12 Schools Introduce Breakfast in the Classroom

Guilford County Schools (GCS) students will benefit from a nutritious morning meal throughout the school year thanks to the Breakfast in the Classroom program, funded by the Walmart Foundation. More than 12,000 students at 12 GCS schools will now participate in the free breakfast program, allowing students to reap the nutritional and academic benefits associated with a morning meal.

The addition of GCS brings the total number of school districts benefiting from Breakfast in the Classroom to 15 this year. Through a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, the national program reworks how school breakfast is delivered, by offering it to all students at no charge and moving it from the cafeteria to the classroom, in an effort to improve participation and boost learning and health.

The local schools participating in the program are Alderman Elementary, Allen Middle, Bluford STEM Academy, Brightwood Elementary, Cone Elementary, Dudley High, Jackson Middle, Oak View Elementary, Parkview Village Elementary, Sedgefield Elementary, Smith High and Welborn Academy of Science and Technology. Parents and students can expect Breakfast in the Classroom to be phased into the school day during the first few weeks of school.

While breakfast is already served in school cafeterias, many students do not participate because of various reasons, including bus schedules, late arrivals to school, pressure to go directly to class or reluctance to be labeled as "low income." Data from the 2011-12 school year shows that more than 56 percent of students in GCS qualified for free and reduced-price meals, yet only 38 percent were eating the breakfast available to them.

"As a program, Breakfast in the Classroom provides noticeable improvements to child behavior and concentration, as well as decreased tardiness and absenteeism," said Jim Faggione, director of school nutrition services. "This year, we look forward to seeing the benefits of the breakfast program impact the daily lives of our students and staff."

GCS was selected as one of 10 U.S. school districts to participate in the second phase of Breakfast in the Classroom, which is a joint initiative from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation, National Education Association Health Information Network and School Nutrition Foundation - collectively known as the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. The Partners also are working in conjunction with the Guilford County Association of Educators to provide the program locally.

The Partners selected GCS to participate in the program based on need and potential for success. As more schools adopt the Breakfast in the Classroom approach, the Partners anticipate participation in the federally-funded School Breakfast Program will increase, helping reduce hunger and improve educational achievement nationwide.

Breakfast in the Classroom is part of a $2 billion cash and in-kind multi-year commitment (through 2015) by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to fight hunger in America. For more information, visit www.breakfastintheclassroom.org .