“Eating All Week” at Reidsville Middle School
Reidsville Middle School
Rockingham County, NC
By combining its Breakfast in the Classroom program with an initiative that encourages positive student behavior, Reidsville Middle School in Rockingham County, North Carolina, is making sure that more kids start their school day well fed and ready to learn.
The school has been able to implement Breakfast in the Classroom thanks in large part to three years’ worth of grant funding from Action for Healthy Kids, made possible by the Walmart Foundation – allowing for the purchase of insulated bags, serving equipment, crates, and incentive programs to entice students to participate in the program. Principal Erica Blackwell, cafeteria manager Wendy Wingate, school staff, and students themselves have also brought their hard work and innovative ideas to the table to get more kids fed.
Blackwell, new to Reidsville Middle School as of the 2017-2018 school year, became an instant advocate of the breakfast program. In addition, Child Nutrition staff credit Wingate with leading the efforts. One of the cafeteria manager’s most successful initiatives has been using AFHK resources to create goody baskets with fun giveaways such as water bottles, fidget spinners, balls and pencil pouches; students who have taken part in breakfast all week long are entered into a drawing to receive a basket and are encouraged to “Eat All Week!” Wingate has also made it her mission to set teachers up for success: Among other things, she organizes Breakfast in the Classroom training opportunities, routinely attends staff meetings to answer questions and provide program assistance, and visits classrooms each week to pump students up to participate.
Student involvement is key, Erselle Young, Director of Child Nutrition for Rockingham County Schools said, because the success of the program ultimately falls on them. Reidsville uses a PBIS – or Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports – framework that encourages positive behavior by recognizing students for demonstrating expectations. The staff applied the approach to Breakfast in the Classroom by rewarding students modeling exemplary behavior throughout the school day with the opportunity to assist in delivering breakfast every morning during their 1st period class.
“Students LOVE the opportunity to help out, and this encourages positive behavior and role modeling within the school,” said Young. “It also assists the breakfast program in running more smoothly. Staff say that the students absolutely love being the breakfast assistant and picking up their coolers and crates to deliver to their friends and classmates.”
The collective efforts of administrators, staff and students have produced inspiring results: Over the last year alone, daily breakfast participation at Reidsville has increased from 75% to 96% of all students.
We’d say that’s a pretty clear victory for getting kids to “Eat All Week!”