U46 schools start year — and every day — with breakfast program grant
By Emily McFarlan Miller firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2012 9:58PM
Channing Elementary School in Elgin now offers students a free breakfast before class begins each morning. | Katherine Peters~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:45AM
ELGIN — Fifth-grader Moelyz Gonzalez, 10, likes going to school at Channing Memorial Elementary School, she said.
Moelyz likes “just learning things,” and she likes her teachers because they’re nice, she said. And she liked the breakfast served in her classroom on the first day of school Wednesday — crackers and a cereal bar and juice or milk — because the morning is “kind of like a rush, so I usually don’t” eat.
Channing is one of 10 schools in District U46 that will benefit this school year from Breakfast in the Classroom. The program will offer breakfast to all 6,300 students at those schools at no charge — not in the cafeteria but in the classroom, the district announced ahead of the first day.
The Elgin-based school district was one of 10 across the country chosen to participate in the second phase of Breakfast in the Classroom, funded by a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The program is a joint initiative from the Food Research and Action Center, National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation, National Education Association Health Information Network and School Nutrition Foundation.
That brings the total number of participating school districts to 15, according to U46.
The program is an effort to improve participation in the federally funded School Breakfast Program and boost learning and health, according to the district. Before its launch in U46, 52 percent of students qualified for free and reduced-price meals, but only 18 percent ate that breakfast at school, it said.
“As a program, Breakfast in the Classroom provides noticeable improvements to child behavior and concentration, as well as decreased tardiness and absenteeism,” U46 Director of Food and Nutrition Claudie Phillips said in a written statement.
“This year, we look forward to seeing the benefits of the breakfast program impact the daily lives of our students and staff.”
Other participating U46 schools include Ellis Middle School in Elgin; Garfield, Harriet Gifford, Huff, McKinley, Sheridan and Washington elementary schools in Elgin; and Laurel Hill and Parkwood elementary schools in Hanover Park.