Wake County’s school system has realized the dilemma some of its students face when they go home for the summer. Gone are the easily accessible breakfast and lunch meals some low-income students can receive when they are in school. The lack of food is a clear warning sign that students will not learn as well as they could if they weren’t worried about when they were going to eat again.
To combat the problem, the school system has used some federal funds to provide free lunches through most of the summer to students who would qualify for free- or reduced-priced lunches.
But participation in the summer program has been less than organizers had hoped. Part of that problem, to be sure, is a lack of transportation. But we believe those participation numbers could grow significantly if the school system works harder and smarter to promote the program to parents.
If the program continues again next summer, we hope schools will begin in mid-spring letting parents know about the program. Those communications should be directly with parents, not simply through fliers sent home with the students. We all know too well that a great many of those messages never get transmitted to the parents who need the information.
If parents know about the program in advance, they can be sure to include it in their weekly schedule. Their children will benefit and Wake County schools will have certainly met a need that helps them do their jobs better.