When students at White Oaks Elementary School made their way to the school’s breakfast carts Dec. 13, they had a special guest waiting to greet them: Virginia’s first lady Dorothy McAuliffe.
McAuliffe, incoming Virginia first lady Pam Northam and representatives from No Kid Hungry Virginia were at White Oaks Elementary School to learn about the school division’s diversified approach to ensure more students start the day with a healthy breakfast.
“Virginia Beach City Public Schools has made a remarkable commitment to expanding child nutrition programs,” McAuliffe said. “By making breakfast available after the bell, we are ensuring that all children are well fed and ready to learn each and every day. Kids can’t be hungry to learn if they’re just plain hungry, and thanks to the great efforts of VBCPS teachers, administrators and school nutrition staff, there are far fewer hungry kids in the Commonwealth today.”
Last school year, VBCPS served 2.6 million breakfast meals. This year, the division has already served 130,000 more meals in the first three months of school compared to 2016.
What’s the secret?
VBCPS’ Food Services has been working with each building principal to offer a breakfast model that best meets the needs of each school.
Some schools provide breakfast in the cafeteria while others offer breakfast carts strategically available across various parts of the building. Students are able to pick up breakfast before heading to the classrooms to spend time with classmates or meet with teachers as they prepare for the school day.
Students also realize the difference breakfast makes.
During the first lady’s visit to White Oaks, McAuliffe asked Lauren Salas’ fourth-grade class how many students had breakfast. Nearly every one of them raised their hand.
McAuliffe then asked students why they need breakfast, to which fourth-grader Brianna Williams replied “so you don’t get hungry until the next meal and so you’re ready for school.”
In addition to observing the breakfast program in action during their visit, McAuliffe and Northam also toured a classroom to see the Virginia Beach READS program – an award-winning partnership between VBCPS, Virginia Beach GrowSmart and the Virginia Beach Office of Volunteer Resources – that is in five of the division’s schools and works to ensure all Virginia Beach students are reading proficiently by the third grade.