Success of school breakfast programs will benefit all | My Turn

Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) writes about the expansion of Breakfast after the Bell.

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:05pm
  • Opinion
Sen. Lisa Wellman

Sen. Lisa Wellman

We know that too many students in Washington start their school day without the benefit of a nutritional breakfast.

We also know that for far too many children, the meals they receive in school are the only substantial nutrition they get all day. In Washington state, one-in-seven kids live in homes that struggle to put food on the table and 18 percent of the state’s 2,445 schools have 70 percent or more students receiving free and reduced-price meals.

This year in Olympia, state leaders stepped up and took action to address this preventable barrier to learning.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation that will expand the successful Breakfast after the Bell program. It will give more students the opportunity to learn without being distracted by hunger or lack of energy and, because the meal is offered after the first bell of the day, it will benefit the many students who take a bus or walk to school.

One reason lawmakers were eager to expand this program is that we’ve already seen results in schools where this program has been making a dramatic difference.

At Mount View Elementary in White Center, where the number of kids receiving breakfast has increased by 60 percent, school leaders say the student body has developed an increased sense of community, is more focused, and is less disruptive.

We’ve heard similar accounts from other school districts that have had the chance to implement Breakfast after the Bell.

As this program starts expanding, I am excited to see how students, teachers and parents will benefit. We also know that this is just one common-sense measure we can take to make sure all kids in the wealthiest country on earth have a fighting chance at a quality education.

Sometimes the simplest changes can make the biggest difference in our lives. It’s heartening to see our state make progress for our state’s most valuable assets – our children.

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, chairs the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and was the prime sponsor of Breakfast after the Bell legislation in the Senate.

More in Opinion

OPINION: Excited to lead Eastside news coverage

Corey Morris takes lead as regional editor of Eastside publications

Curtain call for departing Youth Theatre Northwest director

Manny Cawaling was the executive director at YTN for 10 years, in a time of growth and change.

Sign of the times

Deputy Mayor “very troubled by signs that went up over the Island this weekend” regarding levy.

Reflections on a White House visit | On Faith

The inhabitants of the White House aren’t the only ones on God’s radar.

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by the president and others.

Vote no on levy lid lift | Letter

Until our city government demonstrates fiscal responsibility and accountability, please vote “no.”

Betsy Zuber
How seniors can avoid being scammed | Guest Column

Hang up immediately, get caller ID, or get more information.

Cindy Goodwin
How should I cope with my child’s sudden bedtime anxiety? | YFS Advice

At the end of the day someone is sleeping on the floor and obviously this isn’t sustainable.

Mercer Island should stop squeezing more out of taxpayers | Letter

We shouldn’t be comparing our city to other cities that are more profligate than us.

Support for My-Linh Thai | Letter

We are writing to share our support for My-Linh Thai, 41st LD, Position No. 2.

Send a message with no vote on tax increase | Letter

A significant and increasing portion of my living expenses are taxes.