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Principal’s Corner: There’s breakfast for all at Halverson and Hawthorne elementary

Halverson Elementary School Principal Johanna Thomas talks with the Albert Lea Tigers mascot. -Provided

Halverson Elementary School Principal Johanna Thomas talks with the Albert Lea Tigers mascot. -Provided

At Halverson Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary Schools we offer what is called universal breakfast. This means that all students are offered breakfast in the classroom at the beginning of the school day. 

Universal breakfast began in both schools last year in February.  Since the beginning of the program, up to 90 percent of the students choose to eat breakfast on a daily basis. Prior to this, the schools served breakfast to approximately 20 percent of the students on a daily basis. 

Universal breakfast is available to all students in the building, regardless of free or reduced lunch eligibility. A typical universal breakfast may consist of a blueberry muffin, string cheese, apple and milk.  Currently breakfast is a cold breakfast, however, in October, students will begin to see a hot entree one to two times a week. 

The feedback from parents has been extremely positive. In speaking with parents, I have heard comments such as, “my child is not hungry before they leave for school” to “my child eats very early and is always hungry again by the time they get to school.”  With universal breakfast, all students are guaranteed a good breakfast before they start their school day.

However, it is not simple to get hundreds of breakfasts to the classrooms on a daily basis. This is a total team effort across the building. Teachers have reorganized their morning procedures and routines to accommodate for this additional meal. Food service staff have created efficient procedures to deliver and collect each classroom’s breakfast.  Custodians have also added to their morning routines with amazing efficiency, the cleanup of trash.

Yes, there is the issue of some spilled milk, on a daily basis, but no one cries over spilled milk when breakfast is involved. 

Johanna Thomas

principal

Halverson Elementary School