Breakfast a big deal in Johnson City Schools

Contributed To The Press • Feb 17, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Studies show that a well-nourished child who starts the day with breakfast is more likely to be a better learner and stay focused, which is why the Johnson City Schools’ Food Service department does everything they can to ensure that no student is hungry when they arrive at school.

“Like my mother always told me, breakfast is actually the No. 1 meal of the day,” Indian Trail Cafeteria Manager Darlene Johnson said. “It gets you jump-started and gets your brain working so that you can function throughout the day.”

Johnson’s staff is preparing breakfast at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. to make sure they are ready for the over 1,200 students arriving on their campus.

While not every student eats breakfast at school, there are many options waiting on them on food carts as soon as they walk through the door.

“Our carts go wherever the students are, so many of our carts are in the hallway, gymnasium or they might even be outside,” Johnson City Schools’ Food Service Consultant Marisa Potter said.

“We want to reach the students anywhere that we can. We will do all that we can to make sure that each student is fed.”

Each cart is packed with healthy options for a well-rounded breakfast or a quick snack, all of which are aligned with special nutritional guidelines.

There are an array of items including muffins and warm items like cinnamon rolls or crumb cakes. They also have grab-and-go items like cheese sticks, yogurt, Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, fruit and other items to make sure that students can quickly grab something to avoid being hungry,” Potter said.

“We believe that well-nourished students are better learners and more healthy. They also have less discipline problems, so it is very important that we feed children breakfast and lunch.”

The carts are located in all 11 Johnson City Schools and they are strategically placed so that students can easily find them or walk by them to get where they are going. After the tardy bell rings, the carts move in front of the office so that anyone who is tardy has an opportunity to grab something to eat.

Students can also go to the cafeteria to eat cereal or other options. It’s important to provide students with a variety to choose from, according to Johnson City Schools Assistant Food Service Director Hannah Upchurch.

“We are trying to give them a lot of different options that are healthy, so that even the picky eaters can find something,” she said. “You want to get items that they like so that they will come and eat.”

At Science Hill, students have an opportunity to get breakfast or a snack during their break period from 9:14 to 9:26. A food cart is located inside Grand Topper Hall and a golf cart is waiting on students who walk from the main campus to the career, college and technical education campus.

No matter the time or location, food service wants to make sure that students have access to food.

“We always provide breakfast, whether it be a delay, half-day, first day of school or the last day of school, we always have something for these kids to eat,” Uphchurch said. “We want to feed these kids and give them something heathy.”

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