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FRAC/NAESP Joint Report: Principals Embracing Breakfast in the Classroom

New Report Finds More Principals Supporting Breakfast in the Classroom to Boost Participation

Download Start the School Day Ready to Learn with Breakfast in the Classroom: Principals Share What Works (pdf)

Washington, D.C. – November 14, 2013 – A new report by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and The National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESPF) finds that principals are embracing Breakfast in the Classroom as the best way to increase the number of students starting the day with school breakfast. According to the report, Start the School Day Ready to Learn with Breakfast in the Classroom: Principals Share What Works, more than three in four principals would encourage their peers to consider this program.

For the report, FRAC and NAESPF surveyed 276 school principals from 15 school districts whose schools operate Breakfast in the Classroom programs. The survey assessed their experience with their schools’ Breakfast in the Classroom programs, including challenges they encountered and factors that contribute to successful programs.

Findings from the report include:

  • Seventy-eight percent of principals surveyed said they would encourage other principals to consider Breakfast in the Classroom; 17 percent were neutral (neither encouraging nor discouraging); and only 5 percent disagreed.
  • Principals noted an increase in breakfast participation (85 percent), fewer reports of student hunger (61 percent), fewer tardy students (40 percent), improved student attentiveness (37 percent), and an improved school (34 percent) and classroom (35 percent) environment.

Nearly half of principals surveyed (47 percent) cited no challenges with starting up a Breakfast in the Classroom program. Those who did report challenges – clean-up, limited janitorial staffing, or concerns from teachers – often found that these issues were easily addressed by providing additional cleaning supplies and by working closely with teachers during implementation.

Participation in school breakfast provides countless educational and health benefits, yet only half of the low-income children who participate in school lunch eat school breakfast. Breakfast in the Classroom erases barriers to participation by making breakfast part of the school day and moving it out of the cafeteria and into the classroom.

“Getting more children to eat breakfast at school means less hunger and more children ready to learn,” said Crystal Fitzsimons, FRAC Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs. “Breakfast in the classroom is a key strategy to improving participation in this important program, and it is exciting to see how more and more principals are making it a priority in their schools.”

“Successful Breakfast in the Classroom programs benefited from strong leadership by principals to bring this program to their schools,” said Gail Connelly, NAESPF President and NAESP Executive Director. “Given all of its benefits to education and health, we urge more principals to consider ways to bring Breakfast in the Classroom to their schools.

The report notes that it is never too late in the school year to make the transition to Breakfast in the Classroom. Principals can start taking important steps and reach out to other school leaders to start building a path toward implementing Breakfast in the Classroom in their schools.

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