February 13, 2018
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) announced that for the fourth year in a row West Virginia is leading the nation in school breakfast participation. The School Breakfast Scorecard ranks states and the District of Columbia on the basis of participation of low-income children in the School Breakfast Program. West Virginia exceeded FRAC’s goal for states of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 who ate school lunch.
“The West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education have partnered with legislators, community members and county administrators to ensure that every child receives the nutrition they need to succeed in school,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Research shows that school breakfast leads to improved diet, reduced food insecurity, better test scores, improved student health, and fewer distractions in the classroom, especially for our most vulnerable students.”
Nationally, on an average school day during the 2016–2017 school year, nearly 12.2 million low-income students participated in the national School Breakfast Program. While participation from year to year has continued to increase, the rate of growth has slowed, from an average of 390,000 additional students in each of the four preceding years to nearly 70,000 additional students in the 2016–2017 school year.
West Virginia has successfully increased breakfast participation through implementing alternative strategies to breakfast service, including in-classroom service and offering breakfast at no cost. In addition to West Virginia’s nation-leading breakfast participation, the report draws attention to the state’s guidelines established to protect students from the stigma of unpaid meal debt; guidelines which all school districts must follow.
“When the nutritional needs of students are met, we see a multitude of benefits – academically, mentally and in overall student health,” said Amanda Harrison, the West Virginia Department of Education’s Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “The West Virginia Department of Education is dedicated to ensuring no child is at a disadvantage due to food insecurity.”
For additional information, contact Jessica Hall at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 orJessica.Hall@k12.wv.us.