On Site and On Set: Breakfast in the Classroom in Garfield Heights City Schools, Ohio

The third city on our Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom storytelling tour was in Garfield Heights, Ohio.  During our two-day behind-the-scenes tour of Garfield Heights City Schools we were able to see their overwrap machines in action, observe breakfast-in-the-classroom satellite delivery from the central kitchen, and talk to stakeholders about the transformative power of breakfast-in-the-classroom.

A large central kitchen and two overwrap machines allow the Garfield Heights food services staff to prepare meals that are then delivered to other campuses for the morning breakfast service. Delivery is accomplished using the band’s equipment/instrument truck, which is not in use so early in the morning.

Breakfast preparation in one kitchen, then loading food onto trucks for delivery, then offloading food and staging it for distribution at a second location—if it sounds like a lot of work, it is! The work is worth it, said Garfield Heights stakeholders, when you see the benefits which include:

  • High participation & student satisfaction: Scratch cooking in a central kitchen allows GHCS food service to prepare meals students love, which translates into higher participation.
  • Food service staff morale: When students are happy and participation is high, food service staff also experience a sense of satisfaction.
  • Program growth: Breakfast-in-the-classroom translated into additional revenue that food services was able to re-invest back into the program to benefit student nutrition.

The Partners for BIC team had the opportunity to observe breakfast-in-the-classroom delivery in Garfield Heights as well. We spent one morning with the students and staff at Elmwood Elementary, where K-5 students enjoy “Grab-and-Go” breakfast service. Three breakfast carts are stationed in hallways around the school; each student is assigned a cart and selects their breakfast from that cart each morning. Adult staff are on hand working as facilitators to make sure students take all reimbursable components and get to their classrooms. A few tiny hands dropped their milk carton or fruit, but the lost items were quickly retrieved and students on their way to class. Cart locations made it simple for late students to grab their breakfast on the way to the classroom as well.

We can’t wait to share the final behind-the-scenes breakfast-in-the-classroom video from Garfield Heights with you! In the meantime, here are a few additional BIC tips and takeaways from our time visiting GHCS:

Give teachers (and students) simple tools to remind them what constitutes a reimbursable meal, like an infographic that can be displayed on the wall or blackboard.

Encourage teachers to make breakfast a part of the academic day—just another part of the lesson plan.

Stocking classrooms with essentials—utensils, napkins, cleaning supplies—keeps the day running smoothly for teachers, custodians, and school nutrition staff.

We want to extend our thanks to everyone at Garfield Heights City Schools for hosting our visit and welcoming our entire team. Stay tuned for notes and photos from our recent trip to Charleston County School District in South Carolina. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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