Most important meal
IRONWOOD - As the old saying goes, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."
For students at Sleight Elementary School in Ironwood, breakfast is a given.
Each day, students are able to eat breakfasts thanks to grant funding. Each student is provided with a breakfast pack, containing low-sugar cereal, juice and Graham crackers or other snack items.
Employee Julie Siirila organizes about 211 packs for students each day, allowing them to get breakfasts.
The meals are provided free of charge.
For the teachers, breakfast for the students has been "wonderful."
"The kids get their breakfast, eat and clean up after themselves when they are done," first-grade teacher Stephanie Justinak said. "They go to the bathroom, get a drink and come back ready to learn."
The program was put in place to make sure students eat breakfast each day.
"After starting this, I never get the question, 'When is lunch,?" Justinak said. "As a parent, you also know that your child is going to get breakfast each day."
According to studies, children who eat breakfast at school miss fewer days of school, attending 1.5 more days per year. Students also perform better, with 17.5 percent higher math scores.
Currently, students in grades pre-kindergarten through second receive breakfast, however the goal is to expand the breakfasts through sixth grade.
"Next year, when the second graders move to Luther L. Wright as third graders, we would like to have breakfasts in the classroom there, as well," food service director Mary Hampston said. "We would like to have students up until sixth grade getting breakfast. After that, students can make their own choices on whether or not they would like to eat breakfast at school."
At Luther L. Wright, Hampston also put together a "grab-n-go" cart for students to get breakfasts when time is short.
Breakfast is free both in the classroom and in the cafeteria for students.
To help promote eating healthy and exercise, the Ironwood School District will be hosting "Every Kid Healthy Week" April 22-25. According to Hampston, the event will include a variety of activities, foods and other activities for students to be engaged in healthy living.
"We're looking for volunteers who would like to help with that event," Hampston said.
For more information on breakfast in the classrooms or Every Kid Healthy Week, call the Ironwood Area School District at 906-932-0932.