USA Today is asking students and their parents to tell them about their school lunches, which includes photos. Here’s the details:
How do you or your kids feel about the cafeteria food at school? How nutritious and/or satisfying do you think it is?
Show and tell us what school lunches look like where you are and we may feature your experiences on USA TODAY channels. If you send a photo, please note that by submitting an image, you are ensuring that it is your original and unique image that you have permission to submit for use in USA TODAY.
Photos submitted by students under the age of 13 must have parental consent. All photos will be fully vetted by USA TODAY staff.
E-mail photos of your plate to email@example.com, by Friday, Dec. 6, with a detailed caption that includes your name, age, hometown and a description of the food shown.
You can also tweet the photos using #schoollunch on Twitter.
Just doing a quick search with the hashtag on Twitter, I came across some pretty interesting school lunches with items like Crêpes and pumpkin butter pancakes, and more what I would call common items, such as chicken fingers and fruit. If you have a minute, check it out, it’s pretty interesting.
The Tea Weekly ran a photo in their Nov. 29 issue of a sign placed across the street from Tea High School:
(Credit: Tea Weekly)
If you can read the print, the photo is false, as confirmed by the Lennox School Superintendent, likely aimed at stirring up confusion over an upcoming bond vote.
The YES for Tea Area Kids group, which is in favor of the bond passing, is circulating the photo online trying to clear the air. You can find their Facebook page here.
The Tea Area School District will be holding an vote on a $10.5 million bond on Dec. 10, which would pay for an addition onto the elementary school in Tea, a performing arts center attached to the high school and a new elementary school in the northern part of the district.
The space is badly needed, as the district continues to grow, and some students have to go to class in “stick buildings,” or temporary classrooms that don’t have running water.
There’s been some opposition to the bond from folks in a housing development near Family Wellness, where the proposed new elementary school would be built. Some want out of the district because they want their kids to go to Sioux Falls schools and don’t want to have to pay the bond, but the district has been firm in defending their borders.
It looks like the recent policy change by the Sioux Falls School District may have started something.
The Associated Press had this story this morning:
RAPID CITY — Students in all grades of South Dakota’s two largest districts are now asked to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.
KOTA-TV reports Rapid City’s district policy followed a decision by Sioux Falls to expand it to high schools.
Students at both districts have the option of whether to put their hand on the heart and recite the pledge.
Rapid City Central High School junior Christian Bears says reciting the pledge is a way to support the country. Freshman Kyle Aubert says schools should do it for the troops.
The original KOTA-TV story says the schools had no policy in place.
Rep. Hal Wick said he intends to bring forth a bill which could make schools make time for the Pledge every day, stopping short of forcing them to say it.
You can read more about the Sioux Falls School District policy change here.
Josh Verges guest post
Of the hundreds of public elementary schools in South Dakota, numbers 2 and 3 in K-5 enrollment are Discovery and R.F. Pettigrew on the west side of Sioux Falls.
According to the Department of Education, Discovery had 699 students in the fall of 2012 and Pettigrew had 694, plus 84 in early childhood programming.
Only Sturgis Elementary had more, with 718 plus 12 preschoolers.
More recent numbers from the Sioux Falls School District put Pettigrew at 764 and Discovery at 716.
So, how does another 180 students sound?
A plan put forth by Superintendent Pam Homan on Wednesday would add a fifth section of classrooms at both Discovery and Pettigrew, rather than building a new elementary school next to McGovern Middle School.
Large schools are no doubt more cost-effective, but parents in general — there are exceptions — prefer to send their kids to a small elementary. We saw that when Homan decided to consolidate Mark Twain and Longfellow elementary schools.
If the latest plan advances, before long enrollment at Discovery and Pettigrew should approach 900 students – larger than all but eight or nine public high schools in the state.
Which raises another question: Will the Pettigrew Panthers petition up to Class 11AA football?
First and third graders eat lunch at Discovery Elementary on Oct. 11, 2011. Jay Pickthorn / Argus Leader
Josh Verges guest post:
The 1889 Argus Leader was about as excited about Susan B. Anthony's visit to the state as Jonathan Ellis is about the pending death of the Mark Twain school name.
The Argus-Leader begins to feel a wild thrill of pleasurable expectation. Susan is coming. We shall see her own dear self and shall hear her dulcet tones declare the total depravity of man. We shall see displayed in all her entrancing loveliness the female ward worker, and shall like St. John in the vision, feel the air warm around us with the heavenly effulgence of woman suffrage. Hail to thee, Susan, thou headlight of the elysium to come, our heart’s ecstasy arises at thine approach. - Nov. 16, 1889 (research by John E. Miller at SDSU, hat tip to Madville Times.
ArgusPoliBlog: Sweet potatoes and secrecy -
The Sioux Falls School Board voted last night to ditch the name Mark Twain from the new elementary school that will be built on the Mark Twain grounds. See this story.
