February 3, 2017—Breakfast is now available free of charge every day for every student at Caprock High School. The universal breakfast initiative went into effect with the start of the spring semester.
Federal and state regulations require universal breakfast be served at any school where 80 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price meals. Amarillo ISD has taken that a step further, offering free breakfast to all students at schools where that number is 60 percent or greater.
“There have been numerous studies showing the advantage of breakfast, whether it is in improved eye-hand-coordination, better behavior or more focus in the classroom,” Chartwells Manager of Dining Services for AISD Michael Brungo said. “For some children, their last meal until Monday is lunch on Friday. When students eat breakfast, there are fewer visits to the nurse’s office and fewer outbursts in the classroom.”
The universal breakfast program typically results in more students eating breakfast, not just because it is free, but because offering it free to every student reduces the stigma sometimes associated with receiving free or reduced school meals. “We will probably see the number of students eating breakfast at Caprock double by the end of the school year. We’re already starting to see a gain over last year,” Brungo said.
Caprock joins Palo Duro High School to become the second high school offering universal breakfast. It is also available at eight middle schools and in the classroom at 26 elementary schools, all part of an effort to equip students to grow to become thinkers, communicators, collaborators and contributors.
“The very basic needs of food, clothing and shelter have to be met before you can even focus on cognitive learning and development, so this effort is very important,” said Brungo.