Principal Michelle Colvin speaks with Cariddi about how the breakfast program works.
ADAMS, Mass. — State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi had breakfast with third-graders at C.T. Plunkett School on Tuesday to see the free breakfast program in action.
Cariddi visited Beth Bourdon's third-grade class with Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco to help pass out the morning's meal, read the students a book while they ate, and observe the grant-funded program that has improved learning throughout the school.
"It is really fun to be here today and I just want to let all of you know that you are all every important for being here today," the North Adams Democrat told the students. "It is great that you are enjoying breakfast with everyone and are here to learn everything you can today and all of the days. I am so happy to be here."
Food Service Director Roseanne Schutz secured a grant earlier this year that provides free breakfast in the classroom, a program introduced in North Adams last year. Since its implementation, 91 percent of students have participated.
Principal Michele Colvin told Cariddi that teachers have reported that students have been more attentive, that there has been less tardiness and far fewer trips during the day to the school nurse.
"Our nurse was just blown away by how few visits she has seen," she said. "Typically, kids would go down with a stomachache or a headache in the morning … With this program, it has been almost none … they are coming in, they are eating and they are ready to learn."
She added that the children are also learning social skills just by sitting and eating with their classmates.
"They are learning little things like just making eye contact, using appropriate manners, taking turns speaking and all of those things that maybe we took for granted that kids come to school with," Colvin said. "Our kids are needing more structure around those things and this is a great way to do it."
Colvin said Breakfast in the Classroom joins a free lunch program and a fruit and vegetable snack program and that the school is looking to expand on these kinds of initiatives because of the positive feedback.
"It's that old adage it takes a village," she said. "It takes an entire community. We just finished with our parent-teacher conferences and I can't tell you how many moms and dads were thanking us for feeding their kids and telling us how much their kids love the program."
Cariddi said the results of the program seem to speak for themselves.
"Just looking at the statistics the benefits have been amazing," she said. "It is very successful I can see that."
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