Politicians visited Fairview Elementary School because of the school’s successful nutrition pilot project.
“We have witnessed significant difference in participation levels, engagement levels, and among some of our English as a second language students actual physical growth,” said Kim Walker principal of Fairview Elementary School, which was selected as one of the 14 schools involved in the pilot across the province.
The Alberta government recently announced that it would be implementing the lunch program across the province due to the success of the pilot. They will be investing $10 million in the current schools as well as providing funding to another 48 schools across the province.
Among those at the school to celebrate the project on Dec. 18th were Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education Annie McKitrick and Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner, who has been a major supporter of the project since the beginning.
McKitrick said the project was a priority to her party.
She added that the Premier is also interested in how the Provincial government can support the efforts of school boards to feed students nutritious meals to maximize their learning outcomes.
Kim Walker talked about the positive effect the pilot has had on their student body at Fairview Elementary.
“If they have universal access to food, they can choose a snack or have a meal, and that changes the way they participate in lessons,” she said.
Walker told a story about her experience with one student in particular prior to the start of the lunch program. This student was in her office in the afternoons on a regular basis for discipline issues. After sharing a lunch with him at one point she realized that he was seeking mineral input, and was hungry. Since the nutrition pilot has been implemented she does not see this student sent to the office in the afternoons anymore.
Of the 235 students that attend Fairview Elementary, only 15 opt out of the lunch program.
“I think the fact that we have so few kids and families opting out of this program tells us that we got the right school,” said Stu Henry, Red Deer Public School District superintendent who selected Fairview for the project.