DOE honors Thomas schools - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DOE honors Thomas schools

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November 22, 2005

Thomasville, Georgia-- Thomas County's school breakfast program is so unique, it's the only one in our region Georgia is eyeing to use as mandate. A state production crew headed to Thomasville on Tuesday to document it.

Kitchen Manager, Gloria Graham, and her staff at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School have a big responsibility. "It's to feed our children a healthy, nutritional breakfast and lunch," says Graham.

In fact, Thomas County's breakfast program is so cutting-edge, it's one of four statewide the Department of Education is documenting to use as a model. "The breakfast video will go all over the state trying to convince superintendents, school nutrition directors, principals to take breakfast to the classroom," says Thomas County School's Nutrition Director, Karen Green.

Thomas county started the initiative three years ago. It was pioneered in a school that needed improvement in its annual progress. "We knew what research said about breakfast as far as improving attendance, academics. We wanted to prove that research correct," says Green.

Well, they did. Up to 98% of students eat breakfast in the classroom now. That's up from 34% three years ago. "Teaching starts sooner. You're not down in the cafeteria having to eat there then go back to the classroom. There's no wasted time. Teachers are able to enjoy a breakfast with their students and model good eating habits," says Green.

Nutritional staff come in at about 6:00 in the morning. They work so hard not just to improve the lives of the students, but also the kids' parents. "They say it fits right into their schedule. They're working and it's very very convenient for them," says Green.

That's a winning combination for hundreds of parents, their children, and the school system. "Everyday is a good day, it's a good day," says Graham. Especially because Graham and her staff make sure each meal is well-balanced.

Thomas County's program may not stop in state. School officials say that if the video is well received, it has the potential to be shown nationwide.

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