Wednesday December 3 the 2015 Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge Summit took place at the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. The summit was hosted by MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, New England Dairy and Food Council, Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread, School Nutrition Association of MA, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, and the Eos Foundation.
Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA
Keynote speaker Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and
Consumer Services for the USDA discussed that school breakfast is more than just consuming calories but also an opportunity for education. He explained that for children, having school breakfast contributes to better social skills, reduced absenteeism, and reduced tardiness. Further emphasizing it’s importance he regarded school breakfast as a function of public safety for the nation’s youth.
From left to right: Karen Pappa, Food Services Director of Taunton Public Schools; Dianne Owens, Cafeteria Manager at Taunton Public Schools; John Cabral, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations at Taunton Public Schools
Following the keynote were several breakout session options. One of the morning breakout sessions was Tools for a Successful After the Bell, Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) Program. This began with an exemplary video of Chicopee’s Stefanik School Breakfast in the Classroom Program. Following that was a moderated question and answer session with School Breakfast Teams from Taunton Public Schools and Malden Public Schools to discuss how to implement a successful BIC program. Some of the challenges they faced include: getting school staff onboard, lack of storage, and milk disposal in the classrooms. However, they clarified that once these kinks are worked out the results have proven that the project was well worth the challenges encountered. Benefits they have seen since implementing BIC include reduction in the number of tardy students, fewer student referrals to the office, decreased nurse visits, plus the program contributes to an increased sense of community and pride for the students who alternate the job of delivering the meals to the classrooms each day. Taunton and Malden School Breakfast Teams identified the key to a successful implementation as being frequent communication with school staff to reduce resistance and negative feelings that might arise during the early stages of the program.
After lunch, former Patriot’s player Jermaine Wiggins spoke on the topic. He urged the audience to make sure that it is their obligation to make a difference in the lives of children and explained that the children will not forget this. He recalled memories of what specific teachers, coaches, and other adults did for him when he was in school. Jermaine believes that frequent reiteration is important to instill health and wellness concepts in children and build their confidence.
Are you trying to improve or implement a school breakfast program? Check out JSI’s School Breakfast Resources! To see more images from the 2015 School Breakfast Summit, visit The JOHN STALKER INSTITUTE (JSI) Rocks Pinterest page.