the connection in this infographic:
In Spring 2012, Tarrant City Schools implemented a universal breakfast program and breakfast participation rose across the district. The greatest increase was at Tarrant Elementary School where participation rose from 54% to 95%… Breakfast and lunch (at no cost to all students) was added the next year and the largest increase in lunch participation was at Tarrant High School. In turn, the district saw increases in student achievement.
Spurred on by the words of First Lady Michelle Obama that, “We can help create a culture – imagine this – where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them,” Tarrant City Schools’ Child Nutrition Program invited students to be part of Keep Calm and Live Healthy. Check out their story:
The district’s success of increasing breakfast and lunch participation among students across all grade-levels was recently recognized by the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) as one of the Best Practices and Innovations in the non-instructional departments of K12 public schools. Their video—their story—will be shown and celebrated at the AASB luncheon next month. Join us in congratulating the district, its leaders, teachers, staff and students on this recognition!
As district, department, and school leaders we are challenged to think about the way we define and commit to strategic actions. This means whether we’re leaders of a school or leaders of facilities, bus transportation, or child nutrition services, our school/department goals align to our district’s goal of “increasing student achievement.” Tarrant’s “Keep Calm and Live Healthy” strategic action was created in an environment where leaders, teachers and students own it and live it. It serves as a perfect reminder that non-instructional departments make a difference in the lives of students and in student learning.
Special thanks to Dr. Shelly Mize, Superintendent of Tarrant City Schools, Tarrant, Alabama, for providing the link to their winning video! Dr. Mize is committed to providing students with healthy food choices, a high-quality education, and skills to be successful in college and/or a career. Read more about how Tarrant City Schools prepares students for “learning, service, and success” on the district’s website.
Augustine-Thottungal, R., Kern, J., Key, J., and Sherman, B. Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis. No Kid Hungry: Center for Best Practices. Accessed online here.
Infographic provided by Food Research and Action Center here. Follow them on Twitter at @fractweets.
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