Peoria Public Schools District 150 has a plan in place to help feed the minds, and bodies, of students as they head into summer break.
Friday was the last day of school for most Peoria Public School students. June 10 is the final day of classes at the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Center.
District 150 has partnered with several local agencies, churches, the Peoria Park District and the Peoria Housing Authority to make more sites available where all children age 18 and under can get free breakfasts and lunches.
Superintendent Grenita Lathan says the District anticipates serving 25,000 breakfasts and 50,000 lunches during the summer months. That total represents five times as many breakfasts and ten times as many lunches that were served during the summer of 2014.
“We were very concerned about our students being at home for two and a half months and not having access to nutritious lunches and nutritious breakfasts,” says Lathan.
Lathan says over 70 percent of District 150’s students come from homes of poverty.
District 150 has also partnered with “Look. It’s My Book” to provide K-through-4 students with six books each to keep and read during the summer.
“Look. It’s My Book” founder Janet Roth says the effort is to avert the “Summer Slide.”
“The ‘Summer Slide’ is not something fun,” Roth says. “It’s a loss in reading level and progress that occurs during the summer months.”
A study conducted by “Reading is Fundamental” claims students who lose reading ability over the summer rarely catch up. Over time, this loss over the summer can add up to the equivalent of three years of reading loss by the end of the fifth grade. That gap could widen to four years by the end of 12th grade for students who have not already dropped out of school.
“If they read the six books,” Roth says, “that will cut the summer slide in half and children will actually make improvement.”
“Look. It’s My Book” will distribute books to K-through-4 students at District 150’s Compass Learning lab sites.
More information concerning District 150 meal sites and Compass Learning can be found here.