At Smiley Middle School last week, Kitchen Manager Misty Rabb and two of her staff made their rounds to 14 classrooms with cereal, muffins, juice and milk. On the way back to the kitchen as students began to arrive, she was bombarded by friendly pokes, sly smiles, and even song: “I got to move it, move it!” giggled one student as she danced and ran the other direction. Misty obviously has a great relationship with all the teachers, administration, and especially students at the school. Her presence helps make staff appreciate Breakfast in the Classroom even more, despite the initial doubts most schools have. Misty and her staff have overcome them!
The kitchen staff know what menu items students prefer and when to pickup leftovers. They are also able to get back to the kitchen with more time to prep for lunch. They are trying to convince the adjacent charter school, which shares campus and kitchen space with them, to make the switch to Breakfast in the Classroom as well, so no kitchen staff have to spend time serving cafeteria breakfast on the line.
Smiley’s administrative and teaching staff are pleased as well. An assistant principal noted the program’s importance to students; this week, she had an extremely late student come in whose first concern was whether or not she could still get breakfast. Most teachers begin the day’s lesson the minute that the bell rings, and they feel Breakfast in the Classroom contributes to building a community atmosphere in the classroom. One seventh-grade teacher commented, “I used to keep crackers for hungrier students to eat in the hall when they complained of headaches. Now, with Breakfast in the Classroom, I don’t have to do that.” When teachers verbally encourage students to eat (and drink milk), participation rates are especially high. Last October, 77% of students were eating school breakfast at Smiley!
Students have come to count on their classroom breakfasts, and more students now are getting something healthy in their stomachs to start the day. Anyone is welcome to see this program in action at Smiley Middle School!
Abby Isaacson, MPH, serves as one of the Breakfast Expansion Ambassadors for Hunger Free Colorado. Learn more about the organization and school breakfast programs in Colorado by visit www.hungerfreecolorado.org.