Every morning in Sarah McKerr's third-grade class at Foster Elementary School in Compton, students turn in their homework and file back to their seats with something in hand: a free breakfast.
Over the past year, the Compton Unified School District has moved breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom at 21 of its 22 elementary schools, including Foster. It's one of several districts in the state that is feeding more students by changing where and when they eat.
Compton Unified officials said full bellies have brought several benefits: More breakfast participation has allowed schools to maximize their resources and receive greater federal reimbursements. Student attendance and performance have improved, and school nurses are treating fewer students for stomachaches.
And because teachers must check off names of students participating, McKerr uses the time to multitask. She stations herself by the coolers of bananas and milk cartons, waiting to see who comes with a worksheet. "It makes it that much easier for me to figure out who did their homework,” she said.