Highline Public Schools is hoping to utilize a simple change to their daily schedule that has massive potential for change in student behavior and performance in school. This schedule change is known as Recess Before Lunch (RBL).

RBL reverses the school system’s longstanding practice of having lunch first followed by recess resulting in students rushing through lunch and wasting food in order to leave for recess earlier. This new schedule switches things up in order to improve food intake by allowing more time to calmly and casually consume food, reduce food waste, increase milk consumption, and improve the overall quality of dining experiences for the students. This, in turn, benefits in-class behavior and performance because students return to class calmer and ready to learn and are no longer distracted by hunger or poor dietary habits resulting in fewer visits to the school nurse and fewer discipline problems.

The RBL schedule has been garnering attention in recent years with positive results from Montana elementary schools that have tested this interesting school wellness strategy. Thirteen Highline elementary schools have implemented the RBL schedule including Cedarhurst, Gregory Heights, Hilltop, Madrona, and Shorewood Elementary as the most recent schools. These schools will be measuring food waste, school nurse visits, academic performance, and behavior. For more information go to http://www.hsd401.org/.