Data Shows that Students Who Aren’t Hungry Do Better
by Kathy Green
School boards have many ways they
support student success. Whether it is
adopting strong district policies, approving budgets to hire the best staff, or supporting 21st-century learning spaces, each
factor plays its part to ensure that Texas
students graduate and effectively enter
the workforce or higher education. One
program that benefits students is school
breakfast, particularly when it is taken out
of the cafeteria.
Most Texas schools already serve
breakfast through the federally funded
School Breakfast Program, which is
required by law for schools that have at
least a 10 percent free-and-reduced-price
student population. However, many
schools still offer only the traditional
model of breakfast served in the cafeteria
before the start of school. This model
misses many kids, including those who
may need it the most.
Alternative Breakfast Models
Kids skip school breakfast for a
variety of reasons. Some students arrive at
school just before the first bell and don’t
have time to go to the cafeteria. Some students may view school breakfast as being
only for the “poor kids” and are ashamed
of the stigma it casts. Others, especially
teens, aren’t hungry first thing in the
morning. By taking advantage of alternative breakfast models such as Breakfast in
the Classroom, Breakfast After the Bell, or
Grab and Go Breakfast, schools can avoid
Schools can also pair an alternative
breakfast model with funding methods
such as the Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 to provide breakfast
to all students on a campus at no cost.
By combining the two, schools will allow
many more kids to eat breakfast.
Since 2010, No Kid Hungry, a campaign run by the nonprofit Share Our
Strength organization, has worked with
school districts across the country to help
them fund and implement these alternative models.
In Texas alone, No Kid Hungry Texas
has added 250,000 students to the school
breakfast program. This is critical because
almost one in four Texas kids lives in a
food-insecure home, meaning they aren’t
sure where their next meal is coming
from. A healthy school breakfast helps
level the playing field for them.
Nutrition Equals Success
School breakfast does more than just
feed a hungry child. It also fuels the brain.
Data shows that kids who eat breakfast in
the morning attend more days of school,
see the school nurse less often, have fewer
behavior problems, have higher test scores,
and are more likely to graduate on time.
These meals are also good for par-
ents. Busy parents may not have the time
or resources every morning to ensure
that their kids have breakfast at home.
They also know that their kids may fill
in the gap with unhealthy snacks later
in the day. A healthy breakfast at school
provided to all students addresses these
No Kid Hungry Texas works with
school districts and community organizations across the state to help ensure that
every child receives three meals a day. No
Kid Hungry Texas can provide grants and
technical assistance to help implement
alternative breakfast models in Texas
school districts. For more information,
Kathy Green is the director of No Kid
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decisions that keep facilities
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Learn more at facility.tasb.org. Facility Services