South Kitsap School District ready to serve summer lunches

It is an inclusive event.

That is the message South Kitsap School District Assistant Superintendent Dave Colombini wants parents to understand about the summer-lunch program.

The lunch portion of the program, which began Monday and continues through Aug. 15, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during weekdays at East Port Orchard and Orchard Heights elementary schools and at South Kitsap High School.

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, while SKHS qualified as because it is the only high school in the district. She expects 150 to 200 lunches to be served daily at each site.

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

Shanley said the district served 12,468 lunches last year.

Through community partnerships, Shanley said sack lunches also will be provided at two other locations this year. Each Wednesday, the Port Orchard Library will provide lunches from 11:30-11:45 a.m. at the Port Orchard Marina’s gazebo through Aug. 13. The other will be run by the Boy Scouts from 12:15-12:30 p.m. July 14-23 at Van Zee Park.

The Summer Lunch Program was implemented five years ago. Late deputy superintendent Kurt Wagner said at the time that elementary-school students 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. Former 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, Colombini said that also is open to anyone 18 years old and younger. Instructors have taught subjects ranging from reading to robotics during those sessions.

“Anyone that has a gift or talent that just wants to be with kids, share and get them involved ... is what we really like to see,” Colombini said.

• Sidney Glen Elementary School, which has participated in the summer-lunch program each year since its inception in SKSD, will not partake this summer because its roof is being replaced, Colombini said.


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