Missouri School Students Get Boost from Breakfast

Laura Bauer, Kansas City Star

Since Springfield, Missouri’s Williams Elementary School began serving free breakfast in the classroom, teachers and staff have noticed that the students are more alert, focused and calm. More students arrive at school on time, and absences are down. Fewer students are visiting the nurse’s office for stomachaches, getting into fights, or asking how long it is until lunch. “Food is fuel for the brain and body, and some were literally coming to school empty,” said Wanita Watts, Springfield Public Schools’ nutritional services director. Williams Elementary began serving breakfast in the classroom as a USDA-funded pilot project in November 2010 – the first of the district’s schools to offer the alternative meal service. Principal Jennifer Webb knew many of her students were arriving at school hungry, some weren’t eating after lunch the day before, and only 45 percent of the students were eating school breakfast. Some were put off by the long cafeteria line. Now, about 92 percent of students eat breakfast in the classroom.

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