Education

Parlier school delivers breakfast to classrooms

Friday, September 16, 2011

Students at one Fresno County elementary school are getting an important lesson in health and nutrition that some believe will translate into better grades.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day which is why students at John C. Martinez Elementary School in Parlier are having it delivered to their classrooms every morning for free.

"They can't learn if they aren't fed in the morning. So we try to do a complex carbohydrate with a protein so they have everything they need to learn for the day," said Child Nutrition Director Alissa Allen.

Last year, Parlier Unified School District received an $8,000 grant from the California Department Of Education to implement a "Breakfast In The Classroom" program after school leaders found 35 percent of it's students were showing up for class with empty stomachs.

"Before they would come into the cafeteria, but only a certain percentage of them, everyone else would get here and go out and play. Then they would have the tummy trouble, would go to the school nurse and say my tummy hurts," said Principal Javier Martinez.

Instead of some students going to the cafeteria to eat, insulated bags are filled with the breakfast items and wagons are wheeled away to the classroom where everyone gets a meal."

The district says delivering the food directly to the kids ensures 100 percent participation. It also reduces trips to the school nurse, prevents tardiness and reduces absences.

"I remember when I was in school on an empty stomach, that's not fun. You don't concentrate on your learning, your academics. You concentrate on being hungry," said Mary Helen Villanueva with the Parlier Unified School Board.

The food is delivered between 7:30 and 8am. The students eat during the first 10 minutes of class while the teacher takes roll and collects homework assignments. Once they're finished they wipe down their desks and get to work.

The program has proven to be such a huge success, the district plans to expand it to other schools before the end of the year.

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Tags:
fresno county, parlier, education, linda mumma
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