This post was written by School Nutrition Foundation Director Julie Abrera. Julie recently visited Knox County Public Schools to get an update on how their breakfast-in-the-classroom program is going as we enter the 2013-14 school year.
My first stop to see how universal BIC is doing in Knoxville had me on the road before 7 a.m. to visit Sarah Moore Green (SMG) Elementary School. I passed many students waiting for the bus in the early morning rain, and was glad to know that a hot breakfast would be there for them when they arrived at school.
The kitchen was in full work mode when I walked in, assembling sausage biscuits and loading fresh fruit, cereal, milk and juice in coolers and staging them for students to pick and deliver to the classrooms. By 7:20 a.m., students were quietly making their way to their classrooms to start the day.
Everyone was eating and listening to morning announcements when I stopped by Ms. Lynn’s 4th grade classroom. She said that her students enjoyed the breakfast time and she liked the structure it gave to the start of the day, knowing that everyone was fed and ready to start learning.
As breakfast wound down and the school day started, I stopped by the principal’s office with Jon Dickl, Knox County School Nutrition Director. Principal Reggie Mosley warmly welcomed me to the Sarah Moore Green campus. He was incredibly supportive of the breakfast program; Principal Mosely talked about the reduced number of late/tardy students, and said he couldn’t imagine the day starting without breakfast-in-the-classroom. His endorsement of BIC had me trying to convince him to go on the road to share its benefits with more principals!
After Sarah Moore Green, we jumped in the Knox County School Nutrition chariot to do four other school visits. All of these schools continue to see gains in breakfast participation through the Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom-funded BIC program.
Cafeteria managers were utilizing the new equipment like combi-ovens and refrigeration and freezer units to accommodate more meals, serve hot items, and have a varied, student-friendly menu. Jon Dickl noted that lunch participation numbers are on the rise as well. While an increase in lunch participation can be attributed to many different factors, there was consensus among Knox County School Nutrition staff that more students enjoying the food at breakfast has been a good marketing tool for eating school lunch.
Many thanks to the great school nutrition staff, teachers, principals and school administrators in Knox County. Your enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to creating the best possible environment for students to learn, grow and thrive in Knox County inspires SNF every day.
Are you interested in implementing breakfast-in-the-classroom, but don’t know where to start? The School Nutrition Foundation’s upcoming webinar entitled “Sustainable Breakfast-in-the-Classroom Programs Start with Effective Assessments” is on Wednesday, October 16–we hope you’ll join us! Register online now.