Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, Illinois schools with 70% or more of the student population eligible for free or reduced–price meals will begin offering Breakfast After the Bell – which means serving breakfast as part of the school day. Breakfast as part of the school day increases access to the nutrition all students require each morning to learn and succeed in the classroom.

Breakfast After the Bell Backstory:

Breakfast in the cafeteria before school starts doesn’t reach most students. Students may not get to school early enough, opt to hang out with friends, or aren’t hungry early in the morning. As a result thousands of students in Illinois start their morning without breakfast.

In Illinois, the school breakfast program only reaches 47.6% of students who are eating a free or reduced-price lunch, making us 43rd in the nation for breakfast participation.

The Good News:

In 2016, the Illinois General Assembly unanimously passed Breakfast After the Bell legislation ensuring students in 890 schools across the state have access to a healthy breakfast to start their day. The legislation was signed into law August 19, 2016. Schools may choose a Breakfast After the Bell delivery model (Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘N’ Go, or Second Chance Breakfast) that best suits the students.

Delivery Models:

Breakfast After the Bell models have been proven to overcome the barriers associated with the traditional cafeteria breakfast (breakfast before school begins). These three innovative delivery models can increase participation and remove the social stigma associated with the program.

Students pick-up bagged or boxed breakfast from mobile carts in high traffic areas (hallways, entryways). Students can eat in the classroom or designated areas on school grounds before and after the bell has rung.

Breakfast is delivered to each classroom after school begins. Students eat breakfast in the classroom during the first few minutes of the day when activities (attendance, turning in homework, morning announcements, etc.) are occurring.
Schools can serve breakfast in the same manner as they would with Grab ‘N’ Go. Students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often after first period or midway between breakfast and lunch.

Start or enhance your Breakfast After the Bell program by:


School Resources:

See Breakfast after the Bell in Action

Golder – Breakfast in the Classroom

Urbana Breakfast After the Bell

Berwyn Breakfast after the Bell

Grant Opportunities:

Community Eligibility Provision:

Toolkits & Blueprints to get started and sustain Breakfast After the Bell:

School Breakfast Reports:

Facts and Figures:

General Breakfast Resources: