Claycomb Associates, Architects

When was the last time you heard a group of kids enthusiastically shout, “Cabbage!” For me, it was last week, at our regular staff volunteer day at the Central Texas Food Bank. Through an affiliation between L’Oca D’Oro and MealshareUSA, we packed bags of raw ingredients for stew — cabbage, potatoes and carrots — to be delivered to kitchens across the region. Our most productive helpers were a group of third-graders from St. Andrew’s Elementary and a special-needs class from Bowie High School. view article arw

Cy-Fair ISD’s nutrition services department has announced its summer 2018 schedule for Seamless Summer Option meals. Children 18 years old and younger will have access to healthy breakfasts and lunches at no cost. SSO is a U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition program administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture for children who rely on school meals during the academic year. “The SSO program is a great way for us to provide access to meals for our students during the summer months,” CFISD Nutrition Services Director Darin Crawford said. “Kids need good nutrition to fuel their summer activities, and we are thrilled to be able to continue to offer school meals during the long summer break.” view article arw

Eager second-graders at Hettie Halstead Elementary School were armed with their watering cans, dirt clods, pots of recycled material, and vegetable seeds as the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus kicked of its Let’s Get Growing program, teaching the 70 youngsters not only about healthy eating habits but also how to grow their own vegetables at home. H-E-B provided all the materials for the educational activity, which was piloted at Halstead. The students reviewed the importance of a balanced diet covering vitamins A, B, C, and D and the foods that provide these necessary nutrients. Students were also provided a take-home bag of fruit, including an orange, banana and an apple. view article arw

The reality, former Cleburne ISD Principal Ben Oefinger said, is that many Cleburne residents well off, or at least getting by, remain unaware of the food challenges many Cleburne students face daily. To that end, Oefinger discussed the Snack Sack program during Friday’s monthly meeting of Pinnacle Club 50. The club consists of Cleburne and Johnson County businessmen and women and other community leaders who gather monthly for fellowship and updates on community happenings. view article arw

Do you think you could choose the best taco out of 88 different recipes? That's the challenge for the judges at the Austin ISD Ultimate Taco Challenge, with each recipe prepared by middle school students. In 2018, 340 students were broken into teams and created 88 different taco recipes. Judges at each school picked their favorite, and six finalist teams will go head-to-head to win the ultimate AISD taco award. view article arw

Grape Creek ISD will host a summer food service program that will offer breakfast and lunch May 29-June 28. Both meals are free for anyone age 1-18. Cost for adults is $1.50 for breakfast and $3.15 for lunch. No pre-registration, proof of income or lunch ticket is required. Breakfast will be served 7:15-8 a.m. and lunch from 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Grape Creek Elementary and middle school cafeteria, 9633 Grape Creek Road, Monday through Thursday each week. view article arw

This summer, Petersburg ISD will connect children 18 years old and younger with healthy Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) meals at no cost to the child. SFSP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition program administered in the Lone Star State by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). For the children who rely on school meals during the academic year, these meals offer a source of good nutrition when school is out for the long summer vacation. “Petersburg children need good nutrition year-round so they can learn, grow and succeed in life,” said Drew Howard, PISD superintendent. “With nearly 2 million food insecure children living in Texas, these healthy meals are vital to nourishing young Texans during the summer vacation.” view article arw

Fourth-graders wade through rows of zucchini, leaves rising above their knees. They comb through vegetation, searching for squash large enough to pick. Located yards off Expressway 83 in Mercedes, the land behind a warehouse was cleared of brush beginning last summer. About an acre of vegetables -- about 20 varieties, including kale, beans, cauliflower, radishes, corn, and four types of tomatoes -- are in the ground at various stages. Horizon Montessori Public School in Weslaco enlists third- to eighth-graders to plant, harvest and maintain this garden. Veggies end up in the school’s cafeteria. view article arw

In addition to the summer meal program, families and students will have another option to procure food during the summer, thanks to a program offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Elgin ISD is one of two school districts participating in a pilot program, which will connect eligible students to meals throughout the summer months with an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, that operates similar to a debit card. Jennifer Page, coordinator of special programs with the Texas Department of Agriculture, gave a presentation about the program during a school board meeting on May 16. The summer electronic benefits transfer card is a federally funded program to help stretch family food budgets during summer months when children have no access or limited access to healthy school meals. view article arw

