SKSD’s summer lunch program open to all

Everyone is included.

That is the message South Kitsap School District superintendent Dave LaRose wants parents to understand about the summer-lunch program.

The lunch portion of the program, which began Monday, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during weekdays at East Port Orchard, Orchard Heights and Sidney Glen elementary schools. SKSD director of food and nutritional services Ariane Shanley said those sites were selected because they have the highest levels of students on free- and reduced-price lunch in the district. She said 150 to 200 lunches were served daily at each site.

But that does not mean the lunch portion of the program is limited to low-income students. LaRose said anyone 18 years old or younger is eligible to receive lunch. The program is federally funded.

“If you’re 18 years old or younger, you just walk through the door,” said LaRose, adding that more than 13,000 lunches were served last summer.

The Summer Lunch Program was implemented three years ago. Late deputy superintendent Kurt Wagner said at the time that elementary-school student often viewed summer school as a “punishment.” He said research from numerous studies did not portray a “flattering” picture of traditional summer-school programs for elementary students.

The district now combines lessons with its summer-lunch program. Superintendent Dave LaRose renamed it the Summer Lunch Program in 2010 under his “Whole Child” philosophy. He said the aim of Whole Child is to make each student feel safe, healthy, cared for and supported, engaged and connected, and challenged.

The other portion of the program, which also began Monday, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Similar to the lunch component of the program, LaRose said that also is open to anyone 18 years old and younger. Instructors have taught subjects ranging from reading to robotics during those sessions.

“We’re looking for partners,” LaRose said. “Kids love being around people that love what they’re doing.”


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