Queens School Serving All-Vegetarian Meals Sees Student Progress

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:16 PM

After becoming the first public school in the nation to serve only vegetarian meals, P.S. 244 said it’s seeing results in student attendance and achievement.

Principal Bob Groff said since the school started serving baked falafel and chickpea dishes instead of hamburgers and chicken nuggets in January, attendance is up, BMI’s are down and student behavior has improved.

“We’ve seen that we have a little bit better focus from the students, their energy levels appear to be higher, there isn’t a visible crash, which sometimes happens after a lunch period,” Groff said.

While he admitted that healthy living and student achievement may not be directly related, he's certain there is a strong connection. According to Groff, students classified as obese and overweight dropped by 2 percent after one semester.

In addition to eating the new vegetarian food in the cafeteria, students take a weekly health and nutrition class. The Queens school also offers monthly food tastings, after-school yoga and workshops for families on how to create healthier recipes at home. 

The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recognized the school this week for its healthy meals and trailblazing work with a grand prize ‘Golden Carrot.’


News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [3]

Wonderful News

It would be great if more schools followed this path. We are a Vegan family for 3 generations and NO one is fat or obese.

Keep up the good work.

Oct. 17 2013 01:28 AM
Amie Hamlin

If you'd like to learn more about New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, check out our website at We are having our fall gala in NYC next Wednesday (10/23) to raise funds to help support our efforts in this and other schools. Details are on our website. It's called Passport to Wellness: Your Ticket to the Culinary Adventure of the Year and you will get to taste food from 25 restaurants and caterers.

Oct. 16 2013 10:17 PM
Amie Hamlin

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is the non-profit responsible for helping PS244 to go vegetarian. They are a great school, and it is the combination of the NYC Office of SchoolFood, who exceeds federal guidelines in ALL of their schools, including their fantastic staff at the school, PS244 - including a top notch administration and teachers, the students and their families, and working together with them all is a pleasure. It was a team effort, and we are very pleased with the results!

Oct. 16 2013 10:14 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.