Erie’s Public Schools, in partnership with Metz Culinary Management, has received a “District of Distinction” award for its Breakfast in the Classroom program. The District of Distinction award is published by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with innovative ideas and programs for its students.
Since the Breakfast in the Classroom program was implemented at Erie’s Public Schools in 2014, results have shown that student tardiness, nurse visits and behavioral issues within the district have decreased overall.
“Breakfast is vital to children’s performance in school,” said Jennifer Johns, Metz Culinary Management Assistant General Manager at Erie’s Public Schools. “It is proven to decrease hunger, decrease risk of obesity, increase concentration, improve grades and promote better behavior.”
Initiated in 2014 with the help of a $250,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Breakfast in the Classroom program has expanded from four pilot schools to 13 currently in the district, delivering to approximately 360 classrooms each day.
Every day, cafeteria staff managed by Metz Culinary Management delivers breakfast to each classroom in the school. The breakfast consists of milk, juice, fruit, and a “breakfast break,” which is either a cracker or breakfast bar accompanied by cereal made with whole grains.
Prior to the initiation of the program, student breakfast participation in Erie’s Public Schools was minimal. Erie’s Public Schools receives federal funding to provide free breakfasts to all students in the cafeteria before school starts. However, many students have trouble arriving early enough, resulting in low participation rates. The Breakfast in the Classroom program removed this obstacle by making eating breakfast in the classroom a routine part of every student’s day.
With the program in place, the number of breakfasts served to students in the classroom has nearly doubled from its initial run in 2014 (491,060 meals) through the end of the 2015-16 school year (899,470 meals).