First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska met with the leadership of the San Francisco Unified School District in the United States. During the event, in particular, the issues of reforming school meals, promoting healthy food and improving eating habits were discussed. Modern tools for ensuring education for children with disabilities were also mentioned.
"It is important to discuss the implementation of changes in the school food system and the role of local communities in the implementation of inclusive education, how we can help parents make decisions about the importance of educating children with disabilities in regular schools, and especially to give them confidence in their own competence in such a sensitive issue," the wife of the President of Ukraine said.
The San Francisco Unified School District is the Office of Education in fact. It is the seventh largest school district in California, educating over 55,000 students every year. School meals are based on income and family members.
"If children are hungry, they are in nervous tension and stressed and have no energy to study. Our goal is to provide the best education and the best conditions for education," Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, Dr. Vincent Matthews (PhD in Engineering) said.
In California schools, children can eat in a cafeteria, in a classroom, in specially equipped areas in the courtyard of the institution or in the school lobby. Studies have shown that most children (85%) eat their breakfast in class.
Food is mainly brought to U.S. schools by suppliers, but now a plan is being developed to prepare it directly in educational institutions. Zelenska shared her experience of how this is happening in Ukraine, and spoke, in particular, about a series of regional forums on school food reform that are taking place across the country. The next one will be held in Odesa on September 9.
"Our challenge is to make food fun and affordable. Therefore, we give our students samples of dishes before deciding whether to add them to the main menu. We collect feedback and only then decide whether to launch new dishes," Executive Director for Student Nutrition Services Jennifer LeBarre said.
At one of the meetings within the framework of the working visit of the President of Ukraine to the United States, Zelenska initiated the signing of a memorandum on the work on two Ukrainian-language audio guides and announced the launch of the first Ukrainian-language audio tour in the United States in Mount Vernon, the estate of U.S. President George Washington.