“Our school is not required under the law to offer Breakfast After the Bell, we just do it,” said Miguel Medel, Foodservice Manager at Abbott Middle School in Elgin School District U-46.
Breakfast participation numbers were down at Abbott, only serving 80-90 breakfasts a day. To boost breakfast participation numbers and have more students eating breakfast Medel started a breakfast cart as a pilot program.“It is a good tool for the students to get food in them and get them focused in the morning,” said Medel.
Medel received support from the principal, teachers, and custodian staff to initiate the pilot. “I talked to the principal first, and then went classroom to classroom to talk to each teacher. I wanted the teachers to know that we would do the breakfast cart at a time that would not be disruptive or affect curriculum.”
“I continue with my lesson plan while students are eating. Having breakfast in the classroom does not faze us out of our educational process and it shouldn’t,” said Erik K. Abbott 7th grade science teacher.
After the month long pilot was up Medel talked to the staff again to get their input and was met with nothing but positive feedback from the pilot. “There was no stopping it. It was a huge success so we just kept it going.”
“With the presence of the cart students are able to have their food, get energized, and are ready to learn,” said Jesus Diaz, Abbott 7th & 8th grade teacher.
Traditional breakfast is served in the cafeteria for students that arrive early, have morning practice or an activity before school starts.
A few minutes before the bell rings traditional breakfast winds down in the cafeteria. The cart filled to the brim with a variety of breakfast items then makes its way to the 3rd floor. Once the bell rings students fill the hallways. Some opt to grab breakfast from the cart before going into their classrooms. With the scan of their ID’s students grab what they want from the cart and head to class. Once students are in their classrooms the cart stops at each room for students to come out and get breakfast. Teachers also take the opportunity to grab a breakfast for themselves from the cart.
Medel encouraged the staff to start an account so they can get breakfast in the morning and eat with their students.
“I myself get breakfast from the cart. It’s like having a big family. We all have breakfast together,” said Diaz.
In the span of 15 minutes Medel had hit all the classrooms and served nearly 250 students breakfast which included the students that ate breakfast in the cafeteria.
“Breakfast After the Bell with the cart has morphed into something that is very doable and usable for everyone,” said Kathy Davis, Abbott’s Principal.