The director of the school nutrition program for Fitchburg Public Schools, Jill Lucius, is using innovative strategies tailored toward the needs of the students to serve a healthy breakfast at Memorial Middle School. With little time in the morning, and the students preference to socialize with their peers rather than coming to school early for a hot breakfast, the option of a grab-n-go breakfast was the best fit.
Breakfast is now served via kiosks strategically positioned in high traffic areas in the hallway. The carts house all the essentials for a reimbursable meal including prepacked items, such as whole grain cereal, which speeds up the process. Students can also select milk and a piece of fruit. Using a wireless keypad for students to enter their four-digit PIN number also reduces wait time for students. On the launch day of the program, food-service staff were able to serve 400 students in 20 minutes.
Lucius used several steps to promote the school breakfast program including:
- A memo to teachers prior to the launch day informing them of the change and the importance of breakfast to encourage their students to take advantage of it.
- Met with the Student Advisory Group to get their input for the kick off event.
- Applied for a grant from Fuel Up to Play and received posters and milk coolers for the carts.
Lucius invited local luminaries including representatives from Fun’N’ Fitchburg, staff from Project Bread, and state Rep. Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg to the kick off event. And, the Telegram highlighted the school breakfast program earlier this school year.
The district also celebrated National School Breakfast Week in March to promote their breakfast program. Schools served breakfast for lunch, which is always a huge hit with students, according to Lucius. Students who purchased a breakfast were also automatically entered in for a chance to win prizes donated by various companies including a laptop. In addition, foodservice staff wore T-shirts to promote National School Breakfast Week.
For more ideas on how to market your School Breakfast Program, visit the School Breakfast page on the JSI Resource Center website.