Norwich Schools Offering Some New Classes, Free Meals This Year
Norwich public elementary schools are back in session Wednesday and middle schools start Friday, but students will see some changes this school year.
This year the district is offering all students free breakfast and lunch. Students who stay after school are also supplied supper, said district Director of Food Services Erin Perpetua.
All of it will be paid for with federal money.
"They can concentrate on what they need to do here rather than concentrating on how hungry they are," Perpetua said.
Students at Norwich Public Schools have a severe need. Perpetua said last year, 78 percent of students relied on free or reduced-price meals.
"A lot of these [parents], they work paycheck to paycheck. If it comes to paying an electric bill or sending your child in money to pay for lunch, electric is more important. They know their kids will be fed something here, but now that's not an issue," Perpetua added.
The menu includes chicken nachos, tacos, pizza and Tyson chicken products.
Also new this year, for the first time in a few years, sixth grade will be back in the middle schools.
It's year two that they're magnet middle schools, which means more is being enhanced and added to the curriculums – like photography, digital music and drama classes at Kelly STEAM Magnet Middle School.
"Really letting it be student driven and student interest driven so they're more invested in their learning," said Kelly Principal Sheri Tanner.
Some of those new programs are things sixth grader Zackary Schofner is looking forward to.
"Media arts – it's this photography class, I'm just really excited about it," Schofner said.
Superintendent Abby Dolliver said Teachers' Memorial Global Studies Magnet Middle School will see both Chinese and Spanish classes this year.
And while the heat index will be extremely high on Wednesday, some areas in all the schools have air conditioning, Dolliver said, adding staff will make sure students stay hydrated.
"We'll monitor it. If some parts of buildings are extremely hot, we'll move students to other parts of buildings," Dolliver said.
By Heather Burian
Published at 5:19 PM EDT on Aug 28, 2018
Updated at 6:41 PM EDT on Aug 28, 2018