There has been a gradual shift in a student group that now makes up the majority of our K-12 public school students in America as well as in Texas. And we're not talking about race or ethnicity.  Students who are economically disadvantaged now represent 51 percent of students nationally and 60 percent of public school students in Texas.  The reason this number is important is that we are struggling to get the same educational outcomes for most of our low income students, in suburban and urban districts alike, as their non-economically disadvantaged peers. view article arw

Children need a level of care that ensures their development is on the right track. While their parents are at work, young children are often placed in the loving arms of the teachers at childcare centers, where they have the opportunity to build social, emotional, and motor skills. The Head Start program was created over 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson, to ensure low-income families would be able to utilize a program that helps meet children's educational, developmental, and emotional needs free of financial worries. The Burnet Head Start, which traces its ties to Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties, has made it their mission to help children and their parents navigate their way through the important stages of life. view article arw

Students at Ector County ISD still have time to participate in the Cans for Kids food drive.  view article arw

Several photographs taken behind the scenes at a Dallas Independent School District food service facility show several pallets of food items, stacked high with dozens of cases that represent thousands of dollars of wasted food being thrown in the garbage. But the district says there is minimal food waste and they hope to donate to local nonprofits soon. view article arw

Several photographs taken behind the scenes at a Dallas Independent School District food service facility show several pallets of food items, stacked high with dozens of cases that represent thousands of dollars of wasted food being thrown in the garbage. But the district says there is minimal food waste and they hope to donate to local nonprofits soon. view article arw

A pilot program at Socorro Independent School District gives students a free meal before heading home. The project, which started in September, is funded by USDA and is taking places at several schools within the district. According to a spokesperson with SISD, the schools have served more than 110,000 meals since they started last summer.    view article arw

Starting next school year, San Marcos CISD will be offering qualifying students free meals without requiring parents to fill out an application to see if they qualify.  On Monday, trustees voted to approve the Community Eligibility Provision program, a federally-funded free breakfast and lunch program for school districts in low-income areas.  One benefit of the CEP, according to Director of Child Nutrition Services Mike Boone, is that it does not require a household application to determine whether a student can receive a free or reduced lunch. Instead, it automatically gathers data on families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, or Medicaid, as well as students who are identified as homeless, runaway, or migrant or are in the foster care system. view article arw

Hays CISD parents may see another price increase as the the Hays CISD board of trustees considers raising the price of a cafeteria lunch meal by 10 cents. During Monday’s trustee meeting, Chief Financial Officer Annette Folmar said to receive federally funded free and reduced lunches, the district must increase meal prices if the price charged for the meal is less than the difference between the price paid per meal by federal government rates for free and paid meals. view article arw

To give students another fun option for lunch, Leander Independent School District rolled out a food trailer that travels among the campuses. The trailer started serving up meals April 10, kicking off with fresh grilled bacon cheeseburgers at Glenn High School. The trailer stays put at high schools in the district for a set period of time and then moves on to others. It'll be at Glenn High School for another week, before heading to Rouse High School. view article arw

Don’t skip the most important meal of the day  Breakfast is very important Nutritionists suggest high-protein foods like lean meat, eggs, low-sugar yogurt, slow-releasing energy carbs like oats and quinoa and healthy fats like nuts.  view article arw

Joel Philistin, a financial coach at Houston Community College, has had students come to his office hungry. Not on-a-diet hungry, or only-eating-ramen-noodles hungry. But so hungry they can’t concentrate in class. Hungry enough that Philistin, whose job is somewhere between a financial literacy coach and a social worker, will peel bills out of his own wallet and tell the student to go buy a meal. “I experienced this in college,” Philistin said, “but not to this extent.” view article arw

North Texas school districts are responsible for feeding hundreds of thousands of students every day, but sometimes the cafeteria may miss the mark. Frustrated Everman High School parent Rachel Polk reached out to NBC 5 with concerns about a number of school lunches at the school. “These are high school kids that receive this crap for lunch and they are NOT allowed to leave campus for lunch,” Polk said. view article arw

