In the News

New Report! Secondary School Principals See Benefits of Breakfast After the Bell

FRAC recently released a joint report with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Breakfast After the Bell: Equipping Students for Academic Success, Secondary School Principals Share What Work (pdf). The report showcases that more and more secondary school principals are urging others to adopt breakfast after the bell programs, citing higher participation in school breakfast and an improved school environment as positive results. The report contains firsthand accounts of successful alternative breakfast service model experiences from secondary school principals. 

How to Use? Leverage this report to facilitate conversations with secondary schools who have not previously considered implementing a breakfast after the bell program. For discussions with elementary school principals, you can share our companion piece (pdf) which surveyed more than 200 elementary school principals and found similar positive experience with breakfast after the bell.

October 23, 2015
Save the Date for the upcoming School Breakfast Summit.  Start gathering your team, and check back for more info!

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March 5, 2015

Happy National School Breakfast Week!
Check out this amazing video from our  Challenge Partner CNOP, which proves that"Everything Starts with School Breakfast.

February 12, 2015

Breakfast in the Classroom can now count towards time on learning!

New policy guidance in Massachusetts allows Breakfast in the Classroom to count towards time on learning.  Click to read the memo and learn more details


December 17, 2014


Trahan Elementary School awarded $1,725 by the dairy farm families of Massachusetts to offer a healthy Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program to all students!

Tewksbury, MA – December 16, 2014 – Trahan Elementary School hosted an event today with New England Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty and Massachusetts dairy farmer Warren Shaw to celebrate the $1,725 the school recently received in funding to start a Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program. This initiative is part of the outstanding efforts made by this school to increase opportunities for students to eat healthy and be physically active every day through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Research shows that eating a healthy school breakfast every day is associated with improved academic success, attendance and behavior. The Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program at Trahan Elementary School will ensure that every student has access to a healthy meal when the school day begins so that they are prepared to learn. Fuel Up to Play 60 is the nation’s largest in-school wellness program created by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with the USDA. Funding for this program is provided by the dairy farm families of Massachusetts.

 “We are very excited about this grant and are eager to start our new Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program come January,” said Deb Mugford, school nutrition director of Tewksbury Public Schools. “As school leaders, it’s vital that we treat the student as a whole person by focusing on both academics and healthy behaviors such as eating a daily breakfast and being active every day.”

 Trahan Elementary School will implement a “Breakfast-in-the-Classroom” breakfast program in January 2015 and is currently exploring additional ways to improve access to healthy foods for students.  The school’s goal is to increase breakfast participation to 43% by the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

 During the event today, McCourty and Shaw spoke with the 250 3rd and 4th grade students at Trahan Elementary School about the importance of fueling up with a nutritious breakfast and being active for at least 60 minutes every day.

 “Breakfast is fuel for your body and your mind,” notes Devin McCourty, defensive back, New England Patriots. “I am happy that I can be here today to help encourage the students of Trahan Elementary School to enjoy a healthy breakfast every morning at school and to be active for 60 minutes each day. Learning these healthy behaviors now will help them succeed in the future.”

 Massachusetts dairy farmer Warren Shaw echoed McCourty’s sentiments, adding that “As dairy farmers, we work hard every day to provide our community with a wholesome and healthy product they can enjoy as part of a healthy diet.”

 Additionally, Mary Joan McLarney from the USDA and Diane Sylvia from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spoke to the students about the link between academic success and eating a healthy breakfast at school.

 “Increasing school breakfast participation provides support for all children throughout the day,” said Diane Sylvia, MA school nutrition programs state coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Photo Caption: Trahan Elementary School receives grant from Fuel Up To Play 60 for a new breakfast-in-the-classroom program and celebrated alongside Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots and Massachusetts dairy farmer, Warren Shaw.  From left to right: Deb Mugford, school nutrition director for Tewksbury Public School, Devin McCourty, defensive back for the New England Patriots, Warren Shaw of Shaw Farm, Jill Read, nutrition specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council, and Matthew Castonguay, interim principal at Trahan Elementary School

 During the celebration at Trahan Elementary School, the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge announced that it is extending its deadline to the end of 2016. Created by New England Dairy & Food Council, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, The Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread and School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge (MSBC) aims to increase breakfast participation in districts across Massachusetts by 35%. The funds awarded to Trahan Elementary School are part of the path to achieving this goal.

