Improving the School Meal Experience

At A Better Course, we partner with school districts to assess, design, and implement new innovative real food programs. Our approach to program design always keeps students at the center. School meal programs can be designed to meet the needs and values of the today’s 21st century student. Students should have a positive meal experience, one that stimulates the senses, connects to food, where students feel valued, and be able to have an active voice in.

Further, we pick issues to work on where we know we can make a difference, and, sometimes, where no one else is looking. Our “Flunking Lunch” report focused on problems of social justice, accounting and technology that were discouraging low-income students from eating school meals and taking money from federal funds provided for those meals. A Better Course also collaborated with the San Francisco Unified School District Food and Fitness Committee to develop a new, seminal Wellness Policy for school nutrition and physical activity.

Flunking Lunch Report

Unbeknownst to many, schools often have two lunch lines; in one, mostly low-income students stand to receive a free lunch as part of the National School Lunch Program, in the other their peers purchase more appealing “competitive food”, effectively segregating students by income. Some schools also require low-­income students to use an electronic payment method at the cash register while their peers pay in cash. This means low ­income students are easily identified, and often stigmatized, leading many to skip lunch altogether. Read more . . . 

Read Our Flunking Lunch Report

 

San Francisco Unified School District’s Wellness Policy

Starting in 2003, A Better Course (formerly Campaign for Better Nutrition) worked with a very small, dedicated group of activists and administrators to develop what was then one of the most comprehensive wellness policies in the nation. Read more . . . 
SFUSD Wellness Policy Press Release, 2015