Innovative ideas are helping more students through the lunch line at Mitchell School District.
Earlier this week, we reported that the district is giving students more food choices and is enhancing dining areas at the middle school and Longfellow Elementary to align with a cafe-like setting.
We're pleased to see the district attempting to alter the lunch program, as dwindling participation showed a change needed to happen.
Following the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, many school districts around the country saw a drop in students who would eat school lunches.
A 2014 study by the National School Boards Association that surveyed nearly 650 schools in 36 states found the national nutrition standards increased costs for 82 percent of districts, decreased participation in more than 75 percent of the schools and increased plate waste in 84 percent of schools.
Mitchell School District has raised its lunch and breakfast prices regularly in recent years due to the federal regulations and rising food costs. Participation also dropped during that stretch.
Those factors are why Mitchell needed a change.
At the middle school, students have about five options for lunch everyday, both hot and cold. More options means more participation.
The cosmetic changes at the middle school and Longfellow, district officials believe, will make the dining area a more appealing place to eat.
Thus far, the changes are working, according to school district data.
About 100 more students per day are eating breakfast this year compared to last year, and about 150 more lunches are being served.
We credit the district administrators and food service staff in their work to helping more students land a meal each day.
It's the district's job to ensure a good meal is available every day, and the right people stepped up when a problem was presented.