The California Department of Education had been pushing for students to eat a healthy breakfast.
Central School is one of seven elementary and middle schools in the Tracy Unified School District taking part in the reduced-fee or free meal program. The funding for the school meals is through USDA and the state, and no costs come from the Tracy school district.
Advocates believe students learn better and are better behaved in the classroom if they have had a healthy breakfast.
Central School Principal Nancy Link says the breakfast has made a noticeable change already, as students are more attentive in class, attendance has improved and the number of disciplinary problems has decreased.
“The big goal is to increase learning,” Link said.
Started on Oct.1, students get a breakfast of milk, a piece of fruit and a packaged item like a cereal bar. Students with allergies to some products are given a different item.
Teaching staff had to make some changes to their morning routine, Link said, but all have contributed to the program. Breakfast takes place from 8:15 to 8:30 a.m., and classes work while they eat to cut down on the loss of instruction time.
The program at Central for 480 kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students will continue through November as food services looks at the participation numbers. A 90 percent participation rate will let the school break even, and district officials then plan to add the program to the other six schools that qualify.