Good news

Volunteers from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey transformed a garden at Dr. Ethel Allen Promise Academy.

— Photo by School District of Philadelphia

Penn donates computers

to Robeson High

Several students and faculty members from Paul Robeson High School traveled to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) recently to pick up a much-needed donation of computer equipment. Penn donated about 90 computers to the West Philadelphia school, mostly Dells and a few Macs, as well as hard drives, monitors and projectors. The new equipment will replace the school’s older fleet of computers, which are running outdated versions of operating systems, like Windows XP, Windows 2000 or open-source freeware.

Big honor

for Lankenau teacher

Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School Social Studies Teacher Herbert Soll was selected to participate in the 2014 Library of Congress Summer Teacher Program. During this week-long Civil Rights Institute, held in Washington, D.C., in July, teachers from across the United States collaborated on the use of primary sources in classrooms and creating activities for instruction. Soll was featured on the CBS3 local news.

Dr. Ethel Allen Promise Academy

transforms garden

Dr. Ethel Allen Promise Academy hosted more than 300 volunteers last month from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s annual Day of Caring. It was geared toward supporting the importance of education, literacy and character building among youth.

Dr. Ethel Allen was transformed to restore an atrium garden that will be utilized as an outdoor classroom and future science, technology, engineering and math garden projects. Hundreds of teacher instructional supplies packages were created, classroom literacy centers and school beautification projects were completed.

Dr. William Hite, superintentdent of the School District of Philadelphia, and Learning Network 4 superintendent John Tupponce were on site to lend a hand at various projects.

All district students

eligible for free school meals

All students in the School District of Philadelphia can receive school breakfast and lunch free of charge.

Paper applications will no longer be needed for students to receive school meals as the district’s Division of Food Services transitions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2014-15 school year. Anticipated benefits include better access to school meals by easing the strain on household budgets, reducing the paperwork burden on families and eliminating the stigma associated with the free lunch program.

“Our goal is to provide as many students as possible with access to healthy, nutritious meals,” said Dr. William R. Hite, superintendent. “We want to keep students’ focus on learning, not hunger.”

Removing the meal application and the need for cash payments will reduce internal administrative costs and reallocate some existing Food Services personnel. The increased efficiencies will help the Food Services division financially as it works toward the goal of increasing the number of full-service kitchens in district schools.

The district has offered breakfast at no cost to all schools for the past four years. Since 1991, approximately 175 schools have participated in a universal lunch program where all students were able to receive free lunch without completing paperwork. Under the new program, an estimated 85 schools will join their ranks.

Approximately 80 percent of Philadelphia public and charter school students meet income guidelines for school meals. More than 143,000 students in Philadelphia are served annually. During the 2013-14 school year, more than 27 million meals were served, including dinner as part of after-school programs at approximately 100 school meal sites.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program among other initiatives to address hunger and obesity. Both programs are available in public or nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. Meals must meet federal nutrition guidelines.

Nationwide, more than 13 million children are served school breakfast and more than 32 million receive school lunch annually. Research has shown links between school meals and improved attendance, nutrition and academic performance.

Contact staff writer

Chanel Hill

at (215) 893-5716

or chill@phillytrib.com.

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