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Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge

The Challenge
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is challenging Massachusetts School Districts to increase their school breakfast participation by 35%. Districts will compete for awards and prizes from January 2013 to December 2014. ESE and New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) are offering 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 57%) 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 44th 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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