For the first time, breakfast was made available to students in the Bass Lake Joint Union Elementary School District the last month of school - a program that will continue in the fall.
“Our staff started noticing that more and more students were coming to our schools and asking for a snack first thing in the morning,” said Glenn Reid, district superintendent. “The idea was also brought up by both parents and staff when we were doing our annual brainstorming for our Local Control Accountability Plan.”
Students at Oakhurst Elementary, Oak Creek Intermediate, Wasuma Elementary and Fresno Flats Community Day School had the opportunity to receive a nutritious breakfast between 7:30 and 8 a.m. served with a breakfast bar, fruit or juice, and choice of milk in mid-May as a pilot program.
“The program has proven to be a huge success in just three weeks ... well received by students and parents,” Reid said. “We are serving about 300 students every day and as a side benefit, it looks like our school tardies have actually decreased. We wanted to shake some of the bugs out during the last month of this school year as we will be starting it day one (Aug. 11) next school year. The morning school bus schedules will be adjusted in the fall to get students to school a little earlier for breakfast.”
It took quite a bit of planning to accommodate the students with breakfast including staffing (servers, supervisors, custodians), and scheduling food delivery to each school.
Reid said the district is reimbursed by federal and state governments about $1.90 per breakfast, and expects the district will ‘break even’ financially.
At OES, an average of 100 students daily are taking advantage of the program. So far, the favorite items seem to be yogurt and breakfast bars. It is hoped that in the future, this program will expand to include warm food items.
“We knew there was a need to provide nourishment for our students in the morning, as many would come to school without having breakfast or bringing a snack,” OES Principal Kathleen Murphy said.
“One of the parents told me that his daughter won’t be late anymore, now that they don’t have to make time for breakfast,” said Sherry Peck, OES school secretary Sherry Peck.
OES fourth-grader Alex Rosales, 10, said he usually eats breakfast at school these days, and really appreciates the fact that he can eat there if he doesn’t get a chance to eat at home.
Reid added that school breakfast programs have also proven to have positive effects on student learning.
“Benefits include improved achievement and grades, increased attendance levels and improved attention levels and behavior at school,” Reid said. “The district will continue to offer this program next year and is hopeful that all interested students will choose to participate.”
In the fall, all district students may take advantage of the breakfast program. Those students who participate in the free and reduced school lunch program will receive breakfast free-of-charge. Paying students will be charged $1.50.
Reid encourages parents with questions to call their school.
Details: OES (559) 642-1580, OCI (559) 642-1570, Wasuma (559) 642-1585, Fresno Flats (559) 642-1578.