July 8, 2016

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Increasing Student Participation in the School Breakfast Program – 2016-2017 Application for State Funding for Alternative Breakfast Service Models

Research shows students who eat a healthy school breakfast perform better academically and physically, have better school attendance, and demonstrate fewer behavioral issues.  Increasing school breakfast participation can alleviate childhood hunger, improve nutrition, and ensure children have a healthy start to their day.  Student participation in school breakfast programs lags behind school lunch.  In Virginia, for every 100 students who participate in lunch, only about 44 participate in breakfast.

The fiscal year 2017 state budget provides $1.078 million in funding to support increases in the number of school breakfast meals served to students through an alternative service model, as defined later in this memo, as well as increases in breakfast meals served using a traditional service model.  These state funds will be awarded to eligible schools through the school division’s school nutrition program.  School divisions must submit the required application to the Department of Education (DOE) by August 12, 2016, in order to receive funding.  The application is available in Attachment A. 

A state reimbursement of $0.05 per breakfast meal served will be provided for each approved school in the division.  These funds must be credited to the division’s school nutrition program account and may not be used for any other purpose.  The school nutrition program financial reports submitted to the Department of Education will be monitored to determine compliance.

WHAT IS AN ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL BREAKFAST SERVICE MODEL?

Alternative school breakfast service models provide meals to students through a distribution method different from traditional cafeteria service, removing various obstacles that may prevent students from participating.  Breakfast participation is made more convenient by serving meals in a way that students can easily access.  Increased student breakfast participation is the goal.

Alternative service models are designed to offer students greater flexibility to eat breakfast after the bell – where school breakfast is provided to students at or after the official start of the school day.  Meals may be served in the classroom, cafeteria, hallway kiosk, or other locations.  Delivery options can vary and there may be more than one used in a school.  In the breakfast after the bell model, students have the opportunity to eat breakfast as part of the start of their school day rather than being restricted to eating in the cafeteria before the school day begins.

Some examples of alternative service models are:

  1. Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) - Students eat breakfast in the classroom with their classmates and teacher.  Breakfast can be served after the first bell or when students arrive but before the beginning of the official instructional day.  Breakfast meals can be delivered to each classroom or picked up from a central location (i.e., cafeteria or kiosk) on the way to class.

  2. Grab and Go Breakfast - Students pick up breakfast meals as they arrive at school and eat in their classroom.  Meals are available in a variety of locations; such as, mobile service carts equipped with a computerized point of sale or roster and located at the school entrance, other high-traffic areas, or in the cafeteria.  Food items are packaged as a unit to assure a reimbursable meal is received and to make this model convenient and appealing to students.

  3. Second Chance Breakfast - Students eat breakfast during a nutrition break in the morning, usually after first period, either in the cafeteria, from a mobile service cart, or in the classroom.  Breakfast meals are usually packaged together to allow students to receive their breakfast in just a few minutes and get to their next class.

Attachment B, School Breakfast Resources, provides a variety of resources to assist schools in learning more about alternative service models; in developing strategies to increase student participation; and, in identifying best practices and technical assistance available.

WHICH SCHOOLS MAY APPLY?

  1. Elementary schools participating in the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) School Breakfast Program with total student eligibility for free or reduced price meals of 45 percent or greater are eligible for state funding of an alternative school breakfast service pilot. Attachment C is a listing of these eligible schools.

  2. Schools that participated in the Alternative School Breakfast Model, Breakfast after the Bell (BaB) pilot in 2015-2016 will be funded again in 2016-2017 if they continue the BaB pilot, submit an application, and qualify under the criteria listed in number one.

  3. Funding priority will be given to schools that plan to implement an alternative breakfast service model to increase student breakfast participation.

  4. School divisions may determine which alternative breakfast service model(s) best applies in its schools; however, the model must fit the BaB framework.

  5. School divisions also have the option to expand student participation in the existing traditional school breakfast program and receive this state reimbursement for breakfast meals served in any school.  Applications for schools using the traditional service model may be for any grade level and for any free and reduced price eligibility percentage.  These plans must include strategies for increasing student breakfast participation.

  6. Schools must implement the proposed plans for school year 2016-2017.

  7. All breakfast meals served must meet the USDA School Breakfast Program regulations for reimbursable meals in order to receive this state funding incentive.

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

  1. School divisions must report the number of breakfast meals served for each school as part of the monthly School Nutrition Program (SNP) Web based claim.  All claims must be submitted in a timely manner to be eligible for funding.

  2. School divisions that receive state funds for alternative breakfast service models will be required to evaluate the educational impact of the models implemented and submit data to DOE by June 1, 2017, to be included in the statewide evaluation report.  A reporting template will be provided by DOE to all recipient schools and school divisions in May.

  3. Detailed school level data must be reported to DOE to be analyzed and included in the report to the Governor and the General Assembly due by August 1, 2017.  DOE will use data previously collected as it is available. Data that must be reported for funded schools at the school level will include the following:
    1. Student attendance and tardiness,
    2. Office discipline referrals,
    3. Student visits to the school nurse,
    4. Teacher’s responses to the impact of the pilot, and
    5. The financial impact on the division’s school nutrition program.

HOW TO APPLY:

The application (Attachment A) must be completed and submitted by the school division for one or more schools under its jurisdiction.  Applications from individual schools will not be considered.   

The application with original signatures of the division superintendent and the division school nutrition director must be received by the Department of Education no later than 5 p.m., Friday, August 12, 2016, via U.S. Mail or courier.  Facsimile or electronic copies of the application will not be accepted.  Send the original application by U.S.Mail or courier to:

Future grant opportunities from a variety of nonprofit organizations may become available to assist schools with funding to purchase equipment for their transition to alternative breakfast.  Technical assistance and best practice information about implementing alternative breakfast service models and increasing student breakfast participation are also available from the DOE partnership with the Virginia No Kid Hungry (VA NKH) initiative, a program of Share Our Strength.  If you would like more information about these topics, please contact Elizabeth Brightwell, NKH program associate, at (804) 371-4281 or by e-mail at elizabeth.brightwell@doe.virginia.gov, or contact Ellen Eichenbaum, NKH program associate, at (804) 225-4993 or by e-mail at ellen.eichenbaum@doe.virginia.gov.

If you have questions or need additional information about the USDA School Breakfast Program, alternative breakfast service models, or the state funding application, contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to the school division, or Lynne A. Fellin, associate director, Office of School Nutrition Programs, at lynne.fellin@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2717.

SRS/LAF/idl

Attachments:

  1. 2016-2017 Application for State Funding for Alternative School Breakfast Service Models (XLS)
  2. School Breakfast Resources (PDF)
  3. Elementary Schools Eligible for Alternative Breakfast Service Model Funding (PDF)