We sat down with Francisco I. Madero Middle School principal Jose Luis Illanes to discuss health and wellness at his school. Illanes said that since participating in Go for the Gold and meeting the rigorous standards for food, fitness and nutrition education set by the HealthierUS School Challenge, he’s seen improvements at the school.
“This year was the best ever year in terms of our scores,” he said. “I can see that the children are more engaged.”
The 6th-8th grade school has also implemented the breakfast in the classroom program, which provides free breakfast to elementary Chicago Public School students during the first 10 minutes of the school day.
“They go to school and they are going to have something healthy to eat. That should be welcomed by everyone,” he said.
The school administrator added,“It’s something I believe in. I really believe that children need to have something in their stomachs so they can function.”
He recounted his experiences with students who previously struggled with headaches and had trouble focusing because they entered the afternoon without having eaten since their dinner the night before.
“Obviously that triggers body reactions and it's difficult for a child to concentrate and focus,” he said.
You can check out the video of our interview with Principal Illanes -- and learn more about breakfast in the classroom in general -- at BreakfastMatters.org.
We are grateful to Principal Jose Luis Illanes for sharing his experience with us.
You can read more breakfast updates on our blog.