The story includes quotes from Melanie Bliss, who lives in the neighborhood and who was among residents, parents and former…
I read with interest this story by the Huffington Post about a recent town hall meeting in New York about Common Core.
In short: Some people in New York are pretty ticked off about Common Core, and want to oust the state education commissioner, Dr. John King.
Here’s a bit from that story:
It’s been more than three years since the state first adopted the standards — and more than a year since some districts began their implementing them — but critics are still calling for the benchmarks to be rolled back and for leaders at the forefront of the standards to bow out.
The Common Core, a set of new education learning standards that emphasize deep learning and critical thinking, have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. New York is one of the first states to start testing on the benchmarks.
In the latest controversy, parent groups are calling for New York state Commissioner of Education Dr. John King to resign. Many were enraged last week after King canceled a tour of Common Core town hall meetings — scheduled take place across the state — after only attending one in Poughkeepsie on Oct. 10.
Videos show the town hall became boisterous, with crowds shouting at and heckling King from the audience.
One parent shouted from the audience that her child was being taught curriculum “like a little Nazi” while King’s children were “prospering in the freedom of a private Montessori school.” When the town hall was cut short, audience members shouted “Where’s our hour?” and “Where’s your representation for parents?”
Basically, it got loud, rowdy and the crowd was angry.
New York’s Education Commissioner has since cancelled the remaining scheduled town hall meetings, saying the meetings were no longer constructive, though he said he was open to working to make other forums.
It reminded me a bit of last night’s public forum in Sioux Falls on Common Core, featuring State Education Secretary Melody Schopp, which got heated at times. Audience members clapped loudly after others spoke against or questioned the standards, and when questions weren’t answered to their satisfaction, audience members demanded a better answer. From the sounds of it, however, things were quite a bit more heated in New York.
Tuesday was the second public forum Schopp has attended recently Sioux Falls, to discuss Common Core Standards. Both events have been attended well, with passionate people on both sides.
Schopp said she’s open to attending more forums to answer questions, so it will be interesting to see how many more will be scheduled.
The South Dakota Department of Education has information about the standards at www.commoncore.sd.gov. An opposition group has its own website at www.sdagainstcommoncore.com.
Josh Verges guest post
We didn’t get into this issue in our Sunday story on school lunch, but the more detailed data we got from Minnesota is telling, if unsurprising.
While total lunches served to Minnesota kids went down 3.7 overall, that largely was because of the more affluent students looking elsewhere for their meals.
Minnesota schools served 6.4 percent fewer meals to kids paying full price.
Lunches served to those who get reduced-price meals went down 5.5 percent.
But those served to kids who qualify for free meals went up .85 percent from 2011-12 to 2012-13.
It’s a reminder that lots of kids can’t afford to be picky.
It also brings into focus concerns about how filling the new meals are with strict per-meal calorie limits. If a kid who qualifies for a free lunch isn’t satisfied with his meal, can his family afford to pack a supplementary snack?
Josh Verges guest post
What is the appropriate age to teach a kid about condoms?
The Sioux Falls School District says it’s grade seven*. They posted online the letter they send to parents that explains what kids learn about sex in which grades.
The curriculum says clearly that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and transmission of STDs. But in grades seven and eight, contraception is part of the message too:
Identify methods of pregnancy prevention and analyze the effectiveness rates of contraception, including the prevention of STDs, and the benefits of remaining abstinent.
For some kids, of course, grade seven is too late.
In 2011, 5 percent of boys and 2 percent of girls said they had had sexual intercourse before the age of 13, according to South Dakota’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Two years earlier, it was 8 and 4 percent.
The survey also asked about condom use. Among high school students who had had intercourse in the last three months, 71 percent of boys and 52 percent of girls said they or a partner had used a condom.
*There’s a case to be made that parents shouldn’t rely on schools to get this message across. If your kid needs to have the talk, do so when necessary. On the other hand, parents can pull their kids out of these discussions at school if they’re uncomfortable with something.
Afton Johnson, Truth 4 Youth speaker, had the 9th graders line up in order of a healthy relationship at Edgerton (Minn.) High School, on May 15, 2009. - Argus Leader file photo
It’s coming up fast.
The $11 million bond vote on Sept. 24, if approved, would allow the Tea Area School district to add on to its current elementary in Tea, put the first phase of a performing arts center on the middle/high school, and, probably most notably, build an elementary school on the north end of the district, south of the Sanford Wellness Center.
The last item has drawn some criticism from neighbors in the area of proposed school, many of whom say they don’t want a school there. You can read more on that here.
We’ll have full coverage of the vote and reactions from both sides after the votes have been counted on argusleader.com.
Until then, here’s some information on how to vote:
Election Day: Sept. 24
Voting Polls: District Education Center, 131 N. Poplar Ave.
Voting Hours: 7 a.m. -7:30 p.m.
Absentee ballots: Available at the business office in the District Education Center
More information on voting: www.state.sd.us/sos/vote