Fabulous Food and Super Staff = Showcase Success

Healthy Food Choices in Schools March 10, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

breakfast

Katherine Borovsky, Foodservice Director, Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins, MI

“If they can walk with it, they’ll eat it.” That’s the secret, according to Katherine Borovsky, foodservice director for Hopkins Public Schools.  “Our students and faculty were very excited to attend our Breakfast Showcase and try new ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast foods.  They will eat anything that is a sandwich or a wrap, as long as they can keep moving while eating it!”

In April 2014, students at Hopkins High School, along with their families and Hopkins faculty, were invited to a School Breakfast Showcase. The goal: expose students to new and tasty breakfast items and increase school breakfast participation. Currently, about 50-60 high school students regularly eat school breakfast, while more than 140 are eligible for either free or reduced price breakfast. “We want to change that,” said Borovsky.

At the showcase, the Hopkins foodservice staff and chef Dave McNamara from the Michigan Department of Education, brought breakfast from the cafeteria to the hallway where attendees sampled Spicy Egg Sandwiches with Thai Chili Sauce, and Egg Burritos with red potatoes, sausage, cheese, and salsa. The students could either go to their classrooms and eat (which teachers preferred) or eat in the hallway (which the students preferred).  “Kids want to eat breakfast. They just don’t want to give up any social time to do it,” explains Borovsky.  “Moving breakfast to the hallway helps break down that barrier.”

“We know that eating breakfast improves students’ health and school success,” says Borovsky.  “Everyone, including our teachers, administrators, and school custodians helped make our Grab and Go Breakfast Showcase event a success.”  It takes a team to implement Grab and Go and Hopkins has a very good one. “Once our teachers and administrators learned the statistics about how many eligible students are not eating breakfast and about how many students in general are not eating breakfast, they were both concerned and receptive to the Showcase and trying Grab and Go breakfast.   Also, a lot of parents never even knew breakfast was available at the school, so the showcase was a great way to inform them of that and to get parents to encourage their children to eat breakfast at school.”

Katherine believes continuous marketing of school breakfast is important. They regularly use Facebook, the school website, and the school newsletter to promote school breakfast, the menu, and its cost.  They also post signs throughout the building along with reminders to keep the hallways clean and respect the building.

In the fall, thanks to funding from a Team Nutrition grant, Hopkins will serve Grab and Go breakfasts from an attractive breakfast kiosk. They may use the kiosk for a second-chance breakfast (after the first hour is over) or set it up outside to serve breakfast between the high school and middle school when the weather is nice. “We’ll definitely make good use of it,” says Borovsky. “I have an amazing staff who are dedicated to providing meals for our students, and if together we can increase the number of kids eating breakfast – even if it’s only by a few – we’ll be happy.  Of course, the more the better.  For us, serving an additional 10 students per day is a 20 percent increase in participation.”

This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here! 


Contributors

Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Katherine Borovsky, Foodservice Director, Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins, MI


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.