Back to School: What's new in the new year for families?

Back to School Central - SmallSchool starts August 6! As always, the new year will bring some changes to Metro Schools. There will be new faces, new buildings, new policies and more. Below are some of the biggest new things in Metro Schools that affect your family. Later this week, we'll talk about a new academic program and then new schools, leaders and materials.

These lists could be updated before the first day of school, so come back to it every so often to check.

1. Free Meals for Every Student

This is the most exciting news we’ve had all summer long. Starting next year, every single 2014-02-27 08.34.12student in Metro Schools will have access to a nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost to them. There are no applications to fill out. Every student is automatically eligible.

Nothing will change about lunch or the cafeteria process. Your child will still go through the line and interact with the cashier as usual. There will still be additional and a la carte items for sale.

This program is made possible thanks to the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision program and is not expected to cost the district any additional money. Learn more about the program here.


2. The Family Information Survey

We are required to keep track of the number of students in our district who come from economically disadvantaged homes. We use that information to track their academic performance and make sure they have the resources they need. In addition, much of the federal and state money we receive is based on this data, including money for technology.

In years past, we have gathered this information from the free and reduced price meal applications. This year, we are not using those applications (see above). To collect that same information, we will instead require every family to complete an information survey.

The survey will ask some very simple questions:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Number of people in your household
  5. A yes/no question asking if your income is above a certain number

This last question will help us verify which of our families are economically disadvantaged and which ones are not. We do not want to know your income or even a range of income. That is still your own private information. We simply need to know if it is above or below a certain number.

The survey will be sent home when school starts and will be available at our Enrollment Centers.


3. Change of Address Now Requires Proof

This summer when we sent home report cards, thousands were sent back to us with wrong addresses. It is critical that we know where our families live and how to reach them. We must have updated information in our system.

When you move, please report your new address to your school. They will ask for proof of residency, so bring one of these with you, dated within the last thirty days:

  • Current utility bill
  • Lease
  • Mortgage statement

If none of these are available, we may accept something like a paycheck stub, cell phone bill, credit card bill or mail from a government agency. But don’t be surprised if we ask for more than one of these so we can verify that this is an up to date address.


4. All High School Students Can Ride MTA for Free

This is an exciting one! All high school students will have access to free transportation on MTA. They can ride to school, work, volunteer and internship opportunities, the library – where ever they need to go. This will not only make it easier for students to get to optional schools and expand their opportunities, it will also help reduce traffic!

This won't take effect until high school students receive their new ID badges. Speaking of new ID badges...


5. High School Students Get New ID Badges

All high school students will get new badges sometime in early September. The new badges will serve as ID badges, library cards, cafeteria account cards for a la carte purchases and MTA bus passes. It’s an all-in-one card for everything a high school student needs.


Coming up tomorrow in “What’s New,” we’ll tell you all about a new way to find more advanced learners and reach those who need extra help.


Visit Metro Schools Back to School Central for everything you need for the first day of school.