Berwyn North School District 98 received a Rise & Shine Illinois school breakfast grant to aid in implementing Breakfast After the Bell at the start of the Fall 2017-18 school year. Since implementing in August, breakfast participation has increased in Berwyn North’s three elementary schools (Havlicek, Prairie Oak, Jefferson) and one middle school (Lincoln).
“We are really proud of our middle school numbers because more of our students are participating in the school breakfast program rather than eating unhealthy food,” said Dee Koehler, District Bookkeeper.
At Lincoln Middle School about 130 students ate breakfast daily when it was served in the cafeteria before school started. Now that the school has a Grab ‘N’ Go program, close to 500 students eat breakfast daily.
“Change is always a challenge for anyone and we thought we were going to get some push back, but we didn’t. It has run smoothly.” said Regina Johnson, District Business Manager.
Ms. Johnson worked closely with a Rise and Shine Illinois School Breakfast Coordinator that helped her to establish a breakfast stakeholder team, prepared the team to meet with the Superintendent, organized a field trip to a nearby school district that had already implemented Breakfast After the Bell so the team could see a program in action, and thought through ideas and strategies with the team to set up a seamless process.
“We didn’t want Breakfast After the Bell to impact instructional time or have any of the responsibility fall on the teachers,” said Ms. Johnson.
“We decided the perfect time for Breakfast After the Bell would be in between the time teachers are taking attendance and students are getting settled in their classrooms,” said Ms. Johnson.
Lincoln Middle School – Grab ‘N’ Go to the Classroom
Breakfast staff monitor the Grab ‘N’ Go stations set up in designated areas on each floor. Teachers send students out for a breakfast, milk, and fruit. Students then return to their classrooms to eat breakfast. Teachers taking attendance in Infinite Campus (student information system) check if students have taken a breakfast. Garbage cans are located throughout the halls for students to dispose of their garbage.
Elementary Schools – Breakfast in the Classroom
Breakfast staff go to each classroom with a cart full of breakfast packs, milk, and fruit. Once the cart is outside of a classroom teachers ask students who want a breakfast to pull their breakfast card (cards display student’s name, class, and bar code) from the sleeve and proceed to the hallway. The card is collected at the time the student picks up a breakfast. After breakfast is over, the staff takes the cards to the cafeteria where they are scanned for the day’s count. Breakfast cards are then returned to each classroom for the next day.
Pre-K program assistants get breakfast and bring it back to the classroom for the students.
“More students than ever before at all of our schools are eating breakfast since implementing Breakfast After the Bell,” said Ms. Koehler.
“We have had nothing but positive feedback from our teachers who see that students are more attentive and alert after having breakfast,” said Ms. Johnson.
“Breakfast After the Bell in the classroom captures all students, making it more welcoming for those who want to partake with their peers. They are eating breakfast with their classmates and are not singled out anymore because they are all eating together,” said Ms. Johnson.