Include reduced-cost food programs, intensive reading
By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - As parents prepare for the beginning of school on Aug. 20, school officials are busy putting the final details in place.
One of them is in regard to the meal benefit application that every student receives during the first few days of school.
The application is for students whose parents' income falls below a certain level. Those children can then qualify for free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches while at school.
Parents will only need to complete one application per family, but the school district doesn't keep the information from the year before - the application must be filled out every year.
If a new application is not received, the child's meal status will revert to "paid," meaning they have to pay full price for their school meals.
Another way the school district is tackling the coming year can be found at C.A. Moore Elementary in Fort Pierce, which ranked in the bottom 100 of elementary schools in the state. As a result, the district will be providing an additional hour of reading instruction during the school day.
"We in St. Lucie public schools embrace the opportunity to provide more instructional time for students," said Michael Lannon, superintendent.
"It has long been the aspiration of our school board to have more time allotted in the school day for teaching and learning."
The extra time was mandated by the state, and the extra hour will take place at the end of the school day for all the students except for those who scored a five or higher on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The school will use small-group instruction combined with writing exercises to include phonics, word analysis, sight recognition and comprehension.
No extra district money will be used for this program. Instead, existing funding sources will be used to support the teachers and students.
For more information about the meal benefit application program or the intensive reading instruction, call the school district at (772) 429-3600.