I am sure we are more than familiar with the age-old adage of breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Numerous studies over recent years support the importance of a balanced breakfast as part of a nutritious daily diet. Schools across the nation with Breakfast After the Bell have mitigated a host of student hunger symptoms including increased academic performance, better behavior and decreased tardiness, absenteeism, and school nurse visits.
Although the pros of increased breakfast participation far outweigh the few cons, many administrators find it difficult to gain program support from their staff, students, and other school stakeholders. Here is a quick reference to overcoming the most common hurdles of Breakfast After the Bell.
Establishing the Need
With the onset of adolescence, the sleep cycles of young teens can shift up to two hours later, impacting the ability to get a full night’s rest. As a biological consequence, teenagers find it more difficult to wake up early and arrive at school in time for breakfast. As many of us have experienced, hungry students are not happy students.
What to Expect
An effective and sustainable Breakfast After the Bell program requires careful planning and stakeholder support. Some schools report slight issues during launch, which is typical when rolling out any new program. Luckily, 62% of schools who have launched breakfast programs did so without encountering any obstacles. The other 39% only experienced slight inconveniences.
Successful principals work well with teachers and students to address program implementation concerns. Involve stakeholders starting at the planning stages to garner support and ensure an easier launch. Training is also critical for a smooth rollout. Gathering student feedback helps plan popular meals with increased participation. Check out a Baker’s Dozen of Quick Tips to Increase Participation to better fuel your launch.
Address the Mess
To accommodate the morning meal, schools should present a plan to dispose of increased waste. Cleanup headaches can be easily cured by quickly removing trash and keeping stock of the necessary cleaning supplies.
A simple modification to the staffing hours of janitorial and cafeteria employees can easily streamline the program. Get creative when reevaluating your breakfast program. Some schools have found increasing or shifting staffing hours for distribution and waste removal to be beneficial while others opt to alter delivery models, to minimize potential interruptions. Proper employee training will also boost morale and program acceptance.
There are three leading models for Breakfast After the Bell programs:
“Grab and Go” Breakfast – distribution of prepackaged breakfasts served to students in strategic high traffic areas throughout the school
Second Chance Breakfast – Designated location(s) where students can get breakfast during an extended break – typically between first and second periods
Breakfast in the Classroom – Direct delivery of breakfasts to classrooms using a mobile POS solution
Taking everything mentioned into consideration, select the model that best fits your particular program needs.
Survey results suggest that up to 87% of schools who have implemented Breakfast After the Bell programs have produced a host of benefits – including an improved learning environment that supplements school efforts to effectively educate students. Give breakfast a try to set students on a path to lifetime academic success!