Yesterday, I was told by Superintendent Murley that the elementary principals recently resolved to insure that all Iowa City schoolchildren would get no less than 15 minutes to eat.
Have you noticed any changes in your school? Is this enough time for your kids?
In addition, children may not wear their coats during lunch – which was a problem in some of the schools.
Is this enough change for you?
Welcome to Healthy Eating Takes Time. This site is dedicated to advocating for school lunch periods that are long enough for kids to eat a healthy lunch. Fifteen minutes is too short! To read (and join) our letter to the Iowa City school superintendent, click here.
Iowa Public Radio will cover the school lunch issue, including the petition to extend Iowa City’s school lunches beyond fifteen minutes, in this week’s edition of “The Exchange,” which will air at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 17.
In the first half-hour, Congressman Dave Loebsack will discuss the new federal school nutrition law. In the second half-hour, Katina Lillios, who organized the petition, and Steve Murley, the Iowa City school superintendent, will be joined by Dr. Karen Stout, an educational policy and administration specialist, to discuss the issue of shrinking lunch periods in the schools.
In the Iowa City area, Iowa Public Radio can be found at 910 on the AM dial. To ask a question or comment, call 866-780-9100 (toll free), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: You can listen to the podcast here.
A summary of the December 13 meeting with Superintendent Murley, and about 25 parents and schoolchildren, was published in the Iowa City Press-Citizen: http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20101214/NEWS01/12140312/Murley-parents-talk-longer-days
There will be a public meeting to discuss the school lunch issue with Superintendent Murley on Monday, December 13, from 6:00 to 7:30 at Shimek Elementary School. Please attend and make yourself heard!
Shimek School is located at 1400 Grissell Place in Iowa City. To get there, take Governor Street north until it intersects with Dodge Street. Don’t turn onto Route 1 (Dodge Street); instead, continue straight on Governor. Then take a right onto Kimball Road. Take Kimball all the way to the end, then turn left onto Whiting Avenue. Then take a right on Grissell Place; the school is at the end of the road..
The Eastern Iowa Gazette ran an article today about our efforts to convince Iowa City school officials to allow kids enough time to eat a healthy lunch. Read it here.
If you would like to read or sign our letter advocating for healthy lunch periods in Iowa City schools, click here. Katina Lillios’s follow-up letter to the Superintendent and School Board appears below.
Dear Superintendent Stephen Murley and Members of the Iowa City School Board:
As you are probably aware, my letter on the school lunch periods was published this week in the Press-Citizen. I encourage you to read the letter, and the commentary that followed it, as well as the comments posted on the Health Eating Takes Time blog. The outpouring of support – for increasing the 15-minute periods in the Iowa City elementary schools – has been more overwhelming than I could have imagined.
Many of these stories are unsettling: kids wearing their winter coats while eating, being silenced during lunch, and being pushed to eat quickly. These sound like stories of prisoners, not school children we love and care for. That even the schools know a problem exists was pointed out to me recently by one parent who reminded me that during ITBS week, parents are asked to provide additional food and healthy snacks to help the kids perform better. Why isn’t this a concern during the rest of the year – when the knowledge to perform and indeed, to learn, is being developed?
As I wrote in response to a writer to the Press-Citizen commentary: A request to allow all children enough time to eat their lunch may seem trivial in face of the daunting educational challenges the ICCSD faces. However, have you considered the possibility that more effective learning might actually take place in our schools if all children were given enough time to fully eat their lunch? Or the possibility that giving them time to eat and talk/socialize while enjoying their food might improve their behavior and make the jobs of our hard-working teachers a bit easier?
That a serious problem exists with 15-minute lunches and the way school lunches in general are managed in the Iowa City school district – with behavioral, health and educational consequences – should be clear. What is less clear are the solutions. You tell me that a solution is not possible given the current schedule. Can the schedule be changed? Or is there another solution that can be developed?
To help in this conversation and to come up with solutions, would you be willing to schedule time for interested parents (and children) to share ideas in one of your upcoming board meetings? Alternately, we could consider a public meeting at the Iowa City Public Library.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your attention,