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.’