In an effort to increase school breakfast participation, the director of the school nutrition program for Walpole Public Schools, Maria Hall, tapped into one of her most valuable assets…student input! Hall recognized that including the students in the decision making process gave them ownership and made it more likely for them to participate. Input on menu items and delivery method was solicited from the student council. Using a survey, the teens provided their feedback about specific items as they taste tested a sampling of breakfast foods. Hall also tapped into the teens ideas about ways to make school breakfast environment more appealing.
From this input, the dining area was branded the Champion Cafe, and a new bistro area was born – offering the high school students an upscale dining experience within their school. Among the full service breakfast offerings in the Champion Cafe, students enjoy the ever popular omelet bar – started with the help of a chef hired by Hall to infuse more culinary variety into the program. Future plans include expanding the bistro area to offer smoothies, as well as to incorporate a grab-n-go style breakfast where students will have access to a self-serve toaster and waffle maker.
Most recently, Hall has tackled a new endeavor using technology to help market the program. A makeover to the school nutrition web site and a new App, both from Nutrislice, has the potential of putting the school menu information in the hands of everyone in the district. The Nutrislice App provides the school’s breakfast and lunch menus conveniently to smart phone users and the school’s website provides nutritionals for each menu item as well as allergen information, and much more.
Thinking about expanding your school breakfast program, visit the School Breakfast page on the JSI Resource Center website for links to helpful resources.