SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 30
February 2, 1996
|FROM:||William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||SCHOOL BREAKFAST WEEK--MARCH 4-8, 1996|
The School Breakfast Program makes an invaluable contribution to many students in Virginia schools. For many reasons, students may not eat breakfast at home; however, beginning the school day with breakfast enhances their readiness to learn. Several research studies have demonstrated that students who eat breakfast perform better in school and have less absenteeism. Without breakfast children do not have adequate intakes of protein, calcium, and other nutrients that are important for growth, health, and performance. A study in Lawrence, Massachusetts schools showed that participation by low-income students in the School Breakfast Program was significantly associated with improvement in test scores and a reduction in tardiness and absenteeism. In recognition of the relationship of eating breakfast and students' health and academic performance, March 4-8 is National School Breakfast Week. This week provides an opportunity to focus on the benefits of a school breakfast for all children, its nutritional contributions, and to promote student participation. The theme, "Open Your Eyes to School Breakfast," reinforces the concept that eating breakfast makes a difference in the attentiveness, behavior, and academic performance of students. Schools are encouraged to promote and participate in School Breakfast Week with both cafeteria and classroom activities. There are many ways to promote breakfast. Classroom activities can integrate "break the fast" learning experiences into mathematics, language arts, and geography as well as health. Other activities include: inviting parents, administrators, and community leaders to breakfast, decorating the cafeteria, and cafeteria promotions to encourage students to eat school breakfast. While a majority of Virginia schools offer the breakfast program, there are many students who arrive at school without having eaten and who could benefit by eating breakfast at school. In particular, many students who are eligible for free meals could be eating breakfast at school and are not. Administrators who do not presently have school breakfast programs, or who wish to increase participation, may contact the School Nutrition Programs Specialist assigned to the school division or Dr. Jane Logan, Director, (804) 225-2074 for further information. WCBjr/idl