 More than 73,000 schools are involved in Fuel Up to Play 60 nationwide, including more than 1,600 schools in Massachusetts. Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60 provides support for a variety of activities and tools, such as foodservice materials and equipment, nutrition and physical education materials, student and staff incentives, staff development and overall program implementation. Visit to learn more.

November 26, 2013
Check out this great article in The Salem News regarding the district's new Breakfast in the Classroom success! 

The breakfast club Benefits of morning meal in classrooms go beyond nutrition


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.

The Learning Connection

Want to learn more about the link between school breakfast consumption and academic success?  Check out the Wellness Impact Report which utilizes research to support the the Learning Connection.

Healthy Eating + Physical Activity = Improved Academic Performance!

Check out these additional publications which explain the benefits of school breakfast:

Funding Winners!

January 2013
19 schools in 9 districts were awarded funding from New England Dairy & Food Council to help begin or expand their breakfast programs.  Way to go!


Bellingham- Grab n' Go
Bellingham High
Bellingham Memorial Middle

Blackstone-Millville- Grab n' Go
Blackstone-Millville Regional High
Hartnett Middle

Brockton- Breakfast in the Classroom
Brookfield Elementary

East Bridgewater- Grab n' Go
East Bridgewater High

Milton- Grab n' Go
Milton High

Norwood- cafeteria style
Coakley Middle

Quaboag Regional- Grab n' Go
Quaboag Regional High
Warren Elementary
West Brookfield Elementary

Springfield- Breakfast in the Classroom
Balliet Middle

Walpole- Grab n' Go
Bird Middle
Boyden Elementary
Eleanor N. Johnson Middle
Elm St. School
Fisher School
Old Post Road School
Walpole High

Be sure to check the Funding Opportunities page to learn more about future grants!


$75,000 in funding from Fuel Up to Play 60 available to help schools focus on breakfast innovation and friendly competition

Boston, MA – December 3, 2012 –New England Dairy & Food Council is proud to announce the launch of the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge. This challenge, developed in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread and School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts, aims to increase school breakfast participation by 35% in districts across the state by the end of 2014.

“Consuming a healthy school breakfast helps students establish positive eating habits that contribute to a lifetime of overall better health,” said Jennie Bass, MS, MPH, director of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread.  “Research shows that serving students fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats improves academic performance, decreases visits to the nurse, and positively impacts classroom behavior.”

On September 20th, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a letter to encourage school administrators to find innovative ways to increase participation in school breakfast. According to the Food Research and Action Center’s School Breakfast scorecard, Massachusetts ranked a dismal 38th in breakfast participation in the United States. The Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge provides an opportunity to improve that statistic and encourages schools to follow the Secretary’s call to champion school breakfast.

“School breakfast is a win-win opportunity,” said Jane McLucas,  president of School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts. “Students win by having the nutrition they need to succeed in school, and the nutrition programs benefit from the increased revenue stream which can be an important part of maintaining a financially sound program.”

The Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge (MSBC) is a multi-faceted project that includes resources, funding opportunities and awards, all in the name of ensuring students start the day with a healthy meal. The challenge website,, is the go-to place for Massachusetts schools to get involved with the challenge and access resources on creative approaches to serving school breakfast, such as in-the-classroom breakfast or grab ‘n’ go kiosks.

Through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, $75,000 in funding provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of Massachusetts is available to help schools rise to this challenge. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that offers individual schools up to $4,000 to help them increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students.

"Massachusetts dairy farmers are happy to support school breakfast programs, and a little healthy competition doesn’t hurt either!” said Sam Shields, dairy farmer of Lolan Farms in Middleboro, MA and Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. “The future of the dairy industry as well as the health of today’s children are critical and deserve our support."

“The Department of Agricultural Resources is thrilled to support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s role in increasing school breakfast participation. Breakfast not only fuels the minds and bodies of our youth, but it is also a great way to encourage children to consume local dairy products like milk and yogurt every day,” said Greg Watson, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.  “Our dairy farmers depend on it too!”

Fuel Up to Play 60 funding can be used to support costs associated with starting or improving school breakfast programs, such as equipment purchases.