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Beyond Lunch: Taking Breakfast to the Classroom in Little Rock, Arkansas

When I first heard about it, I didn’t believe that breakfast in the classroom would be possible. As a food service director, I thought that’s what the cafeteria was for. But now, I’m the one selling it to anyone who will listen.

Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance during breakfast in the classroom at Franklin Elementary (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance).

My district in Little Rock, Arkansas was one of the first five schools nationwide to receive a grant from the Walmart Foundation to implement breakfast in the classroom. Our pilot program started in the spring of 2010 with one elementary school. Now we have 16 of 32 elementary schools participating in the breakfast in the classroom program.

The School Breakfast Program provides benefits for students, teachers, administrators and parents. There are fewer tardy students, fewer trips to the nurse in the early morning, and decreases in discipline issues in the mornings, too. Students’ tummies are full and their minds are ready to learn. And starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps to build on the progress we’ve made with the new, healthy meals offered to students at lunch time.

A student at Franklin Communications Technology Elementary School opens up a biscuit and sausage pack for breakfast in the classroom (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance).

I have learned that a successful program starts at the top and requires the support of the school board and superintendent. We have been successful because we have the full support of the entire school district and the community. Now, many teachers eat breakfast with their students. The kids love it, too. The biscuit and sausage pack is one of their favorites.

A student at Franklin Communications Technology Elementary School enjoys a biscuit and sausage pack during breakfast in the classroom (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance).

The program has been so successful that our district is a state model for the School Breakfast Program. We have visitors from other school districts each month to see how we have implemented breakfast in the classroom. I’m proud to say that those who have visited have started breakfast in the classroom in their schools.

Let's Move! is celebrating National Nutrition Month with stories of school cafeterias serving healthy meals across the country. Learn more about the historic, healthy changes to school meals.


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