Lunch is free for all students in 6th-8th grade middle schools this year, as part of a pilot program funded by the City Council. The City This initiative not only gives us an opportunity to review implementation issues and to more fully understand the costs incurred by the City but reduces the stigma of qualifying for free lunch and will improve the overall atmosphere and experience for our students. We also anticipate enhancing the climate in our school lunchrooms and will be sending a recommended list of things to think about to achieve this goal. For more information, please read the related announcement below.
This year, lunch will be free for all students in 6th-8th grade middle schools. This service is part of the City's effort to improve the atmosphere and experience for students in our cafeterias and to reduce the stigma of qualifying for free meals. In addition, providing free lunch service to this group of schools will allow the NYCDOE to better understand implementation issues and overall costs to the City so that the NYCDOE can assess the feasibility of providing free lunch to expanded groups of schools. Principals of 6th-8th grade middle schools will receive an email later this week to confirm that lunch will be free for students in their schools.
While the City will serve lunch at no charge to all students in 6th-8th grade middle schools, principals of these schools must still collect income eligibility forms from all families because Title I eligibility and funding for the 2015-16 school year is dependent on this information. As you have done in the past, you must continue to gather information from parents on household income using the Title I Income Eligibility Forms that will be shipped to 6th-8th grade middle schools in the next few weeks. Parents can also visit www.applyforlunch.com to complete an application online at any time.
To ensure that your school receives appropriate Title I funding for the 2015-16 school year, please work with your staff to distribute Title I Income Eligibility Forms and encourage families to complete and return the forms. Students will receive free lunch whether or not their families have completed the form, but your school might receive less funding or lose Title I eligibility altogether if very few parents complete the form. In addition, the success and possible expansion of the meals program will rely on the ability of schools to collect these forms from parents. For best practices and ideas to maximize the collection of applications, click here. Note that if your school provided universal meal service last year, you might not need to collect any forms this year and you will not receive a shipment of forms; click here to confirm whether your school needs to collect these forms this year. In an upcoming edition ofPrincipal Notes, Chancellor Fariña will share best practices to improve the breakfast and lunch program in your school.
Please note that free lunch is for students in 6th to 8th grade middle schools; not all schools that serve middle school grades are included (for example, K-8 schools, K-12 schools, and 6-12 schools will not participate in this program at this time). Please also note that some schools that will provide free lunch to all students are located in buildings with schools or programs that will not offer free lunch to all students this year.
For questions, contact SchoolFood at -718-707-4400.