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PA Principals Association Joins Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom

PA Principals Association, through an amazing grant opportunity offered by the Food Research and Action Center, NAESP Foundation and several other groups, recently joined the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom to bring the Breakfast in the Classroom program to Pennsylvania school districts.

Breakfast in the Classroom takes the traditional school breakfast approach and improves it by moving it to the classroom. Breakfast is available to every child, no matter the family's income level, making it possible for all children to participate. There are more than 25 million children in our nation's schools, many of whom come to school hungry. What happens next is heartbreaking. Their attention spans shorten. Their energy levels plummet. Their productivity wanes. Learning suffers. Lives suffer. It's time to start a movement to change that. The solution? Breakfast in the Classroom. It's a fact: eating breakfast at school helps children learn. Studies show that children who eat breakfast at the start of their school day have higher math and reading scores.        

In addition, a number of PA organizations are working to increase breakfast participation in Pennsylvania and to do so, they are sponsoring the Second Pennsylvania School Breakfast Challenge to help highlight the importance of school breakfast and offer incentives to schools that make meaningful changes to increase student access to school breakfast: http://www.hungercoalition.org/breakfast.

PA Principals Association will continue to promote the Breakfast in the Classroom program in our publications, website, broadcast emails and at the annual conference. Other Pennsylvania partners include: Public Citizens for Children and Youth, the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania.

With generous funding from the Walmart Foundation, grants are available to start a Breakfast in the Classroom program in your school district and/or school. For more information, contact Etienne Melcher at EMelcher@frac.org.

If you require more information about the partnership and/or the Breakfast in the Classroom program, please check out the links below:

 

Thinking Outside of the Box for School Breakfast

   A nutritious breakfast is an essential building block for creating a school environment that cultivates academic success. Student hunger takes on many different forms in the classroom, including headaches, disruptive behavior and poor academic performance. Research suggests that students that eat school breakfast close to test-taking time, perform better on standardized tests than their classmates that skip this meal or that have it at home.1 Despite the availability of the School Breakfast Program, each day vulnerable students are missing out on this important morning meal. For school year 2013-2014, a little less than half of low-income children who ate through the National School Lunch Program participated in the School Breakfast program.2 Why is that?


   School breakfast is often served early in the morning, before the start of school, in the cafeteria. Late buses, hectic morning schedules, unreliable public transportation, stigma or a desire to catch up with friends are some of the reasons why students do not participate in school breakfast. Altering the way that breakfast is served, by incorporating it as a part of the school day, overcomes these challenges and dramatically increases breakfast participation rates. There are three common strategies to improve the reach of the School Breakfast Program which include, Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go Breakfast and Second Chance Breakfast.


   The Breakfast in the Classroom model operates by having meals delivered directly to the classrooms using hot and cold portable bags. This strategy is often employed with elementary school students. Grab and Go Breakfast, a model often used with middle and high schoolers, places pre-packaged meals in high traffic areas of the school building. As they arrive, students grab a breakfast, eating it in the hallway and typically completing the remainder of that meal in the classroom. With the Second Chance Breakfast model, breakfasts are served during an extended passing period sometime after the first bell. Students are able to go to designated locations within the building, including the cafeteria, to eat breakfast or to grab a pre-packaged meal that is eaten in the classroom.


   Boosting school breakfast participation is not a one size fits all strategy. Selecting the best alternative breakfast service model for your school depends on a number of factors such as layout of your building, age of students and available resources. Gather key stakeholders such as teachers, nutrition staff and custodial services to discuss the educational benefits of breakfast and the positive impact that it can have on the school environment. Together, develop a plan to implement an alternative breakfast service model that fits your school’s unique needs. To facilitate strategy development, review this chart to understand the key components of each service model.


   The Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, including the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, are working hard to increase breakfast participation in Pennsylvania by providing grants and technical assistance to help schools implement alternative breakfast models. For more information about the grant and School Breakfast, contact Etienne Melcher, emelcher@frac.org or visit www.breakfastintheclassroom.org.

 
P.O. Box 39, 122 Valley Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 Phone: (717) 732-4999 Fax: (717) 732-4890
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