May 1st is National School Lunch Hero Day. NWLSD's Food Service Department has served 198,818 breakfast and lunch meals since schools closed in March.
Three NWLSD Schools Receive 2020 Champion of School Breakfast Award
CINCINNATI, OH - The Ohio School Breakfast Partners recently named Struble Elementary, Taylor Elementary and Pleasant Run Elementary as 2020 Champion of School Breakfast Award Winners. The award was given to schools that implement collaborative and innovative school breakfast practices.
This is the first year that the Northwest Local schools received the award. Since last year, the district’s Food Service Department has made monumental changes to eliminate barriers surrounding breakfast, including addressing and decimating the stigma associated with free and reduced breakfast. Their resolution was to create “Breakfast in the Classroom” (BIC).
BIC moves away from the traditional manner that schools provide breakfast. Instead of students eating in the cafeteria, students are served breakfast in the classroom during the first 15 minutes of class, when routine activities like morning announcements and attendance are done. The implementation allows staff and students the added benefit of not having to worry about morning bus schedules and drop off times.
“When students arrive at school, they are often preoccupied with getting to class and talking to friends. Even if they are hungry, they do not always take the time to visit the cafeteria. Having breakfast in the classroom really addresses the concerns we had surrounding time.” said Lisa Robison, Food Service Supervisor for the Northwest Local School District.
The switch brought a significant change in the number of students who chose to consume breakfast. This year, the participating schools increased their breakfast participation rate from 20-30% to 70-80%.
With BIC, all children have the opportunity to start the day fed and ready to learn. The program not only ensures that students have access to daily nutrition, it eliminates the financial pressures and burdens that are often felt by staff.
Prior to the implementation of BIC, we were finding that some of our staff members were spending their own money to buy food items for students to eat when they were hungry, said Robison. “We knew we really needed to address all sides of the issue, so we began brainstorming the best methods of providing for our students and to address all of our concerns.”
Robison wanted to focus on eliminating the stigma surrounding school breakfast. In the past, students who ate school breakfast in the cafeteria were students who qualified for free and reduced breakfast. The stigma surrounding being identified as low-income kept many students from eating, regardless of income level. She found that implementing BIC not only removed the stigmas, it allowed more students to have the opportunity to start the day with the fuel they needed to learn.
“We recognized the importance of eating breakfast while also being cognizant of the stigma that tends to come with free and reduced meal status,” said Robison. “Because of this, we decided to offer BIC so that all students, not just those who qualify, had access to a nutritious breakfast on a daily basis.”