Breakfast in the Classroom to be served to Pre-K – 5
By Kathi Bliss
Lockhart students will be getting an extra boost of nutrition in the classroom this year, thanks to an innovative change planned by the Lockhart Independent School District.
The program, called Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), was suggested by Assistant Superintendent Cliff Gardner, who has seen such programs in other districts, and was eager to start the program in cooperation with the district’s new food service provider, Southwest Foodservice Excellence, which was awarded the district’s foodservice contract this summer.
“When BIC programs are in place, you see a significant decrease in behavior problems, and the kids have a better attention span and pay more attention,” he said. “Making sure the children have breakfast just makes a tremendous difference in the classroom.”
Gardner said LISD piloted the program at both Carver Kindergarten and Plum Creek Elementary last year in cooperation with Aramark, and will continue at both of those campuses beginning with the first day of class on Monday. Other campuses, he said, will ramp into the program, with a daily breakfast planned to be served in every elementary campus by the third week of class.
“The principals are going to send letters home explaining the BIC program and letting the parents know the exact start date, but we intend to have it started by the third week for all the schools,” Gardner said.
If the program goes well, he said, the district intends to implement it at the Lockhart Junior High School either late this calendar year, or early in the second semester.
“We’re going to serve breakfast every day, to every child in our elementary schools,” he said. “The breakfasts are going to be things that they like – we have kids that like rice cereal, or pancakes and sausage on a stick, so those are the kinds of nutritional and tasty meals that we’re looking for. And they will be served free to every child in the district, regardless whether they qualify for the free-or-reduced lunch program.”
Gardner said funding for the breakfast program will be provided in large part by the Federal government, as district intends to be reimbursed for the children who qualify and register for free-or-reduced lunch.
“What the BIC program really does is increase participation in the free-and-reduced program,” he said.
For around 10 minutes at the beginning of each day, Gardner said, students will have their breakfast served in class, and then begin the instructional day after they finish eating. However, he said, if a child comes to school tardy, they will not be penalized, and will still have the opportunity to eat.
The change, however, has moved up the start-time for classes at the elementary campuses. First bell will sound at each of the four elementary campuses at 7:40 a.m., with the tardy bell at 7:45 a.m. Students will have breakfast, and the instructional day will end at 3:20 p.m. at all locations, except Plum Creek Elementary, which will release at 3:15 p.m. Carver Kindergarten classes start at 7:50 a.m., and release at 3:15 p.m.
Southwest Foodservice Excellence brings additional changes in student nutrition, which Gardner said made them a compelling choice to replace Aramark as the district’s foodservice contractor.
“More than 80 percent of their food is made from scratch, so we’re talking about a lot of good, nutritious food for the kids,” he said. “And they wanted to increase the options and availability of things, both to students and teachers, and that just makes them a great fit for us.”
Those changes include all-you-can-eat salad and fruit bars for teachers and students at all campuses, and an increase of entrée choices, with as many as five options at the elementary campuses, ten at the junior high, and up to 17 at the high school campuses.
At campuses where the BIC program is not available, breakfast will be served to students at the cost of $1.20 per meal, or 30 cents for the free-or-reduced program. Adult breakfasts are $1.50. Lunches at the elementary campuses are $1.65, and $1.90 at the secondary campuses. Free-or-reduced lunches are 40 cents, and adult meals are $2.75.