Breakfast Blueprint

Develop a flexible district plan

While weighing the benefits of each, consider the pros and cons of maintaining some breakfast service in the cafeteria. Then, draft an implementation plan that broadly addresses the following logistics:

Timing: Many districts phase transitions, such as by starting with elementary schools or working first with buildings where the schedule easily accommodates second chance breakfast. Consider:

  • How will this impact the school day and schedules?
  • Can homeroom, advisory periods or other regular elements of the schedule be leveraged?
  • Will bus transportation be impacted?
  • When will the program launch?

Equipment and resources: Breakfast after the bell programs usually increase the number of spaces where food is served. Many aspects of the school building’s layout can impact breakfast distribution, including student traffic, cafeteria location, number of floors, elevator accessibility and size, as well as classroom spacing. Assess the need for additional kitchen storage space or additional tables, coolers or kiosks for food distribution. Maintain high safety and hygiene standards for all spaces where food is served by regularly distributing cleaning supplies. Consider:

  • Are new equipment or supplies needed?
  • How and when will teachers and paraprofessionals receive classroom cleaning supplies?
  • How will staff members communicate the need for assistance with cleaning up larger spills?

Staffing: Collaborate closely with staff unions to examine how scheduling may change as student demand increases with a breakfast after the bell program. Consider:

  • Which staff members will distribute food to the classrooms/kiosks and at what time(s)?
  • Which staff members will pick up trash and at what time(s)?
  • How many food service personnel are needed and at what time(s)?
  • How many custodians are needed and at what time(s)?

Training: Breakfast after the bell programs often require diverse staff to work in close concert. It is important that all stakeholders understand the professional guidelines and expectations of their colleagues, such as the role of standardized testing in teachers’ evaluation, the federal requirements for meal participation tracking for food service staff, and the safety standards that guide custodians. Consider:

  • Who will train teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians and food service personnel on new routines related to breakfast preparation, meal distribution, waste management and expectations for cleanup—and when?
  • Who will conduct refresher trainings or train new staff—and how often?

Student needs: Choose models and related program logistics that account for students’ developmental stages and capacity. For instance, older students are often more independent and may excel with a “grab and go” model, while elementary school students may need more assistance for breakfast in the classroom. Additionally, many special educators report that making the transition with minimal changes to activities, breakfast packaging and even menu items helps prevent behavioral challenges. Consider:

  • Which blend of models will best allow schools to execute successful programs?
  • How will the program meet the unique needs of different student populations, such as students with disabilities?
  • Who will train students on new morning routines (such as breakfast pickup locations and cleanup expectations) and when?