School breakfasts, which have increased student test scores in at least one Buena Park school, will be offered for the first time at Gordon H. Beatty Elementary next month.
“A child coming to school without a good nutritional breakfast is not able to do good work,” said Jack Townsend, superintendent of the Buena Park School District. “We feel it is a definite help.”
Beginning Sept. 10, students can buy breakfast at the school cafeteria for 70 cents. Children from low-income families are eligible for assistance through the National School Breakfast Program, officials said.
Currently, Gilbert and Whitaker elementary schools offer the program. Beatty was chosen as the next site because it is the largest in the district, with an enrollment of more than 800 students, officials said.
The existing programs have been extremely successful, said Verla Albin, director of food services. Last year, Albin said, “some days we could have as many as 180 kids” at breakfast.
When George Cottrell was principal of Gilbert Elementary School, he surveyed his students before the school offered breakfast and found that 40% of them did not eat before school.
He also kept a tally of test scores before and after the program began. He discovered that test results significantly improved after children began having breakfast, Albin said.
To accommodate the program at Beatty, the bus schedule was altered to allow students enough time to eat. Students will come in two waves beginning at 8 a.m. The school also hired a manager to prepare the menu and serve the students.
Townsend said he hopes all six schools in the district will eventually offer breakfast.