Breakfast Program for Newark Public School Students Receives Special Recognition

[NEWARK, NJ – February 23, 2018] The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) just released a report that finds Newark Public School has done a superb job in recent years providing nutrition to students. The report highlights in particular the work done to provide breakfast to the majority of students. Below are some findings from the Feb. 2018 report, which can be found here.

“I want to thank The Food Research & Action Center for recognizing our breakfast program in Newark,” said Interim Superintendent Robert Gregory. “I commend our leadership team, as well as the staff and aides who help prepare and ensure our students begin every day with a healthy meal. There is a direct correlation between learning and nutrition and we want to be sure to continue to give our students every opportunity possible to have a great academic experience.”

Newark Public Schools (NPS) ranked fourth (out of more than 75 large districts surveyed) in the ratio of Free & Reduced-Price Students participating in the School Breakfast Program. A high rate of breakfast participation, 92 percent of children with low income participate in the breakfast program, earns NPS the title of “A Top-Performing School District.

NPS Business Administrator Valerie Wilson said, “Newark Public Schools has been a proud longtime supporter of Breakfast in the Classroom. Our school partners have always been strong advocates with us. We plan to actively continue contributing to academic achievement in Newark.”

NPS serves breakfast in all schools, following best practices, including serving breakfast “after the bell” and in classrooms, in 49 schools. According to FRAC, “Implementing an alternative service model that moves breakfast out of the cafeteria and makes it a part of the school day has proven to be the most successful strategy for schools to increase breakfast participation.” A nutritious morning meal ensures students are healthy and start the day prepared to engage in the curriculum. “Breakfast after the bell overcomes timing, convenience, and stigma barriers that get in the way of children participating in school breakfast and are even more impactful when they are combined with offering breakfast at no charge to all students,” according to the report.

Unlike many large school districts, NPS serves breakfast in all schools and makes it free to all students.

“The success of BIC in Newark is a direct outcome of the collaboration we have with principals, teachers and our facilities team, said Dr. Tonya McGill, Executive Director of Food Services. “Through this collaboration all students have access to a health nutritious breakfast every morning to help them along their academic journey towards success.”

By serving breakfast to the overwhelming majority of Newark students, the school district met the Food Research and Action Center’s goal to capitalize on federal reimbursements. “When school nutrition departments increase their federal reimbursements,” according to FRAC, “they are able to build stronger school breakfast and lunch programs that improved nutritional quality, are more appealing to students, and reduce plate waste.”