SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State lawmakers are taking steps to make sure all students come to school ready to learn, and that means starting the day with a good breakfast.
Under the Breakfast after the Bell bill, public schools with 70 percent or more of its students on the free or reduced-cost meal program would have to serve breakfast after classes start.
In Spokane Public Schools, 21 of its 52 schools would have to participate in the program.
“There’s no way they’re going to learn well when their tummy is grumbling and they’re trying to learn math,” Doug Wordell, the SPS Director of Nutrition Services. “It’s not going to work because the math is they’re still hungry.”
Wordell said he thinks the legislation is a great idea, and one that is already being served up for all students at every school in the district.
“We do 8,500 breakfasts every day and that is only about 28 percent of our enrollment,” he said. “We have a variety of breakfast choices, from cereals to hot items to fresh made breakfast with breads, fresh fruits and milk every morning.”
Breakfast is served 30 minutes before school starts and right until the bell rings. Students who arrive late receive a “grab and go” meal, which is a whole grain granola bar and milk or juice.
“Each school will handle that differently,” explained Wordell. “Most of them will allow to have some in the classroom.”
Since Spokane Public Schools is already helping its students start the day, ready to learn, Wordell said funding from a the potential law would help the district look for different approaches to serving breakfast.
“I was playing on the playground and then I came in late - you don’t want to get embarrassed so you run into class and you don’t get the breakfast and you’re embarrassed. How to we make it easier to say ‘Hey Joey, here’s a breakfast bar?’” explained Wordell. “Because Joey isn’t going to learn unless he has something nutritious, something to start his day off right.”