The first day the DukeEngage students and I arrived at the Dandelion School we were put to work with a team of dentists who were volunteering their time to examine the mouths of 600 students. At lunch we were fed the same food Dandelion students eat every day: stir fried vegetables, a tiny bit of meat thrown in, and nutrient enhanced rice. The school doctor told us not to be scared of the yellow-orange pellets mixed in with the otherwise normal looking rice — that’s the added vitamins. I eat the rice every day now, and hardly notice the little pellets in my food.
NPR broadcast a story about the nutrition program at the Dandelion School about a week and a half ago. (It’s amazing that I work at the school, but found the NPR story a week and a half after it was broadcast!) I’m not sure how much the added nutrients actually increase standardized test scores — that could also be due to the school’s better teacher recruitment and retention in the last one or two years — but I’m sure it’s helping out the students who arrive at the school malnourished or the students who, like the story points out, ate a steady diet of instant noodles.