On average, over 17,000 students in need start their day with a healthy school breakfast
[Newark, NJ – February 14, 2017] Newark Public Schools (NPS) ranked fifth out of 73 large school districts scored on the annual School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts report released today by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), a national anti-hunger advocacy group. In the 2015-2016 school year, approximately 17,055 NPS students participated in the district’s daily School Breakfast Program.
“Every student needs and deserves access to a healthy breakfast in order to prepare their mind and body for the rigorous work they set out to complete each day,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “The district understands the important role breakfast plays in our students’ diets and academic achievement, and we are committed to continuing to improve upon our School Breakfast Program to assure that all students are prepared every morning for a successful school day.”
The national School Breakfast Program makes it possible for all school children in the U.S. to receive a nutritious breakfast every school day. The FRAC report examines School Breakfast Program participation rates and trends in 73 of America’s largest school districts. These districts saw a net increase of 101,548 students eating school breakfast in school year 2015–2016, compared to the prior school year.
School breakfast participation nationally has been growing, and several strategies exist to increase it further, including the use of “breakfast after the bell” models such as breakfast in the classroom, “grab and go”, and second chance breakfast. NPS has implemented breakfast in the classroom in all of its schools, and also offers breakfast in the cafeteria and at centralized kiosks in specific schools across the district. Breakfast is offered at no cost to all students who attend NPS. These strategies have been key drivers in the district’s high school breakfast participation rate.
“Our goal is to support student achievement and improve educational outcomes across the district by ensuring that students are receiving proper nutrition at the start of each school day,” said Dr. Tonya McGill, Food Service Director for Newark Public Schools. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and by providing students with access to a healthy breakfast, we are confident that students are starting their day off ready to learn.”
FRAC has set an ambitious but achievable goal of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 receiving school lunch. The report finds that approximately 92 low-income children in NPS ate school breakfast for every 100 students that received free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2015 – 2016 school year. This is well above the national average of 56 low-income children eating school breakfast for every 100 students who received school lunch in the 2015–2016 school year.
About School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts
This report examines School Breakfast Program participation rates and trends in 73 of America’s largest school districts. Two-thirds of the districts expanded their school breakfast participation from the previous school year. Read School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts in full.