At Harriet Gifford Elementary School in Elgin, IL Captain Nutrition (a super-hero banana), showed up earlier this month to greet students in the morning and help them get ready for the most important meal of the day, breakfast.
Thanks to a program call Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), more than 6,300 students at 10 Elgin U-46 School District elementary and middle schools are now offered a free breakfast in their classrooms at the start of the school day. These schools include: Harriett Gifford Elemetary, Channing Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Huff Elementary, Laurel Hill Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Parkwood Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, Washington Elementary, and Ellis Middle School.
Despite the fact that 52% of students in the district qualify for free and reduced-price meals last year, only 18% were actually eating the morning meal. Students are less likely to participate in a cafeteria-based breakfast program because of late bus arrivals, pressure to get into the classroom or the “stigma” associated with eating in the cafeteria in the morning.
However, breakfast participation has substantially increased this year in the 10 schools offering the classroom-based meal program. The district has even received feedback from school staff that there has been fewer visits by students to the school nurse’s office and that student are more focused and ready to learn.
Recently, the school district celebrated their BIC program with an event at Harriet Gifford Elementary School. Want to know more about the event? Check out Part 2 of our spotlight on Elgin, IL to find out what happened from Elgin Teacher Association President Kathryn Castle.
How can foods that are as common as a mosquito at a picnic in July and that taste so good make so many people sick—some to the point of death? Each year, almost 200 people with food allergies die from anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction that has symptoms like vomiting, swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue, and shortness of breath.
Food allergies are on the increase, and have become a major public health concern. It is estimated that about 9 million adults and 6 million children have food allergies, and between the years 1997 and 2007 there was about an 18% increase.
In order to keep yourself, your students, and your loved ones safe, it is important to know about food allergies and what to do if you or someone around you is experiencing an allergic reaction. Some of the most common allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish and other fish, milk, and eggs. If a person is allergic to one of these foods, even having skin contact with it can bring about a serious reaction.
An epinephrine injection is needed when someone is having an anaphylactic reaction. The injection is administered by way of an auto-injector, like an EpiPen or the new Auvi-Q, which actually talks you through the injection process. When permitted by state law, all school staff should be trained to administer epinephrine. When a school nurse is available, he or she should be notified of the emergency immediately, and if your school doesn’t have a nurse, you should find out what the protocol is for getting help. Your quick actions could save a life! Visit NEA HIN’s food allergy page for more information.