When I eat lunch at a school, I try to choose the healthiest option that is reimbursable through the National School Lunch Program.
Scuola Vita Nuova, a charter school in the Northeast neighborhood of KCMO, has a very high participation in the free/reduced lunch program. Principal Nicole King works closely with her cafeteria team to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and to reduce the amount of food kids throw away. She is a great example of just how much influence a principal can have over school meals.
There was one choice on the lunch menu: broccoli soup with a side salad, fresh orange wedges, tortilla chips and a cookie. The soup tasted great, though I gave my orange and cookie to a 5th grade boy at my table who didn’t eat the soup because of the milk in it. I don’t get to spend much time with 5th graders, but this one really impressed me. I asked about his family — they are from Mexico, he asked what I was doing there and seemed very interested when I told him I was writing a story about his school.
It’s a pretty amazing place. Ms. King takes advantage of every opportunity to enrich students’ lives. Grants and partnerships with local agencies have helped provide for school gardens, growing labs, and a program called the Kindergarten Farm Food Initiative, which includes locally grown snacks, farm field trips and farmer visits for the kindergartners.
Monday March 2, 2009