In a crowded cafeteria at Shroder High School in Madisonville students line up at a vending machine where they can get a "grab and go" breakfast. Others are in line for a hot burrito and a piece of fruit.
Just a little over half of low-income high schoolers at Shroder eat the free breakfast at school. Elementary numbers district-wide are between 75% and 80%. While CPS would like to do better, the district is tenth best in the nation out of 65 of the largest U.S. cities for feeding low-income students breakfast. Read the report here.
Children's Hunger Alliance Senior Vice President Charlie Kozlesky says, "The gold standard is serving 70 out of 100 low-income kids. Cincinnati was at 74.9%."
Why is Cincinnati Public Schools so dedicated to providing breakfast? "As we looked at our data," says Superintendent Mary Ronan, "we improve the nutrition of our youngsters by feeding them breakfast and healthy lunches. Our test scores have gone up. Nutrition and academics seem to go hand in hand, so we've been very very happy on how successful we've been."
And students are eating it up:
- Freshman Jayda Rodgers says, "I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it energizes you. If you don't eat breakfast then you might be a little drowsy and down and then you might have to wait four more hours to eat lunch."
- Junior Kennerly Molden says, "I will be enjoying some Crunchmania, some milk and some orange juice." Sometimes she gets muffins and sausage and pancakes.
- Senior Damontre Lewis is an athlete and eats breakfast everyday. "I pretty much prefer the bran cereal.....and if I have a workout in the morning I go for the yogurt."
Principal Larry Williams makes sure students have time to eat. He says if buses are late the kids can eat in the classroom.