SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — George McGovern Middle School sits out in the country in northwest Sioux Falls.
Almost all of its 900-plus students get to school by bus and that can make mornings kind of hectic. This year, staff is introducing breakfast in the classroom to make sure kids don’t get a late start on their day.
Every school day, nearly a dozen buses pull up to George McGovern and students rush off to class. The first bell rings at 8:55 a.m.
“Type in your lunch code and then you can grab three things,” Eighth-grader Nehemiah Abebe said.
Abebe is grateful for this year’s breakfast in the classroom change. His bus arrived at 8:57 Thursday morning and if he couldn’t eat at his desk, he’d be even later to class.
“The cinnamon and the juice. I like that a lot,” Abebe said.
Abebe’s PRO time teacher Heidi Freese says without this option that also features fresh fruit, kids would linger in the cafeteria last year and constantly be tardy.
“And they’re missing out on PRO time, which is the first period of the day. It’s ‘People Relating to Others.’ It’s a chance for us to get to know our students. Where the students get to know each other. Those kids are missing out on all that,” Freese said.
She loves the switch and says it’s having a big impact.
“It really has changed the climate of the school in the sense of, we start the day in class, on time. Whereas the way we did it in the past, it was nothing to have 100 kids still eating breakfast when the bell rang and class started,” Freese said.
“I can just come in, grab my breakfast and go to my classroom. Sometimes I can catch up with my friends there,” Hayman Domenico said.
Domenico says now that he doesn’t go hungry in the morning, he plans on doing better at school.
“I got a few F’s in school. This year I’m think about changing my grades. Getting better grades,” Domenico said.
It’s a similar story for Abebe.
“I’m not always hungry and then I can focus and pay attention in class,” Abebe said.
“For a lot of our kids, this is where they get their breakfast and it’s a great opportunity for them,” Freese said.
School officials say 50 kids took advantage of the program early on and at last check, 200 students are enjoying breakfast in the classroom every day.