It is tough enough being the new kid on campus, but imagine your first day in a new school and you find out some life-altering news. That was the reality for the Miller family and their son. Dallas Miller and his family just recently moved from Nebraska to the High Plains. He started going to Claude High School as a transfer student but has only been to class once.  view article arw

David Prince begrudgingly removed his apron and chef’s hat, sighing as he prepared to return to class. “That was super fun,” he exclaimed. view article arw

The Midland Independent School District school board met for their monthly meeting on March 26 with some important items on the agenda. These items included discussing more on the possibility of modifying school boundaries for some secondary schools. view article arw

A new nonprofit is hoping to double participation rates in the free breakfast program by urging schools to offer the meal after school starts and not just before the first bell rings, The Salt Lake Tribune reported . Only about four out of 10 low-income Utah students eat the free breakfasts offered at public schools, the lowest rate in the country. Utah schools are leaving untouched more than $13 million in allocated federal funding for subsidized meals, Marti Woolford estimates. Woolford's nonprofit, Utahns Against Hunger, hopes to raise the state's participation rate to 70 percent, a difference of about 45,000 children. view article arw

Seven fifth-graders. Four types of chicken. One well-received doughnut. No, it's not a setup to a joke. It's how a lucky group of Stephens Elementary School students spent their Friday afternoon. The kids were recruited to taste-test new food items that Denton ISD plans to implement into next year's breakfast and lunch menus. Representatives from the district's child nutrition department and food distributors were on hand to gauge the kids' reactions, which ranged anywhere from a thumbs-up to a gap-toothed grin. view article arw

4.3 million Texans are food insecure, including 1 in 4 children, but there is progress. The Texas Hunger Initiative released a report card on school breakfast in our state, revealing more students have received the most important meal of the day. It states Texas is ranked 10th of of the country in participation. Andy black with the Texas Hunger Initiative credits the legislature. In 2013, lawmakers passed SB 376. It requires any school to provide free breakfast if 80 percent of it's students qualify for free or reduced meals. view article arw

In hopes of encouraging more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available for school breakfast, San Benito schools recently celebrated National School Breakfast Week. This year’s National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “Dive into a Healthy Breakfast,” reminds the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy and energizing start to the day for students. view article arw

Texas has become a national leader in school breakfast participation, moving up to 10th in the state rankings, thanks in part to the passage in 2013 of Texas Senate Bill 376—the “Universal Breakfast Bill.” That’s one finding from the Texas School Breakfast Report Card produced by Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative. view article arw

Providing students with a nutritious lunch is something school districts strive to do. One national department wants to give districts the ability to provide those meals easier.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced new efforts to provide states and school districts with additional flexibility and support to operate more efficient school meal programs. Several local school district officials said the program could be beneficial for them.  view article arw

There is a fresh reminder, today, that hunger never takes a holiday. Although DISD is on spring break this week, staffers will provide activities and free, hot meals through Thursday at 25 schools around the district. The reason is both obvious and perhaps hard to hear. view article arw

Northside ISD is offering free breakfast and lunch to its area students over Spring Break. The Spring Break Feeding Program, one of only a handful of its kind, will help to address children's nutritional needs by opening two campus cafeterias during Spring Break March 12-16, a press release said. view article arw

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recognized Magnolia ISD with a Best of the Bunch Award for its achievement in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) 2017 Local Products Challenge. Every October, the Local Products Challenge encourages school nutrition teams to incorporate more Texas products into the meals and teach children about healthy lifestyles and Texas agriculture. Magnolia ISD earned the award by meeting the highest standards of the challenge. “Schools in the Local Products Challenge demonstrate a real commitment to combining nutrition education with support for their local economies and Texas’ bountiful agriculture industry,” Commissioner Miller said.  view article arw

Rockwall ISD’s Board of Trustees announced a new Parent Leadership Academy, set to begin next week, and approved large-scale improvements to wireless networks at the middle and elementary schools at Monday night’s regular monthly board meeting, among other items. Superintendent John “J.J.” Villarreal announced the new academy, one of the results of Rockwall ISD’s ongoing strategic planning efforts. view article arw

The Houston Independent School District announced on Wednesday that it had received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture to waive the required application process for the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program. "All HISD students will eat all school meals for free during the 2017-2018 school year," the district said in a release Wednesday morning. Families still need to apply for this waiver though. view article arw