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updated: 5/2/2013 1:17 PM

Breakfast in the classroom gets kids ready to learn

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  • Captain Nutrition greets students Thursday at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin as they head to the classroom to enjoy breakfast as part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program that is available at 10 U-46 schools this year.

       Captain Nutrition greets students Thursday at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin as they head to the classroom to enjoy breakfast as part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program that is available at 10 U-46 schools this year.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Observers get a firsthand look as students at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin enjoy breakfast Thursday as part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

       Observers get a firsthand look as students at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin enjoy breakfast Thursday as part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Delilah Herrera, 10, a fourth-grade student at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin, enjoys breakfast Thursday morning.

       Delilah Herrera, 10, a fourth-grade student at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin, enjoys breakfast Thursday morning.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin hosted a round-table discussion Thursday to highlight the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

       Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin hosted a round-table discussion Thursday to highlight the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. José Torres leads a round-table discussion in the library at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin Thursday, discussing the merits of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

       Dr. José Torres leads a round-table discussion in the library at Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin Thursday, discussing the merits of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 

More than 6,300 students at 10 schools in Elgin Area School District U-46 participate in the Breakfast in the Classroom program that expanded morning meal offerings to kids for the first time this year.

Harriet Gifford Elementary School hosted a round-table discussion Thursday highlighting the benefits of the program. The Elgin school was one of 12 statewide to win the Illinois School Breakfast Challenge, recognizing Harriet Gifford as one of the fastest-growing breakfast programs and earning an extra $3,000 to run its program.

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The traditional school breakfast was always in the school cafeteria, and while more than half of U-46 students qualified for free and reduced-price meals, only 18 percent ate breakfast at the school. That number has substantially increased this year in the 10 schools hosting the classroom-based meal program. Ellis Middle School and Channing, Garfield, Huff, Laurel Hill, McKinley, Parkwood, Sheridan and Washington elementary schools also serve breakfast in the classroom.

Claudie Phillips, U-46 director of food and nutrition, said starting the school day with full stomachs gives kids what they need to reach their full potential.

"It's so important that we do all we can to provide the tools that they need in order to perform," Phillips said. "Breakfast is one of those, too. Sometimes these are the only meals that they get."

The program is funded by the Walmart Foundation and organized by a coalition of local, state and national partners.

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