Feeding body and minds

Breakfast in the Classroom is delivered in coolers. From left to right: Keelan Long, Zach Rasmussen, Peyton Hoffman Hart and Steven Pedlow snag their breakfast items.

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In the first few weeks of a Breakfast in the Classroom pilot program, Shadow Butte Elementary School teachers have noticed improved behaviors, contributing to a better school culture and a drop in behavior problems.

Thanks to a state grant, students begin their day with positive conversation and a happy tummy! They are ready to work at learning each day.

Studies have shown that offering breakfast in the classroom not only increases participation in the breakfast program, but it also can improve attendance, student behavior and academic achievement.

Currently, with breakfast offered in the classroom, we have increased our breakfast participation from 25 percent to 83 percent. Referrals for inappropriate behaviors during the three weeks of running the program have decreased 16 percent compared to the three weeks prior to the BIC program.

When compared to the same time frame last year, referrals for inappropriate behaviors have decreased by 55 percent. The school will compile attendance and academic data after benchmark testing is completed.

We expect that this program will continue to have a positive impact on these numbers, making breakfast a key activity that allows our students to start the school day ready to learn.

What do the teachers and those at the school think?

So far, it has been easy to implement, with the support of everyone in the building, from the custodians, to the lunchroom ladies, and those who volunteer to deliver the breakfast bags to the individual classrooms.

BIC also allows a little social time, informal conversations with students, and a bit of relaxation for the students before starting the academic day. Students have taken responsibility for cleaning up after themselves and making sure their work space is ready for learning.

Five states in the nation, including Idaho, received funding for pilot breakfast programs, and the Emmett School District was one of the two schools selected in Idaho. Funds are from No Kid Hungry program. For more on the program, read the Idaho State Department of Education press release at tinyurl.com/rsm2uu3

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