- We understand the concerns of parents regarding lunch and recess times. This is an issue we are taking seriously and are working to address.
- A Wellness task force has begun looking into the concerns and issues surrounding lunch times throughout the district. The purpose of this 18-month long task force is to examine nutrition, physical education and physical activity.
- The task force will provide recommendations to the superintendent at the end of this time period.
- Creating daily school schedules has become increasingly complex, due to multiple factors and requirements. This includes:
o State Board of Instruction required educational hours
o Recess times
o Teacher/union contract constraints
o Building capacity
o Length of school day- Schools leaders have reported having at least 20 minute lunches. One main issue being reviewed, is the ‘passing time’ on the way to and from lunch/recess.
I was puzzled because it sounded like there would be a new taskforce and yet Pegi McEvoy, at the last Board meeting, had referenced other taskforces on this issue to the Board. I asked her for clarification (and for her statement to the Board) and she kindly sent it along.
There is one overall committee with 2 subcommittees (each one is “referred to as a Task Force.” ) Sorry if there was confusion.
Ms. McEvoy's statement to the Board:
Thank you, Dr. Nyland. We appreciate the opportunity to share what all is going on with Child Nutrition Services.
As educators, we know that students perform best academically when well-nourished. It is essential that they consume nutritious meals to assist in meeting their physical, social, and emotional needs.
Our Child Nutrition Services provides one of the most celebrated food service programs in the country. They have brought in local Chefs to help bring more diverse and healthy menus to our students based upon the new federal nutrition standards and recently held a food fair right her at JSCEE to gather student input into menu decisions.
We also have some challenges related to ensuring that all our students have the opportunity to eat our meals and for elementary students have adequate recess times. Creating daily school schedules has become increasingly complex, due to multiple factors and requirements. This includes:
o State Board of Education required instructional hours & increasing graduation requirements
o Teacher/union contract constraints
o Increasing numbers of students and our building and lunchroom capacities
o Length of school day for students/staff
To assist with these issues, the district’s School Health Action Committee has formed two Task Forces. One Task Force focuses on nutrition and the other on physical activity. As part of each task force’s work they will be looking at meal service and recess. The Nutrition Task Force report is due out in February 2015. The Physical Activity Task Force report is anticipated the summer of 2015.
(Editor's note - per my remarks above, there is one taskforce with two sub-committees. I believe the name of the taskforce is Physical Activity Taskforce.)
Additionally, the Bell Times Analysis Task Force will be making recommendations regarding arrival times for both elementary and secondary schools by August-September 2015. Their recommendations may also have an impact on this work.
In the meantime, we will continue to review the information provided by parents/community and staff and work with our schools to successfully manage the competing interests of instructional time, meal time and recess.
We hear parent and educators concerns. The structure of the school day is an important ingredient to students’ readiness to learn, and we want this done in the right way.