When school starts in a couple of weeks, students in some of Erie's Public Schools will be able to eat breakfast for free, right in their classrooms.


The district already offer breakfast for free in school cafeterias before classes begin, but many students in need are not taking advantage of it. Metz Culinary Management, the district's food service contractor introduced the idea to try and change that.


The schools will now"breakfast breaks," pre-packaged meals with grains, cereals and fruit juice inside. They will add milk and fresh fruit to round out the breakfasts.


Grants from the Department of Education and Wal-Mart support the initiative, because it's well documented that eating breakfast improves student learning, school performance and behavior.


By offering it in the classroom, kids in need will not have to be singled out by coming early for breakfast. Pfeiffer Burleigh is one school where needs are great and the principal is excited to pilot the program. "We know that kids learn better, have better behavior when they are well-fed, they can focus, it reduces illness long range and we are very excited to try it here," said Principal Karin Ryan.


Jenny Johns, Assistant Food Service Director for Metz said, "With our breakfast participation running between 16% and 44% district wide...by offering it in the classroom we believe participation will drastically rise and that kicks in all the benefits of a child eating breakfast."


The goal is to offer breakfast in the classroom at all elementaries, but Business Administrator Rick D'Andrea said the district will start with a few pilot schools to work out the logistics, because it will take a real buy in from principals and teachers to make the idea work.