sixth grader at Shuksan helps bring in breakfast bin to her classroom in November.

Shuksan Middle School is the first middle school in Bellingham Public Schools to offer Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), supported with grants from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) Breakfast Meals for Kids which paid for the needed equipment.

The program started with Shuksan sixth grade classrooms in early November and expanded to the entire school a month later.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. A noticeable change is the noise and energy in halls before school. Students now go straight into their classrooms and eat breakfast before the school day begins.

Serving a total of 673 students breakfast every day is a big job for the food service staff who have worked hard to set up systems to make BIC run smoothly, all while keeping up with their usual tasks for preparing lunch.

Principal Amy Carder described talking to a student after school on the first day of BIC and asking how he would rate his day on a 10-point scale. He gave it an 8 and said most days are usually a 6. When Ms. Carder asked what made a difference that day, the student said, “I wasn’t hungry.”

After a couple days of BIC, a teacher remarked she was very pleased with the program and noted, “I’m not seeing Cheeto fingerprints on the schoolwork anymore.”

Another teacher said students aren’t passing around snacks anymore. “They are snacking on extra breakfast items from the share bowl and all the food in it is gone by 2nd period.”

Director of Food Services and Executive Chef Patrick Durgan says that the food service staff has been so diligent in making this huge transition happen while not letting the new program disrupt the school day.

“The relationships that have been developed with teachers to support each other throughout this process has been especially rewarding,” Durgan says, “and the positive behavioral changes are continually being noticed by so many at the school.”

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