ELYRIA, Ohio - We know when your kids eat breakfast in the morning, it's fuel for them to learn throughout the day, we also know many don't get that first meal, even if it's free. So, now some schools are changing where breakfast is served.
“At some of the schools we have student helpers usually fourth and fifth graders,” said Tera Fridley, the General Manager for Food Services at Elyria City Schools.
The city’s Prospect Elementary School is one of them.
“We do whatever it takes to make sure they’re ready to learn,” said Kristen Mayher, Third Grade Teacher at the elementary school.
Every morning before the bell rings, four students drop off baskets filled with pre-packaged lunches for each student in every class.
It’s what they call “breakfast in the classroom,” a solution many schools across Ohio are coming up with since only 56 percent of eligible kids in Ohio are taking advantage of the free meals available to them at school, many schools are now having breakfast in the classroom to make sure everyoneis eating.
“Breakfast in the classroom definitely knocks down that barrier, and they’re ready to learn,” said Mayher about her class.
The food is fuel to increases classroom participation as well as bring about comradery.
“I find out more about my students than I would any other time of the day,” she said.
Elyria schools have been doing this kind of program for years, but the concept of classroom breakfast isn’t as easy to achieve for other school districts in the state.
“We would actually have to pay the teachers in the classroom to oversee breakfast and right now that’s a contractual issue that we haven’t worked on yet,” said Chris Burkhardt, School Nutrition Executive Director with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Instead, CMSD has started the ‘grab and go’ method, making up for kids who can’t make it in to get the early free meal but still get the opportunity to eat.
“We started it last year and we served half a million additional meals last year,” said Burkhardt.
Schools across Ohio are still trying to figure out what works for them.
In Akron, they do breakfast in the classroom for their elementary schools. But in Canton, they just recently opted to try the "grab and go" method.