Wichita Public Schools fueling students with breakfast

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Students fill school hallways every morning, ready for a new day of learning, but many aren't getting the fuel they need.

Durrell Gilmore, with the Kansas Appleseed, says "They're hungry, can't sit still, can't pay attention. They're late, repeatedly."

Gilmore says his own son struggled to get breakfast through the hustle and bustle of getting to school and participated less in class when he went hungry.

"Well dad, once we get off the bus, like, it's crazy trying to get in there trying to get breakfast," says Gilmore.

According to reports from local non-profit, Kansas Appleseed, many students who qualify for breakfast aren't eating one. That's why the Wichita Public School District has been working on initiatives to help change that.

"We do second chance breakfast or breakfast after the bell at several schools. We do grab and go breakfasts that may or not be served from the cafeteria," says David Paul, Director of Nutritional Services for Wichita Public Schools.

He says those programs are working. "We've had schools that have seen an increase as much as 70% in their breakfast program since we started. It's been incredible. It's been great."

WPS is the first district in Kansas to implement alternative breakfasts. Leaders say because of the high student need and areas known as food deserts, or places without grocery stores available, Wichita was the perfect place to start.

"The fact that we already have both breakfast and lunch at every one of our schools, this is the frosting on the cake that's really pushing us to get a little better," says Sheril Logan, President of the Wichita Board of Education.

Currently, alternative breakfasts are available at 10 WPS schools. The Kansas Department of Education is tracking progress around the state. They recognized 3 of the schools in Wichita as most improved in the state.