A local school is not just welcoming in their students today but also a new pilot program.

Starting today, every kid at Will-Moore Elementary School will be receiving FREE breakfast in the classroom. This will start right as the first bell rings every morning.

The breakfast in the classroom program is not seen in many schools in North Dakota and not even across the nation. The whole point is to get every kid the nutrition they need in the morning.

Statistics even show that breakfast in the classroom has a variety of benefits:

  • Reduces behavior problems
  • Decreases nurses visits and tardiness
  • Increases attentiveness and attendance
  • Breakfast can also improve the learning environment
  • Increase standardized test scores
  • Students consume more nutrients
  • And it provides a calmer and more peaceful start in the morning.

This pilot program will continue through December and their goal is to have 80 percent participation to continue through the next year. Another good thing about this program is it includes all kids whether you are on the free or reduced meal plan or not.

Bismarck Public Schools Child Nutrition Program Director Michelle Wagner says, “You know, if parents are kind of on the fence about paying for that breakfast, they don’t have to worry about that now. They don’t have to tell their student, ‘No, you can’t eat breakfast because you can’t afford it,’ because maybe they don’t qualify for free or reduced, but just that little bit of extra money they have to pay for breakfast can deter their students to participate, so now that stigma is gone away.”

Bismarck Public Schools hopes more schools will be open to this after the launch and they tell KX it’s up to each school whether or not they want to offer the program.

“Each school is kind of different and we really need the support of a principal and the teachers need to buy into and the aid, the custodians because it does change the entire process of the morning routine,” says Wagner. “But yes, the goal is hopefully we start it at Mhyre and then we went to Will-Moore and hopefully we can get some of the other schools, especially the ones with higher needs, to participate in this program because it really does benefit the students and it’s all about feeding the kids.”

These meals are subsidized federally. Bismarck Public Schools wants to remind parents you still need to sign up for the free or reduced meal plan in order to get the free lunches, just not for breakfast anymore. To sign up click here or a paper application can be picked up at the BPS office.