Cirrus Charter Academy Grant Success Story

Cirrus Charter Academy school nutrition director, Wendy LaShae Brinson, was introduced to The Dairy Alliance programming at the Georgia Department of Education TEAM UP Conference in May of 2017. Cirrus Charter Academy is part of the Georgia Charter School system and participates in the National School Lunch Program. Wendy was looking for ways to help increase breakfast participation that was at 18%. The Dairy Alliance’s Julie Wilkinson met with Wendy and school administrators to discuss program options and grant opportunities. Plans were outlined to start an expanded breakfast program for the 2017-2018 school year utilizing the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding. The overall goal was to increase breakfast participation as well as dairy consumption with milk and yogurt. Cirrus Charter Academy received $4000 in Fuel Up to Play 60 funding in June 2017. This grant was used to support the purchase of equipment for Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab n’ Go programs. Equipment consisted of rolling milk barrels, Fuel Up to Play 60 transport carts and insulated breakfast bags. During the 2017-2018 school year, tremendous strides were made with the new equipment and expanded breakfast programs in place. Among the 400 students, breakfast participation increased by 42.5% from the previous year and milk usage increased by 61.4% equal to 17,673 pounds of milk. The school also added yogurt to the breakfast menus resulting in the use of over 4,000 ounces of yogurt. “Having extra equipment purchased with the Fuel Up to Play 60 funds has given my students more access to breakfast and dairy products. The milk barrel is a huge hit with its bright colors and the cart/bags has provided easy access for transport. The teachers love being able to keep the items ready and tasty for the students. Having the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in the building sparks interest in our staff, students and stakeholders and made a huge difference with our breakfast participation,” said Wendy LaShae Brinson, Cirrus Charter Academy, School Nutrition Director.