First Annual MA School Breakfast Report Card Released; Healthy Start Awards tomorrow
The Eos Foundation has just released a FANTASTIC School Breakfast Scorecard for Massachusetts, with the help of Children's HealthWatch and Department of Early and Secondary Education. The report includes detailed information in key high poverty districts. Hats off to Eos, CHW and DESE!
And tomorrow, at the State House, Eos will be hosting the Healthy Start Awards to honor school districts in Massachusetts that have changed the game on school breakfast, with the highest award this year going to New Bedford Public Schools. New Bedford has implemented Breakfast After the Bell, now reaching 13,000 students !
Eos Foundation, Healthy Start Awards
Massachusetts State House, The Great Hall of Flags
April 27th from 10:00-11:30am
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andrea Silbert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 10:29 AM
Subject: First Annual MA School Breakfast Report Card Released
Eos is pleased to announce the release of the first annual Massachusetts School Breakfast Report Card. This commissioned work highlights childhood hunger as a contributor to the achievement gap, and calls for free, after the bell breakfast to be adopted across the state's nearly 600 high poverty schools (those with 60% or more students qualifying for free or reduced price meals). Most of these schools reside in one of 33 districts ranked in this Report Card by their average school breakfast participation rate, a measure of success for alleviating childhood hunger. The remaining high need schools are also listed, providing a comprehensive list of all schools in the state that should be operating after the bell breakfast programs.
Since 2013, when Eos first began funding after the bell school breakfast, an additional 30,000 students from low-income communities are eating breakfast at school each day. Despite this success, 150,000 children in our high poverty schools are still not participating in school breakfast because they can't access it easily. Eos believes this is unacceptable, especially when a tested solution exits.
"Food is the brain's fuel," said Dr. Deborah Frank, a nationally renowned pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and founder of Children's HealthWatch who published the report. "Unlike other organs the brain cannot store nutrients so this fuel must be consistently available for children to be able to focus and learn. For many low-income families finding financial resources for breakfast every school day is daunting and sometimes impossible. Universal free school breakfast has been shown to be an efficient and effective intervention to keep the brains of all our children fueled for learning."
At 68% participation Lowell has the highest average breakfast participation rate and a number one ranking in the Report Card. Additionally, top-ranked New Bedford, Brockton, and Springfield are seeing 80%+ participation in schools operating after the bell, breakfast in the classroom - a program they are committed to expand district-wide. For the bottom tier of breakfast performers, those with low 18-40% participation rates in breakfast, this report card is a call to action.
Free, after the bell breakfast programs are proven to dramatically increase participation and alleviate hunger which improves student learning. If all low-income schools reached 80% participation in breakfast, they would draw down over $30 million in additional federal USDA reimbursements each year - this is money our state is currently forfeiting due to low participation. All high poverty schools can launch after the bell breakfast programs at no new cost to the state, and per Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines issued in 2015, the time spent eating breakfast in the classroom during teacher instruction counts towards student learning time.
Eos is committed to working with high-poverty schools to close the childhood hunger gap, and we will continue to fund start-up costs for schools that want to launch after the bell, breakfast in the classroom (BIC). Schools can find grant information on the Eos website, or contact Christy Mach Dube at machdube@EosFoundation.org.
I invite you to read this report, and to act by helping a school near you transition to an after the bell breakfast program.