A guest post by School Nutrition Foundation Director Julie Abrera.
Friday, November 9: Cochran Elementary School
What a beautiful morning in Louisville! We arrived at Cochran Elementary in Louisville, KY, and were greeted by this sign:
Once inside, Principal Tim Foster, and Julia Bauscher, Director of Community Nutrition Services, were working with school staff to prepare for the event.
There was a lot of activity at the school; not only to prepare for the media event but—more importantly—to assemble breakfast-in-the-classroom coolers for delivery. The foodservice staff was packing up a great breakfast of pumpkin cranberry muffins, whole bananas, string cheese, and milk. The muffins had been made at the central commissary. (You will find the recipe below.)
A sea of red coolers awaited distribution to classrooms by 4th and 5th graders, who arrive early for the task.
As I followed two students on their delivery route, I turned the corner and saw a giant pear and pineapple greeting students.
The pear and pineapple were two fraternity brothers from the nearby University of Louisville campus. Students high-fived the guys as they went to the library, cafeteria, or gym, to participate in a before-school activity.
The first bell rang and students quietly made their way to the classrooms. Before eating, student announcements were made over the PA system, a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the principal shared an affirmation. Between the hugs, affirmation, and breakfast, it was going to be a great day at Cochran!
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens, along with local stakeholders, visited Mrs. Wesley’s classroom. Breakfast was laid out on a table for the students to pick up as they entered.
Dr. Hargens joined a group of students and talked about the benefits of breakfast and what students liked most about the program (eating with their friends, not waiting in line in the cafeteria for breakfast before school).
Within 10 minutes breakfast was over and the adults headed back to the cafeteria for a press conference. All of the local stakeholders spoke about the positive benefits of the program:
- Dr. Donna Hargens, Superintendent, JCPS
- Martin Laffoon , Walmart Stores market manager
- Brent McKim, President, Jefferson County Teachers Association
- Rosie Young, Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals
- Brian Riendeau, Executive Director, Dare to Care Food Bank
- Julia Bauscher, Director of Community Nutrition Services, JCPS
The success of breakfast-in-the-classroom in JCPS can be attributed to teamwork, communication, and commitment to the students of Jefferson County. My takeaway from the event: anything is possible when working toward a common goal; and of course—breakfast!
Enjoy this recipe for the Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins – they are delicious warm, or at room temperature.
JCPS School and Community Nutrition Services Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Makes 24 muffins
Taste tested by BeyondBreakfast!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 lb. can pumpkin
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ c. oil
- ½ c. orange juice concentrate
- ½ c. water
- 1/3 c. dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare muffin tins with either muffin papers or spray with non-stick baking spray
- Add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together in large mixing bowl
- With standing mixer or hand held mixer, mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine dry ingredients
- Add eggs, orange juice concentrate and water. Mix for one minute on low speed, then for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Scrape bowl and add pumpkin. Mix on low speed until pumpkin has mixed in well
- Add oil, mix in well on low speed
- Stir in cranberries
- Divide batter evenly among muffin tins
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes