Community spotlight: Erie students start the day with a healthy meal

Partners Post, March 2016

Breakfast in the Classroom has been a huge success in the Erie City School District, which is on track to serve 1 million breakfasts by the end of this school year.

The district expanded breakfast in the classroom to all 13 of its elementary and middle schools in 2015-16, following a pilot program last school year. The initiative is funded with a $250,000 grant from the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom.

Erie Schools - Breakfast in the ClassroomErie schools are now on track to serve more than twice as many breakfasts this year than were served last year, according to the district. Educators and administrators say the program is paying dividends as kids are better able to focus on school work rather than their hungry bellies.

Courtney Glass, a sixth-grade math teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, said she was shocked to learn that so many students were not eating breakfast before coming to school.

"It's a dual purpose program," Glass said of Breakfast in the Classroom. "It feeds the student while allowing them to focus on their education, which they couldn't do if they didn't have access to breakfast. We have a lot of kids who don't have access to breakfast at home."

"If you're starving your body of food, you're starving your brain of food, as well," she added.

With the traditional federal breakfast program, students had to arrive to school early and report to the cafeteria. This was not always workable, Glass observed.

"By doing breakfast in the classroom, it literally extends the numbers of students you reach exponentially," she said.

And that's a good thing for student learning.

"I feel the kids are more alert, the kids are more awake, and we have fewer issues with kids saying they aren't feeling well," Glass said.

The school district now plans to track data on behavior and achievement to measure the impact that breakfast in the classroom is having.

 

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