Tennessee Students Get Hands-on for Breakfast Week

Morgan County students really dig school breakfast – more than 90% of students in the eastern Tennessee district have breakfast at school every day. To celebrate the benefits of school breakfast, Morgan County Schools planned a jam-packed week of celebrations for National School Breakfast Week (NSBW), March 6-10, 2023. They are embracing the theme “Dig In To School Breakfast” at all seven schools in the district.

Breakfast on “Gus the Bus”

Local construction crews will be serving breakfast, backhoes will be brought to schools for photos and contests will run in cafeterias throughout the week. The students will have a chance to earn breakfast for their class on “Gus the Bus,” the school nutrition department’s farm-to-school bus that will be making stops at schools during NSBW. The renovated school bus is used for a variety of activities, including nutrition classes, special occasion meals and summer meal distribution.

A special National School Breakfast Week commercial has also been recorded by a student and will air on a local radio station. The spot was created in conjunction with the local County 4-H public speaking contest.

The school nutrition team is planning taste tests for students to sample potential new breakfast items for the upcoming school year. Students are also getting involved with making some breakfast items.

“We have our third-grade students put on aprons, gloves and hats and come into the school kitchens to help prepare our breakfast parfaits for the next day,” said Peggy Hamby, Food & Nutrition Director for Morgan County Schools.

Breakfast and lunch are available for free for all 2,900 Morgan County Schools students. To ensure as many students as possible are able to access and benefit from school breakfast, the nutrition department offers grab-and-go items on carts before students head to their classrooms and in classrooms as part of the Second Chance Breakfast Program. A traditional breakfast is also offered in the cafeteria at some of the district’s schools.

“I think the changes we made on how we bring breakfast to students have made a huge difference,” said Hamby. “Before we offered free meals for all, we noticed students who qualified for free breakfast but were not eating it because of the stereotype.”

Studies have shown that students who participate in school breakfast tend to have better attendance rates and fewer behavioral problems. Hamby says teachers and administrators are noticing a positive difference among students now that most are eating a balanced breakfast at school.

“Our nurses love having second chance breakfast because they can make sure that everyone eats breakfast,” said Hamby. “If our school buses arrive at school early, students no longer have to sit on the bus and wait to go into the building. They can head to a classroom for breakfast.” 

The county executive has signed a proclamation declaring the benefits of school breakfast. Hamby says the school nutrition team shares her excitement and enthusiasm for celebrating National School Breakfast Week.  

The National School Breakfast Program was permanently established in 1975 by an act of Congress. NSBW 2023 is made possible in part by the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and Kellogg’s.

Click below for more photos from NSBW at Morgan County Schools.

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