By Charles Lam
Northwest Asian Weekly
Dearborn Park Elementary was awarded a Super School award last Friday, Oct. 26, for its performance in the Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge, a joint initiative by the office of Superintendent Randy Dorn, the Washington State Dairy Council, Share Our Strength, and Children’s Alliance.
The challenge, which began last year, aims to increase participation in school breakfast programs by 50 percent over two years. One year into the challenge, more than 12,000 additional students statewide have enrolled in the breakfast program, resulting in over two million additional breakfasts.
“The funding for school breakfast programs can achieve greatness,” State Superintendent Randy Doren said. “We’ve gone through a few changes from the feds and we can argue that there wasn’t enough resources to get the vegetables and the fruits, but when I was talking to the director, Don Parson, she said, ‘We’ll figure [out] a way. They always do it in the districts, they always find a way because it’s about kids.’
Nearly two-thirds of teachers have said that hunger in their classrooms is increasing, not decreasing, so it’s important to note that we do have to expand our breakfast and lunch programs to more students because it does have an effect on student achievement. Our mission is to prepare students to live, learn, and work as productive citizens, and if they don’t know how meals make a difference, then we’re not doing our job.”
In one year alone, Dearborn Park Elementary has increased school breakfast participation by 50 percent.
According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 87.3 percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Dearborn serves a plurality Asian and Pacific Islander student body, with 43.4 percent of its approximately 300 students identifying as Asian or Pacific Islander.
Dearborn Park Principal Angela Bogan accepted the award at an event in the school cafeteria in front of a crowd of approximately 50 parents and community members, including Seattle School Board Director Betty Patu, State Superintendent Randy Doren, Seattle Superintendent Jose Banda, and Debra Entenman from the office of Representative Adam Smith.
“We’re a family here … we have parents who come every day. This is because we are all here for the same reason, to do what’s best for our students, so thank you so much for this honor,” Bogan said.
In addition to the award, Dearborn Park Elementary will also receive $500. The school’s students have improved their scores on 6 out of 8 standardized tests in reading, writing, math, and science over the past two years. (end)
Charles Lam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.