New Grab and Go and “Late-Start Wednesdays” Fuel Oxford Breakfast Success

Karen Bissett, Nutrition Services Director, Oxford Community Schools, Oxford, MI

Karen Bissett, nutrition services director for Oxford Community Schools, is working hard to change the look of school breakfast, and those changes are adding up to increased revenue.

This year, Oxford Middle School tried a new classroom grab-and-go system.  Instead of having students gather in the school common area for breakfast, they now are part of a modified grab-and-go system. In the classrooms, students use a system to choose one of two breakfasts by choosing a different color school button. Buttons are matched with names to determine free and reduced eligibility. The student leaders then tally the requests, retrieve the breakfasts from the carts, and bring them back to the classrooms. Students always have a choice of a hot or cold breakfast . “Students still like the hot choices best,” explains Bissett. With the new system, Oxford Middle School’s breakfast count has risen from only 20 students out of 1,100 eating breakfast at school to more than 300!

Another breakfast-boosting initiative Karen implemented in Oxford is Late-Start Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, in the Oxford school district, students arrive at school at 10 a.m., and when they do, breakfast is served! In fall 2015, the Late-Start Wednesday breakfast at the high school will move to the Fine Arts lobby.  Due to bussing and transportation issues, many students arrive early on Late-Start Wednesdays and have more time than usual enjoy breakfast together. In the lobby, one-of-a-kind student art hangs on the walls, and the dining area is set up with round tables and tablecloths, evoking more of restaurant experience where students can sit and socialize.  In addition, the high school jazz band is invited to add to the ambience by providing musical entertainment in the lobby on some of Late-Start Wednesdays. 

According to Karen, “If you want school breakfast success, the most important thing is to get everyone on board first. That includes principals, teachers, janitors, students, and parents. Everyone at the school has a role in making school breakfast a success.”

Bissett thinks everyone at Oxford is happy with the new and upcoming school breakfast changes. The students like the new breakfast foods, and the streamlined classroom grab-and-go system; the foodservice staff is positive and supportive; the teachers report that due to school breakfast they are experiencing fewer attention and discipline problems in classrooms; and school administrators are thrilled with the bottom line: increased sales and healthier students!   

This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here! 


Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Karen Bissett, Nutrition Services Director, Oxford Community Schools, Oxford, MI