Saint Albans City Elementary School is leading the way in feeding its students breakfast before hitting the books.
This is part of the ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ challenge, a joint initiative between Hunger Free Vermont and New England Dairy & Food Council.
Assistant Principal Stacie Rouleau tells us 80% of her students eat breakfast at school on a regular basis.
“It’s comforting for parents to know that this basic need (eating breakfast), is going to be meet every day,” said Rouleau.
“Vermont is reaching 69.5% of the low-income kids that participate in school lunch and breakfast,” said Jill Hussels a nutrition specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council.
In 2017, Vermont was ranked 9th in the nation for breakfast participation, today, Vermont is ranked 3rd.
And the health benefits are clear as day, according to nutritionists.
“Students that eat school breakfast score higher on standardized tests. there are fewer absences and tardiness,” said Tim Morgan, a child nutrition initiatives specialist with Hunger Free Vermont.
“In addition to providing important nutrition it improves student health and behavior, it decreases school nurse visits, improves attention and focus,” said Jill Hussels a nutrition specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council.
Students are given a roll in the classroom, one will head to the cafeteria and pick up milk, fruit, an additional breakfast items. They then sit in class, together, and have breakfast.
Did we mention this is free?
The school offers a universal breakfast and lunch program, paid for by federal and local grants. The USDA will refund the school a larger percentage of the cost, leaving the remained to be filled by local grants.
“Any school can do this,” said Tim Morgan from Hunger Free Vermont.
He recommends any school that would like to take part, to reach out to the organization for assistance.