Seeing is Believing: Direct Delivery Breakfast in the Classroom Photo Essay from Woodridge Elementary

This is the second in a multi-part series about our visit to DeSoto ISD to observe breakfast in the classroom. Don’t forget to follow our friends in DeSoto on Facebook and Twitter, and check back soon for the third part in this ongoing series.

 If you read the first part in our series about breakfast-in-the-classroom at DeSoto ISD, you might recall the following quote from DeSoto ISD’s Resident Dietitian Jeffrey Caguioa:

“Showing stakeholders how the program works instead of telling them made them realize, ‘Hey, this program is doable and we can do it!’”

Moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom requires many changes, and people are often resistant to change. One of the best ways to convince reluctant stakeholders to embrace change is to show them how great that change can be, which is why Caguioa brought stakeholders for site visits to other schools already serving breakfast-in-the-classroom. Observing the program in another school made it easier for DeSoto stakeholders to picture that program back on their own campuses.

Direct delivery breakfast to the classroom is the preferred delivery model across schools in DeSoto, says Caguioa. Elementary students don’t have IDs to scan, so paper rosters are sent to the classroom for teachers to record who eats and then send back to the cafeteria. As Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom consultant Liz Campbell is fond of saying, “Once you’ve seen breakfast-in-the-classroom in one school you’ve seen it in one school!” Caguioa and his staff, with help from the Partners, created custom breakfast-in-the-classroom plans for each school building with that building’s stakeholders. At Woodridge Elementary breakfast looks like a well-oiled machine after just two months.

Prep & Staging: Depending on what’s on the menu, preparation for breakfast in the classroom takes place a day ahead or that morning. Woodridge Elementary manager Stephanie had to schedule employees to come in two hours earlier in the morning to accommodate breakfast-in-the-classroom and lunch. Staff stages breakfast in the cafeteria, packing insulated bags for transport on large dollies to be rolled to the classrooms.

Direct Delivery: Insulated bags (customized with DeSoto ISD’s logo–very cool!) are left outside each classroom doorway shortly before the bell rings. A roster is included so teachers can record who takes a breakfast. Large rolling garbage bins are staged in hallways to make it easy for students or teachers to take out breakfast garbage; after breakfast, the bins are rolled out of the hallways to be emptied and stored for the next day.

Breakfast in the Classroom & Classroom Culture: Remember when we said, “Once you’ve seen breakfast in the classroom in one school you’ve seen it in one school?” Well, it can vary from classroom to classroom as well; the program is flexible and easily customized–more reasons to love BIC. In one Woodridge Elementary classroom the teacher would hang a garbage back from the door where students would place their breakfast garbage, and at the end of the period one student would take the garbage off the handle and place it in the rolling bin in the hallway.

Students come in quietly, get their breakfast, perhaps have a brief exchange with the teacher over homework, and take their seat. An educational film is projected onto the blackboard and students have breakfast while they watch, or read, or do homework, or talk with the teacher. It’s calm and relaxed–each time we poke our head into a classroom kids look up and smile, then go immediately back to their meal and whatever task is at hand.

Pick-Up: School nutrition staff come back around with dollies to collect the insulated bags, put equipment away, and turn their attention toward school lunch.

Thank you for reading the second in our multi-part series on our visit to DeSoto ISD. Don’t forget to follow our friends in DeSoto on Facebook and Twitter, and check back soon for the next story in this ongoing series.

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