Ascension Public Schools and EATEL partnered to increase applications for the national free and reduced meals program. In addition to eligibility determinations for school meal programs, these applications are used to determine funding levels for the school district for many state and federal sources.
EATEL donated 10 Chromebooks for giveaways as an incentive for parents to complete the application. Over a two-week period, the Chromebook giveaway incentive yielded applications for 1,115 students. Those additional applications translate into approximately $150,000 in state funding for Ascension Public Schools.
“We are so fortunate to have outstanding community partners like EATEL, who support our school district in various ways,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander. “This is just one example of their willingness to find creative solutions to engage our community in a meaningful way, and the ultimate beneficiary is the students of Ascension Parish.”
“The meal benefits application is the foundation of all Child Nutrition Programs but it affects so much more,” said Ascension Public Schools Child Nutrition Supervisor Leuna Johnson. “It has the potential to qualify our school district and students with the assistance they may not have otherwise been eligible.”
Historically, parents were required to complete a free and reduced meal application in order for their child to receive free or discounted school meals. However, all students at Ascension Public Schools currently receive free meals due to a program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the COVID-19 pandemic. A byproduct of this generous program is parents do not feel a need to complete this annual application which is used to calculate district funding from several state and federal sources.
The names of 10 winners of the Chromebooks were drawn from all of the applications submitted during the 2020-21 school year. Those winners, whose names are being kept private due to the nature of the application, were contacted and have received their devices.