School district sees success with breakfast in the classroom

Jefferson County (Ky.) is one of five districts nationwide to take part in the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

Jan. 8—Cochran Elementary is one of 19 public schools in Jefferson County (Ky.) taking part in the national Breakfast in a Classroom program — a joint initiative of the Food Research and Action Center, the National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation, National Education Association Health Information Network and the School Nutrition Foundation.

The program began last school year at five school districts across the country with a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation—and last fall, expanded to 10 more districts, including Jefferson County, which received a $208,000 foundation grant to start the program.

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Ideas and Innovation
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On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
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We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
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We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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