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Alternative Breakfast Increases Instructional Time

Bellingham School District
Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham School District 501 in Bellingham, WA brought Breakfast in the Classroom to six schools with a district breakfast grant from Action for Healthy Kids, made possible by the Kellogg Company Fund. The district identified the six schools because of their high percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals paired with consistently low participation. Local community partners including United Way and the local food bank previously shared the benefits of alternative breakfast as an access to healthy food issue, but the district was in the process of revising its wellness policy and didn’t feel ready to change its breakfast model.

Change became more realistic when the district learned more about Breakfast in the Classroom and its many benefits. Enter AFHK’s district breakfast grant for the 2016-2017 school year! “It was perfect timing,” said Jessica Sankey, district wellness coordinator and project lead. “We were already using many of the resources from AFHK for our new wellness policy, and the funding was a nice fit because the project needed to be part of the larger wellness effort.”

Along with grant funding, the district received a site visit from the AFHK breakfast manager who provided additional insight on Breakfast in the Classroom best practices. This visit proved “as beneficial as the funding received,” according to Sankey. “Having someone come in and share what works across the country related to Breakfast in the Classroom ensured the success of the program. It was so helpful to have someone who had seen it work in a variety of situations share with us. The grant was a nice package of funding, support and reporting.”

The six schools increased participation from an average of 43% to an average of 85%. In addition to increased breakfast participation, the district also reported an increased sense of community within the classroom and more instructional time for students.