New Report – Maryland Earns a B in School Breakfast Participation among Low-Income Students
Nearly two-thirds of all low-income Maryland students who participate in school lunch also participate in school breakfast, according to a new report released on October 1st by Maryland Hunger Solutions. The report, Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland’s Report Card (pdf), gave the state a B in overall breakfast participation during the 2014-2015 school year, and highlights two proven approaches to increasing participation: serving breakfast in the classroom and implementing the Community Eligibility Provision. Grades for both the state and every county are available. “Expanding participation in breakfast is one of the best ways to ensure that Maryland’s children are healthy and ready to learn,” said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Our new report highlights two proven approaches to increasing participation in the school breakfast program – serving breakfast in the classroom and implementing the Community Eligibility Provision. More schools across Maryland should adopt these strategies so more children can start the day with breakfast.”
The School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free breakfast to children at the start of each school day.
Research shows that children who participate in the School Breakfast Program:
- are less likely to experience food insecurity,
- are better able to learn,
- are less likely to be overweight,
- exhibit better behavior at school,
- consume a healthier overall diet,
- demonstrate improved academic performance, and
- are less likely to be late to or absent from school.
Breakfast Delivery Models
MDHS advocates for increased access to the School Breakfast Program, especially for children most in need, and encourages the Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab and Go Breakfast models, which result in dramatic increases in breakfast participation rates. In the traditional breakfast model, school breakfast is served in the cafeteria before the start of the school day. Participation in this model tends to be low due to transportation issues, stigma, and incompatible bus or family schedules.
Breakfast in the Classroom
- Breakfast is delivered in coolers or insulated bags to the classrooms.
- Students eat together in their classrooms after the morning bell.
- While students eat breakfast, the teacher takes attendance, collects homework, etc.
- This model has been shown to dramatically increase student participation.
Grab and Go Breakfast
- Students choose the breakfast items they want from a kiosk in the hallway or cafeteria.
- Breakfast is usually eaten in the classroom after the morning bell.
- This model works well with middle school and high school students.
Second Chance Breakfast
- This model is offered in combination with another delivery model for students who arrive late to school or who are not hungry first thing in the morning.
What’s Happening with Breakfast in Maryland?
Maryland Hunger Solutions strongly supports Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), a state-funded program that expands access to universal, free Breakfast in the Classroom in schools where at least 40% of students are eligible for free and reduced priced meals. Participating schools enjoy significantly higher breakfast participation, improved student attendance, and improved student behavior. While about 22% ofall students in all Maryland schools eat school breakfast, 66% of all students in MMFA funded schools participate in the School Breakfast Program – a threefold increase. In the 2013-2014 school year, 414 schools participated in this program. In 2014-2015, increased funding has allowed 462 schools to participate. However, more than fifty schools that applied to participate in the 2014-2015 school year were not able due to lack of funding.
Maryland Hunger Solution’s campaign Hear the Maryland Crunch! raises awareness about the importance of School Breakfast Programs in the fight against childhood hunger. Thousands of Marylanders crunch an apple together to spread the word that every child in Maryland should have access to a healthy breakfast. Follow this link to photos and more information.
The Community Eligibility Provision is an exciting new option in Maryland that allows schools with high percentages of low-income children to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. Hundreds of Maryland schools are eligible to elect CEP and become Hunger-Free Schools. More…
- First Class Breakfast in Maryland: A Guide to Expanding School Breakfast (pdf)
- Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland’s Report Card(December 2014 report) (pdf)
Maryland Hunger Solutions can Help By:
- Working with your school to tailor a program to make breakfast a part of every child’s school day.
- Providing you with breakfast outreach materials to promote the program to students and families.
- Giving a presentation to students, faculty, or staff about the importance of school breakfast.