Breakfast Service Options On the Rise at Whiteville City Schools

After implementing a universal free Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program for its elementary and middle schools, Whiteville City Schools (NC) breakfast participation increased from 30 to 80 percent. Building off that success, Director of Nutrition Services Jamesie Gentry wanted to implement “Grab and Go” and “Second Chance Breakfast” options at the high school for the 2018-19 school year.

Whiteville went through a few different iterations before finding success in the ‘Grab and Go’ to the classroom model, which increased participation in its middle school from 30 to 80 percent.

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Grab N’ Go cart in the hallway.

Universal free breakfast in the classroom is served at Whiteville Primary, Edgewood Elementary and Central Middle Schools. Breakfast meals are delivered in specially-designed insulated containers to each classroom by School Nutrition Service personnel for teachers to hand out to students. A minimum of three breakfast components must be offered, creating a balanced meal  including one ounce of grains, five cups of fruit/fruit juice and five cups of milk. To cut down on waste, nutrition personnel pick up unserved items at the end of breakfast meal service time. Teachers simply indicate which students received which items on a class roster for accounting purposes.

For the new Grab and Go and Second Chance Breakfast programs at Whiteville High School, Gentry purchased four mobile carts to expand opportunities to reach its 458 students. The district was able to utilize grants distributed by the School Nutrition Foundation and Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (supported by the Walmart Foundation). Together, they have provided more than $11 million to help schools across the country purchase breakfast service equipment similar to the kiosks at Whiteville. The mobile carts were placed strategically throughout the school in high traffic areas – near the entrance where students walk in from the bus, near student parking and inside the cafeteria. During Second Chance Breakfast, a cart is placed in the library, which according to Gentry, is the most successful of all the cart locations.

“If the first ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ model at the high school doesn’t work well after this year, we’ll keep trying different models,” said Gentry. “We had to try different models at the middle school before we found that ‘Grab and Go’ to the classroom worked best for those specific students and teachers. Each school will be different, so we will survey students and staff to see what is working and what is not for Whiteville High School breakfast.”

Gentry explained that they will use information from the surveys and plan to involve the district’s Student Health Group to present their findings at a booth at the annual student health fair this spring.

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