Feed to Achieve

Wood County schools have the lowest participation rate in West Virginia when it comes to school breakfasts. Fewer than 20 percent of students are able to take advantage of the breakfast program, and nearly every school in the county has made no effort to change the breakfast programs ahead of requirements that will go into effect in September.

Schools in Wood County are dragging their feet when it comes to meeting requirements of the state Feed to Achieve law the Legislature adopted in 2013, despite hard evidence that children who eat breakfast do better academically, have fewer tardies, and have fewer behavioral problems.

Feed to Achieve is meant to change the way schools offer breakfasts: “grab and go,” eating in class or serving breakfast after first period. Such options avoid the problem of keeping students whose buses arrive just in the nick of time from getting a meal. The law also allows for counties to seek private donations to fund expanded meal programs that could keep kids well fed over weekends, breaks and the summer months. Such funding would help at-risk children in a ripple effect that extends far past meal time.

Federal government funding of school meals can increase if participation in the programs increases, and Feed to Achieve also helps schools find ways to boost the numbers of kids who take part.

These are all solid, good reasons for working toward the changes required by Feed to Achieve. But the most compelling reason? Feed to Achieve is the law in West Virginia. Wood County school officials are obligated to work toward following it.

Efforts to meet earlier versions of the state law are water under the bridge. September will be here before we know it. If making the changes that will provide a better learning environment for our kids – and obeying state law – is not already on the table for Wood County Schools, they had better update the menu immediately.