Cynthia Baucom knows the importance of getting breakfast to children. As the Food Service Director for Fremont Re-2 School District, she spends her days ensuring all children in Fremont have access to balanced meals while at school. Both elementaries (Fremont and Penrose) and Fremont Middle School serve Breakfast in the Classroom.While their systems are not without challenges, they are smoothly run. The cafeteria staff make the job look simple.
When I visited Fremont Middle School, Cynthia and I arrived well before school began. Upon entering the cafeteria, we saw a stage with coolers and thermal bags lined in particular order, each destined for specific classrooms. As soon as the bell chimed, students of all grades entered the cafeteria, collected their bags and coolers and tromped off to class. One P.E. class remained in the cafeteria to eat breakfast and take attendance. Withing ten minutes, all the bags had disappeared, so we set off to see breakfast in action. To our chagrin and happiness, we totally missed breakfast! Many rooms showed no evidence of breakfast for they were already cleaned-up and starting on classwork. The remaining classrooms were nearly finished with breakfast and all were engaged in academic activities. We both left the school shocked and impressed. Congratulations Susan McDowall on running such a smooth service!
Our next stop was Fremont Elementary. When we pulled up to the cafeteria I was a bit confused as I looked at the building which was too small to be an entire school of 400+ students. Cynthia explained that the school is across the street from the cafeteria. Sure enough, I looked at the street and saw the orange cones blocking access to the street during the school day so children can safely cross back and forth. I have to admit that at first thought, I remembered the school where I taught in California and how the hallways there were outside, so it wasn’t that unusual. But, then I thought about the snow in Colorado. My face must have shown my intrigue and concern, because Cynthia quickly explained that yes, the cafeteria staff do struggle to get the carts of food across the street, but they don’t complain. She said it with such admiration and pride that I couldn’t wait to meet the women behind Fremont Elementary’s Breakfast in the Classroom.
Sure enough, inside the school, both Vicky Lampton and Bev Hand had a system in place to deliver the meals and milks to each classroom efficiently. After delivery of the food, we waited for a bit until the students arrived for school. As we sat, they all discussed the school and greeted the staff and children. Breakfast here is a community event; from bringing the food into the classroom for a very pregnant teacher to knowing that there were two new students in one of the classrooms, they all helped eachother out. Same as with the middle school, we went in search of classrooms to watch the eating in progress soon after the students entered the rooms. Again, the students and staff were on task and starting school work within 10 minutes! Well, the primary students were using clean desks under 15 minutes, but that short amount of time is still wonderful. We all know the benfits of a complete breakfast and the positive effects of breakfast on students. Thinking of that, this may be the best use of 10 classroom minutes ever!