Members of the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom team recently had the opportunity to visit Houston County Schools in Perry, Georgia. School Nutrition Foundation Program Manager Sarah Murphy Youssef and PBIC nutrition consultant Liz Campbell (MA, RD) took a whirlwind tour of several Houston County campuses to see BIC in action, and get an up-close look at the PBIC grant-funded equipment that helps Houston County serve breakfast-in-the-classroom. (Learn more about Houston County, their Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom grant, and their breakfast-in-the-classroom journey.)
“We visited five campuses, and it was a really busy day,” said Campbell. “The folks in Houston County are such breakfast-in-the-classroom rockstars. They are engaging students, investing time, and they’re detail-oriented with their planning—and of course, they have great follow-through. They’re engaging with students on what they like, what they don’t like, and the “why” behind their food preferences.”
The day started by visits to observe breakfast-in-the-classroom service, including a stop at Huntington Middle School where they use grab-n-go kiosks purchased with PBIC grant funds.
“Everything about this breakfast-in-the-classroom service was awesome, from their menu to the grab-n-go displays,” said Campbell. “I love that it shows what a true variety of food you can offer for breakfast-in-the-classroom, both hot and cold items, so there is always something students want to eat.”
SNF Program Manager Sarah Murphy Youssef was equally impressed with breakfast service, but Youssef was even more impressed with what she saw behind the scenes.
“Our trip to Houston County was so fun, and it was a really inviting visit,” said Youssef. “It was great to see the equipment we funded, particularly the big walk-in coolers. We also met with stakeholders in each building to talk about BIC.”
Meeting with stakeholders is one of the most important reasons to revisit our grant-funded schools, said Campbell.
“Our presence is often a catalyst for great conversations around breakfast-in-the-classroom,” she shared. “Every school has unique challenges and factors to consider, and the walk-in freezers are the perfect example. We were able to learn about the little differences between campuses that required different equipment needs.”
One manager called the new walk-in freezer “the cat’s meow,” recalled Youssef.
“Meredith (Potter, director) and Lauren (Koff, dietitian) had to basically become construction mini-experts and learn a head-exploding amount of information to choose the equipment and get the construction finished,” said Youssef.
They field trip also included trips to see BIC in action in elementary schools, including one with an eye-catching, luau-themed grab-n-go station.
“Each school did something different and creative,” said Campbell. “Meredith and Lauren and their staff are willing to take chances, they know their principals, and they talk to their students, and it shows. Breakfast in the classroom in Houston County is a huge success.”
One final takeaway from their day in Houston County—the food is outstanding! Both Youssef and Campbell raved over the school lunch of roasted chicken, spicy cabbage, whole grain corn muffins, pears, carrots, cucumbers, and black eyed peas. Georgia native Sarah Murphy Youssef also complimented Houston County’s breakfast grits, declaring them to be definitively “amazing!”
“Kids were clearing their plates at breakfast and lunch, and we cleared ours too!”