Milton Area School District
Food Service Director: Sharon Adami
District Enrollment: 2318
District Free/Reduced: 37%
Sharon Adami, the Food Service Director at Milton Area School District recognized some challenges to a successful school breakfast program at the high school level. These challenges include the fact that many high school students are not likely to arrive at school early enough to participate in breakfast, since they would prefer to sleep as late as possible. Also, many students are not interested in eating shortly after they wake up and may, therefore, skip breakfast.
The Creative Strategy: Breakfast During Morning Study Hall
Sharon Adami decided to use morning study halls at Milton Senior High School as an opportunity to offer breakfast to students. In addition to offering breakfast to all students prior to their first-period classes, breakfast remains open throughout the morning, so if students have the morning study hall they can participate in breakfast. They do not have to arrive at school early in order to participate.
Since beginning to offer breakfast during the morning study halls, breakfast participation has increased, and the program has been well-received. Sharon has reported that school guidance counselors are inundated with requests from students for morning study halls, so they can take advantage of the breakfast program.
Keeping the breakfast program open throughout the morning required the hiring of an additional staff person. However, the cost of that extra person was off set by the gain in participation. As Sharon commented, "What better problem to have than to have so many kids participating that you need extra staff to serve them?"
Keys to Success
Sharon thinks that principal support is critical to a successful breakfast program, as principals can be instrumental when problems arise with issues such as scheduling and supervision. Student buy-in and support is also crucial to maintaining a successful program.
Sharon is lucky enough to have the support of Stephen Bish, principal of Milton High School who sees the school meals programs as part of the overall educational process and mission. As he commented, "We look at it as part of their health and their well-being and we really look at it as just an integral part of our entire educational program not just an add on." Responding to the assertion that breakfast is a parental responsibility, Mr. Bish commented, "There are a lot of things that, as educators, we may feel are parent responsibilities, but if they are not being accomplished it is the responsibility of us to educate kids and hopefully they will become more responsible parents of another generation. I think it is a sign of the times we live in that a lot of kids in reality are raising themselves or having far too much freedom in making decisions. We feel it is a part of the total education to help kids be aware of what responsible decisions are and to encourage them to make those decisions."