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Heading back to school: What’s new in your district this year?

Liverpool and North Syracuse students head back to school next week. Pictured is a decoration found on a door at Soule Road Elementary in the fall of 2012.

Liverpool and North Syracuse students head back to school next week. Pictured is a decoration found on a door at Soule Road Elementary in the fall of 2012. Photo by Sarah Hall.

It’s once again time for kids across Central New York to start getting ready to head back to school. Both Liverpool and North Syracuse students head back Thursday, Sept. 4. Both districts had some changes in store for students and staff; read on to find out what’s new.

Liverpool introduces universal breakfast

Starting this year, every student in the Liverpool Central School District will have access to free breakfast on school grounds, regardless of income.

Food and Nutrition Services Director Carrie Bonacci said the district began offering universal breakfast at Chestnut Hill Elementary in 2004 with the help of a grant from the Nutrition Consortium of New York State, and it proved so successful that she wanted to expand the program districtwide.

“We did it for a year, and we decided to keep going because we saw it had such a positive effect at that school,” Bonacci said. “Over the next couple of years, we eased it into the elementary schools a couple of schools at a time. I believe they were all up and running by 2007.”

Middle schools were added last year. Now the program is available to all students K through 12.

Bonacci said the program will provide a definite benefit to student learning.

“When they come to school they’re hungry, and you know as well as I do — the stats show that children can’t learn if they’re hungry,” she said.

While the program is particularly beneficial to kids whose families are short on food due to adverse economic circumstances— close to 37 percent of the district’s students receive free or reduced lunch — Bonacci pointed out that there are a number of reasons kids might not eat breakfast before coming to school.

“It’s not just because of lower economic status,” she said. “Kids get up in the morning and they don’t feel like eating right away. Or they don’t have time — especially with the middle school and high school kids, they’re too busy getting ready.”

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