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Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge


The Challenge

The MA School Breakfast Challenge Partners are challenging Massachusetts School Districts to increase their school breakfast participation. Districts will compete for awards and prizes based on the following criteria:

Challenge Group 1

Schools with 60 percent free and reduced priced meal eligibility and above:  

  • ALL high free and reduced priced eligible Elementary and Middle schools offer   Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) and strive for an 80% student participation rate.
  • All high free and reduced priced High Schools offer BIC or an appropriate alternative breakfast program such as Grab N Go or Second Chance.

Challenge Group 2
Schools between 30-59 percent free and reduced priced meal eligibility:

  • All schools offer an alternative school breakfast after the bell model and strive for a 50% student participation rate.  

Challenge Group 3

Schools with 29 percent free and reduced priced meal eligibility and below:

  • All schools without a school breakfast program should start one
  • All schools that are currently offering school breakfast should strive for a 25 percent participation rate.
Challenge partners will offer grants to schools to help them increase their School Breakfast Program participation and meet the Challenge. The ESE funded Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) will also offer schools technical assistance to help improve their breakfast participation. Visit FAQs to learn more!

Why Increase School Breakfast Participation?
Children of all ages do better in school when they start the day with a good breakfast. Research has shown that students who eat breakfast are ready to learn. Schools that implement breakfast programs see improvements in attendance, behavior, and test scores.

Hungry Children
With nearly 1 in 5 U.S. kids facing the threat of hunger, teachers across America are seeing its effects. Three out of five teachers say they have children in their classrooms that regularly come to school hungry.1  These students are unable to concentrate, often have headaches and stomach aches, and demonstrate poor academic performance. More than half of teachers (53%) say they purchase food for hungry kids in their classrooms. One in ten of these teachers buys food every week.

More than half (or 54%) of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in Massachusetts public schools do not eat school breakfast on a given school day, ranking Massachusetts as the 43rd state in low income student school breakfast participation.


Breakfast’s Benefits:
Schools have the unique opportunity to offer hungry students breakfast at school to help get their day off to a healthy start.  By providing more students with the opportunity to eat breakfast at school, research confirms that students:
  • Have better attendance
  • Are tardy less often
  • Are better able to concentrate
  • Perform better academically through higher test scores and grades – especially when eaten close to testing time
  • Make fewer visits to the school nurse
  • Have fewer disciplinary problems and report less bullying

Innovations in marketing and promotion, enhanced menu offerings, and delivery methods of school breakfast have resulted in significantly increased student participation. Now is the time to step up to the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge and adapt school breakfast programs that attract more students to eat breakfast.


Contact Us to learn more about how your district can compete in the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge.

1 https://secure.strength.org/site/SPageNavigator/SHARE/SHARE_Teachers_Report_2012.html

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