Bristol Bay Borough School District is a breakfast champion, according to USDA

Mar 6, 2018

The Bristol Bay Borough School District won the  “Implementation of an Innovative School Breakfast Model” category in the USDA Western Region’s 2018 Champions of Breakfast Award. 

Fresh baked blueberry muffins are a hit with the Bristol Bay Borough students.
Credit Tanya Dube

In the past three years, the Bristol Bay Borough School District has doubled the number of students who eat breakfast at school. For that progress, the district won the “Implementation of an Innovative School Breakfast Model” category in the USDA Western Region’s 2018 Champions of Breakfast Award. It beat eight states, including California and Washington, and three U.S. territories for the honor.

Traditionally, BBBSD has served breakfast before school starts. Tonya Dube, director of child nutrition, noticed that many students did not make it to school in time to eat.

“A lot of our older students, they tend to get to school right at 9 a.m., right when the bell is going off. So they’re missing breakfast. About two years ago, I believe it was, we opened up a 10 minute passing period in the morning. At that point now, middle schoolers and high schoolers have the option to come down to the lunchroom and get some breakfast,” said Dube.

A Bristol Bay Borough middle school student shares breakfast with a student in child care.
Credit Tanya Dube

While 30 percent of Bristol Bay Borough students ate breakfast at school three years ago, now nearly 60 percent do. According to Dube, many students skip breakfast at home for a variety of reasons, from food insecurity to maximizing sleep time.

“If a child is nourished, then they’re able to sit, focus and learn. Ultimately, that’s kind of the purpose of school is learning. But if they’re hungry, then they’re not focused. So it’s important to get a good solid breakfast in them and give them the chance to maximize their education,” Dube said.

All Bristol Bay Borough School District students are eligible for free school breakfasts and lunches through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision. That allows all students in a low-income area to receive free meals, regardless of their household income.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.