“Simplicity is key here,” said Matthew Brue, Superintendent of Community Unit School District (CUSD) #202 when talking about the Grab ‘N’ Go breakfast program at Porta Junior/Senior High School in Petersburg Illinois.
The layout of the high school and the building opening early for students taking early bird courses made the Grab ‘N’ Go Breakfast After the Bell delivery model a simple concept to put in place.
Starting at 7:00 a.m. students come in through the main entrance which leads directly to the cafeteria and are able to choose from three to four prepackaged breakfasts. Students run their breakfast items pass the cafeteria staff person then head to their classrooms.
Breakfast is accessible to students in the cafeteria throughout the morning. Students coming in for their regular classes at 8:00 a.m. can pick up a breakfast and eat in the cafeteria, commons area, or their classrooms. Students can even take breakfast to their lockers and munch on it all day long if they like.
If students go to class without grabbing breakfast upon entering the building there is time in between early bird classes and the regular day that they can go to the cafeteria to grab a breakfast.
“We wanted to make sure that we were able to meet the needs of the kids as much as possible – which meant getting breakfast to them before or in between classes,” said Brue.
For the most part breakfasts are served cold but once or twice a week a hot breakfast is made available. “It will be something like warm French Toast Sticks with syrup that they can grab and go,” said Brue.
Before implementing the Grab ‘N’ Go program in May of 2016, breakfast was not offered in the high school.
“There was a growing need to offer breakfast. Our offices were supplying students with food on a regular basis. Students weren’t feeling well or having discipline issues because they were hungry. Hunger was a disruption for them,” said Brue.
Brue sees implementing Breakfast After the Bell as his duty, “knowing that all our kids have an opportunity to have a good meal in the morning and that they start the day off right is our most important job as teachers and educators. We want our students to succeed and it’s hard to do that if they come to school hungry in the morning. We are doing the smart thing here making sure all of our kids are on the right track when they start their day.”