Indian Creek breakfast program gains accolades
WINTERSVILLE — Indian Creek elementary schools are gaining more accolades for their growing breakfast programs which nourishes students’ bodies so they can feed their minds.
For the third year in a row, both Wintersville and Hills Elementary Schools were named among the 2019 Ohio School Breakfast Challenge “Breakfast All Stars” for their Breakfast in the Classroom programs. Wintersville Elementary was among an estimated 50 schools statewide which earned a platinum designation while Hills was one of nearly 70 sites that received a gold award.
District Food Service Director Eric White said officials recently learned of the distinction, and he was thrilled with the recognition.
“I am very excited,” White said. “This is a true group effort. The cafeteria staff, teachers and administration all play big parts to make this program successful. I’m just the conductor.”
Breakfast in the Classroom allows students to enjoy the most important meal of the day at their desks and easily transition into learning. The school district launched the effort in 2016 after partnering with the Children’s Hunger Alliance, which provided a $2,000 mini-grant to implement the program in three classrooms at Wintersville Elementary School and two classrooms at Hills Elementary School.
Indian Creek High School students also volunteer with meal distribution to WES kids as they enter the building and the pupils head to their classrooms to dine on cereal and fruit or a hot meal before their lessons begin. Since its inception, the participation has multiplied and officials noted that more students are attentive in class and can concentrate on their studies because they do not feel hunger pangs.
“We average about 82 to 85 percent (participation) between both elementary schools, and more students are being fed,” White noted.
He estimated that 37,000 meals have been served since the first day of the current school year as opposed to about 30,728 meals during the same time frame last year.
Currently, total enrollment in both buildings stands at 843 pupils in grades PreK-4 and officials said the program’s implementation has made an impact in the classrooms.
Wintersville Elementary Principal Lorrie Jarrett was excited for her school to be recognized again and cited the staff and students as the reason for the accolades. She also has noticed an uptick in student participation.
“Currently we are averaging around 375 students per day. The program has been instrumental in helping with people management in our school,” Jarrett said. “Students arrive and go straight to their homeroom and the program has helped decrease hallway congestion, a loud cafeteria and classroom instruction begins earlier. I am really happy the district uses Breakfast in the Classroom.”
Hills Elementary Principal Michele Minto said her pupils take advantage of the opportunity to eat at their own desks so they can stay focused on the task at hand.
“Especially the students who come late, they don’t have to go to the cafeteria and it’s always in the classroom,” Minto said. “More kids are eating, which helps them when they are concentrating on their lessons.”
Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear praised the efforts and said it has been a positive factor in serving students’ needs.
“Breakfast in the Classroom has increased our participation in breakfast to nearly 100 percent,” Chappelear said. “My hat goes off to the teachers, cafeteria staff, custodians and others who make this happen. Since we began this program, we have been recognized as a leader in the state feeding kids. This can only happen when everyone works together towards one common goal: What is best for kids.”