Nubia Sanchez, Compliance Officer at Acero Charter Schools remembers waiting a couple of weeks after implementing Breakfast After the Bell in SY17-18 to hear complaints or issues with Grab ‘N’ Go to the Classroom but upon hearing hardly none thought, “this is too good to be true.”
“We expected things to be a lot more difficult, but it was actually easy,” said Sanchez.
The Acero Charter School Network comprised of 15 schools falls under the Breakfast After the Bell law which states that schools that have 70% or more of the student population eligible for free or reduced-price meals must serve breakfast as part of the school day.
Prior to implementation Sanchez did a lot of planning at each school to ensure the program ran successfully. She met with principals to work through the logistics of each school. Each school has two Grab ‘N’ Go stations except for one school that has three stations. Each station is set-up near an entrance. Sanchez considered what it would look like in the classroom and made sure each school had the necessary materials. She worked with the food management company to plan the menu. Cold options were decided for Grab ‘N’ Go to simplify the process. However, warm breakfast items along with cold are served in the cafeteria from 7:30 – 7:45 am. After the traditional cafeteria breakfast time has ended those students head to class while students entering the building are able to grab a breakfast from a station on their way to class.
Breakfast participation at one Acero Charter School – Jovita Idar Elementary has increased from 30% to 60%.
“Students don’t want to show up for the early breakfast because of the stigma around that so having breakfast available for everyone makes it less uncool,” said Sanchez.
Principal Sandra Medina-Alva of Jovita Idar Elementary believes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and sees the implementation of Breakfast After the Bell as a good change for the Acero schools and students. “It’s important for students to start the day with a healthy habit – eating breakfast. We are communicating a positive message throughout our schools, that it’s not cool to skip breakfast because breakfast is part of being healthy.”