Metro Schools Offer Breakfast Program

Tuesday, February 17th 2009, 4:36 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now, Oklahoma City Public School officials have proof that it's true.

At Westwood Elementary nearly every student eats breakfast in the classroom.

The program exists in five elementary schools in Oklahoma City right now. And at every location, teachers have seen a difference in the learning environment.

Students who go to Westwood Elementary meet with their teacher at 8 a.m. in the cafeteria, pick up their breakfast, and take it to the classroom.

"You get more room, and more time to eat," student Maranda Rodriguez said. "You don't got to be in a hurry to get down to class; you're in the class."

Every nutritionally balanced meal is accompanied by milk, meeting dietary guidelines.

The program offers a balanced breakfast they might not otherwise have had at home.

"The district is 85 percent economically disadvantaged, so there's a very good chance that a lot of them do not eat breakfast," said Oklahoma City Schools Food Serives Director, Steve Gallagher.

This program is different than traditional breakfast programs. Only 30 percent of these students used to arrive at school early for cafeteria food. Now, more than 80 percent are fed at their own desk.

"I kinda made a deal with the teachers; if you'll try it for nine weeks, if it doesn't do well, then we'll disband it, and we had a unanimous vote to continue it," Westwood Principal Jan Borelli said.

Three years later, Westwood Elementary has seen increased concentration, less tardiness and higher test scores.

"It's caused us to gain 15 to 20 minutes a day in instructional time because they don't come dashing in at 8:30," Borelli said.

Other schools in the district who take part in the program right now include Pierce, Coolidge, Hillcrest and Mark Twain Elementary.