School Breakfast in the News: April 2014

chalkboard and newspaperAnd just like that, there goes April! Time is absolutely flying by, and the end of the school year is rushing toward us—summer will be here before we know it. It’s been a busy month for us at Beyond Breakfast, too; don’t forget about the terrific school breakfast and grant opportunities available through our friends at Fuel Up to Play 60 and Action for Healthy Kids, and check out our current series about our time at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Austin earlier this month. We also have several amazing webinars coming up in the Webinar Wednesday series—there is still time to register, and earn CEUs!

At the end of each month we pick out some of our favorite headlines to share with our readers. These success stories illustrate the hard work of your school nutrition colleagues around the country; we find them so inspiring, and collecting stories like these can help you make the case—to your principal, your staff, and your administrators—for school breakfast, and other school wellness programs.

When it comes to breakfast-in-the-classroom, people are getting the message—it works! In West Virginia, schools are launching their statewide “Feed to Achieve” school breakfast program well ahead of schedule; implementation is required by SY 2014-15, but many W. Va. schools are rolling out breakfast well ahead of the mandate. The Grab-n-Go and “second chance breakfast” models are two strategies SN professionals are using to increase participation.

And because equipment often makes a difference, we simply had to share this story from West Hartford, Connecticut, where students at Braeburn Elementary School are delivering school breakfasts themselves—in Radio Flyer wagons! What an absolutely creative, adorable idea for classroom breakfast delivery—kudos, Braeburn!

Getting the kids involved is always a great way to build positive word-of-mouth for any school meal program, and culinary competitions are always popular. Whether the kids compete, or on the panel of judges, you can engage them and make them part of the process; investment yields participation! In Mobile, Alabama, child nutrition director Susan Yates organized a Commodities Cook-off, challenging cafeteria staff to get creative with their USDA commodity allocation.

Another topic we’ve been hearing more about is total wellness policies in schools. Whether you are addressing allergy management, nutrition, or physical activity, it’s important to familiarize yourself with programs that are finding success;  not only does it get you inspired, it gives you an idea of what a sustainable, replicable program can look like! In Durham schools, fresh fruits and vegetables, school breakfast, and a required thirty minutes of exercise daily for K-8 students are all part of the total wellness policy package. Looking at wellness policies from another angle, this editorial by Chef Ann Cooper asks whether nutrition education isn’t the missing component that will help kids make the connection between food, exercise, and wellness. “It’s not fair,” writes Cooper, “to expect kids to switch from cookies to kale without telling them why it’s important.”

And we know May is going to get off to a great start, as we celebrate School Nutrition Employee Week, May 5-9, 2014. Make sure you follow the School Nutrition Association on Facebook to join the fun!

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