The DCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services operates a number of alternative feeding programs in schools to increase students’ access to school meals. The programs offered differ based on grade levels.
Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) – 64 schools
Under Breakfast in the Classroom, breakfast is packed in insulated bags and delivered to classrooms before school begins. Classes eat breakfast together after the bell rings.
Eating breakfast in school has shown to improve students’ classroom performance, increase attendance, and decrease behavioral problems, tardiness, and visits to the school nurse. At DCPS, Breakfast in the Classroom schools saw an average participation increase of 30% after implementing the program.
“BIC has truly changed our school culture during the mornings. Teachers and students have noticed the difference in calm. The mornings are still social. However, now it is organized. It gets our day started sooner…The teachers have taken a liking to BIC. Even the most hardened of critics is sold. The parents have cooperated with the time change and all of the worries that were expressed have been alleviated. We do not have an increase in mice, we do not have an increase in trash, and we do not have an extraordinary amount of trash…I would not want this any other way. Hey, I can't wait to pilot Lunch in the Classroom (LIC).” -Gwendolyn Payton, Principal, Beers Elementary School
Family Style Lunch – 64 schools
Early Childhood students and students attending Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan eat lunch family style. Students serve themselves appropriate portions from platters and bowls and eat together either in their classroom or in the cafeteria.
Lunchtime offers early childhood students the chance to discuss the activities of the day. Students learn basic table manners, such as how to pass food and use utensils, while discussing healthful foods. Teachers and paraprofessionals sit with students, guide the family style meal service, and engage the students in conversation.
Students attending Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan take a hands-on approach to lunch service, delivering meal components to the lunch tables, serving themselves, and composting their own food waste.
Grab and Go and Extended Breakfast – 30 schools
Grab and go and extended breakfast are two types of alternative breakfast programs for secondary students that can be run concurrently or separately. Under Grab and Go, breakfast is served off of a portable kiosk located near to the school entrance. Under Extended or second chance breakfast, breakfast is kept open after the school day begins.
Reimbursable Salad Bars – 14 schools
Salad bars offered to secondary students are reimbursable, meaning a student can take his or her entire lunch from the salad bar. Reimbursable bars are open daily and feature fresh, seasonal produce.
Elementary and Secondary Schools
After School Supper or Snack – 93 schools
Students receiving at least one hour of academic enrichment after school are eligible to participate in the after school supper or snack program. After school supper provides students with a full meal, served at least two hours after the school’s last lunch period.
DCPS serves about 10,000 supper meals a day at 99 different schools, making it the largest supper program in the nation. The after school supper program has helped DCPS increase enrollment in after school programs by about 12%.