There are many benefits to school breakfast, including preventing obesity and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. To encourage school breakfast, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded USDA School Breakfast Expansion grants to school districts in Mass. for 2015, including: Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Medford, Peabody, Salem, SEEM Collaborative, Taunton, and Wareham. School districts are eligible if 40% or more of lunches served to students are free or reduced price. The expansion grant helps schools to improve and implement school breakfast models that incorporate the USDA meal plan requirements for School Breakfast Programs (SBPs) and increase participation in the SBP.
The John Stalker Institute is assisting with providing professional development for school districts awarded this grant. Through the professional development workshops, school nutrition staff learn:
- The importance of breakfast
- The breakfast meal pattern requirements
- How to build and recognize a reimbursable meal
- How to market and promote their school breakfast program
In the workshop, school nutrition staff participate in a hands-on breakfast food demo, including discussion on how to develop a breakfast menu, and how to prepare healthy hot and cold breakfasts.
Ways to increase awareness about school breakfast programs include:
- Attending school open houses
- Sending home or e-mailing informational flyers or letters
- Posting menus online
- Hosting a parent breakfast
Congratulations to the schools who were awarded a School Breakfast Expansion grant!