The got breakfast? Advisory Board presented a panel discussion at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) on July 11. It was moderated by Brian Parsley, President of WeSkill and attended by school foodservice directors and managers from across the country. This stimulating conversation delved into the barriers to Classroom Breakfast, economic challenges, and suggestions for maximizing participation.
Advisory Board members from the got breakfast? Foundation participating in this panel included Tami Cline, PhD, RD, SNS, Cline Consulting and Y-Pulse, LLC; Cecelia Enault,Child Nutrition Coordinator, Jefferson Parish Public Schools, Jon Dickl, MBA, SNS, Director, Food & Nutrition Services, Knox County Schools, Tony Geraci, Director, Child Nutrition, Baltimore City Public Schools; Sonya Kaster, RD, LDN, SNS, PHX Consulting. As a member of the Advisory Board, I too took part and wanted to share some of the key messages expressed by our expert guests.
• Whether city or rural, high or low free and reduced population – the goal is the same: Feed children breakfast. Use the tools you already have – professional and school support. Tie in with those folks that your kids can relate to. – Tony Geraci, Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City Public Schools
• Results of an April 2010 School Breakfast Cost and Participation Survey were presented by Advisory Board member Tami Cline, PhD, RD, SNS. A key finding: “Increases in participation are dramatic after implementing Classroom Breakfast.” In addition, costs associated with serving Classroom Breakfast or at alternate sites are not more costly than traditional service. In fact, reported costs for this survey indicated that it may be less.
Things to remember when implementing breakfast in the classroom:
• Bring in all the stakeholders – administration, custodial, teachers, etc.
• Start with a manageable number of pilot campuses – find campus champions who will spread the message of the importance of.breakfast; one successful campus to build on is the best way to start. Build on the successes. One key success is the relationships fostered between students and teachers. A third grade teacher in one of our schools said that the students trusted them more and connected with them better after implementing the Breakfast in Classroom program. – Jon Dickl, MBA, SNS, Director, Food & Nutrition Services, Knox County Schools in Tennessee
• Remember to keep the plan flexible. Each campus will have their own unique circumstances; tailor your program to their needs.
• Speak in terms that mean something to your audience. Principals: A healthier child translates to higher attendance rate, more state funds. Teachers: well-nourished students can learn better, less classroom disruptions, fewer morning nurse visits.
• Look at all your options: Breakfast in the classroom, second chance breakfast after 1st period, breakfast carts in the halls or wherever students congregate. – Cecilia Enault, RD, Coordinator of Child Nutrition for Jefferson Parish Pubiic Schools in Louisiana