Emerging Practices with Promise
Submitted By: Jenny Russell, Career Advancement Charter Adult Re-entry H.S.
Providing nutritious meals in the evening
- Type of Practice: Access to Services
- Targeted Population: Adult Basic Education Students, English Language Learners, High School Diploma Students, Returning Students, Teachers, Faculty and Staff
- Program Area(s): Adult Basic & Secondary Education, Career Technical Education , English as a Second Language & Citizenship
- Consortia Involved:
Santa Cruz County Adult Education Consortium: Cabrillo Community College District, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Santa Cruz City Schools
Many of our students experience food insecurity. Additionally, due to recent events that target the safety of our immigrant community, our students may not seek assistance from the local food pantries. Poverty, food insecurity, and increasing fear-to-shop, sadly prevail in our school community - a region that is ironically rich with agriculture.
Hunger is one of the barriers that our students face in regards to having access to our evening program in Watsonville.
After reviewing local research data findings and surveying our students in Watsonville to get feedback on our question: "What is a primary barrier that makes it hard to come to school?", we decided to include a new action step into our annual LCAP which included procuring resources to provide a free nutritious meal for students who attend school with us in the evening. The Board approved our request and we hired a part time CTEP Culinary Arts teacher to lead our new project: "The CAC Meal Cart". Students can earn credit by participating in our culinary arts meal services project.
In addition to encouraging daily school participation, dinner can foster a sense of comfort, trust and security for all members of the school community.
After the first week of offering free meals to our evening high school adult re-entry students, in Watsonville, interest and participation in classes has increased. Students report that they are very happy with this plan and will encourage their peers to join them at school in the evenings.
We are a new consortium member and we are not yet fully on-board with CASA data reporting however, our local program data and survey results show increased attendance in school at the site where we have been given the resources to offer dinner (Sequoia evening adult re-entry school in Watsonville). The Sequoia adult ed site has a 98% attendance rate and strong enrollment, we believe this is partly a result of our meal program. Other factors are a passionate, skilled, bilingual, culturally proficient staff. We also plan to implement childcare services soon as over 60% of our students are parents with young children. We will continue to monitor this data.