Everyone knows the importance of a good breakfast. Bottom line, students who are “fueled up” with a nutritious meal are increasing the chances that their mental and physical stamina is up to par for a great day at school.
The Learning Center! Charter School joins more than 18,000 schools across the nation with assistance from a federal program called, Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP allows schools in low-income areas to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students while eliminating the traditional school meal application process.
Authorized as a part of Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, CEP eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meal programs and reduces the potential stigma associated with free meals. No household application means less paperwork for parents, and no worries about lunch accounts.
“For the school it means reduced paperwork and administrative costs,” said Susan Blomeley, Nutrition Director at The Learning Center. “There is no need to track unpaid meal charges and more nourished students are ready to learn and grow.”
The Learning Center’s Early Bird Breakfast Club was created in an effort to give every opportunity for all students to eat a healthy breakfast. Since early 2000, The Learning Center! Charter School has offered a Universal Breakfast where all students eat for free. The big news this year is that all students will now get a free lunch in addition to the free breakfast. The school will not take free and reduced applications this year, as all students will eat free.
In December 2014, our school was awarded the Silver Award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their HealthierUS School Challenge. The Learning Center Charter School is the only charter school in North Carolina to earn this prestigious recognition to date.
The HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC: SL) is a certification initiative that recognizes schools for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices and being physically active, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies. It supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign by recognizing schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the initiative encourages all schools take a leadership role in helping students to make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime.
To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services. The HUSSC criteria reflect the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations (April 2007) for foods that should be served outside of the organized school meals program. HealthierUS Schools must meet additional criteria demonstrating its commitment to a healthy school environment, as well as implement a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress. Schools receiving a HUSSC award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four year certification period.
Beginning on March 19, the next half day for students, our school nutrition program will begin offering healthy, bagged lunches to go on half days. On half days, students will have the option of ordering their bagged lunch at morning check- in, just like on full school days.
The bagged lunches will meet the same high standards for nutrition as our full day lunches but with take-away convenience. The paid price is the same, and the student’s free/reduced status applies as well. Menus for the bagged lunches can be found on the monthly menu posted on the website.
Grab-and-Go lunches for grades 2-8 will be picked up in the Dining Commons just prior to pick up. K-1 lunches will be brought to their classrooms, as usual.
We hope you find our new Grab-and-Go lunches a helpful and healthful option.