COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
March 4, 2016
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with the School Nutrition Association (SNA), recognizes March 7-11, 2016, as National School Breakfast Week (NSBW). Public schools in Virginia will join with schools nationwide as they “Wake up to School Breakfast,” this year’s theme for the celebration. Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe will visit several schools to recognize the importance of school breakfast and to celebrate the success of recent efforts to increase school breakfast participation in Virginia.
More than 44 million school breakfasts were served to students in Virginia last year; however, this is less than half the number of school lunches served. All schools in Virginia are eligible to participate in the USDA School Breakfast Program (SBP); 1,841 schools are participating this year. In the 2015-2016 school year, state incentive funding was awarded to 227 schools to implement alternate breakfast service models, such as grab and go breakfast, breakfast in the classroom, and breakfast after the bell. Early data show increases in student breakfast participation in these schools. All SBP participating school divisions in Virginia are also eligible to receive a $0.22 per meal incentive payment for new school breakfasts served above an established meals served per student baseline; last year nearly $3.8 million in incentive funding was earned for increased breakfast participation. These divisions also leveraged additional federal reimbursement as a result of the increased breakfast meals served.
School breakfast is an important component of the school day that can help students be ready to learn. Studies have shown that students who participate in the School Breakfast Program have improved overall diet quality, including greater consumption of grains, fruits, and milk; improved academic performance; and improved attendance. Increasing the number of students who eat a nutritious meal as part of the School Breakfast Program is an important step in improving the health of Virginia’s students, as well as their academic achievement.
The Department of Education has partnered with the first lady, No Kid Hungry, Virginia Hunger Solutions, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Southeastern United Dairy Industry Associates, and others to promote school breakfast and provide resources and support to school divisions. The Governor will issue a proclamation for School Breakfast Week. No Kid Hungry has developed a toolkit for NSBW 2016 which is provided as Attachment A to this memo. Virginia Hunger Solutions will be releasing their 2016 Virginia School Breakfast Report during NSBW to share school breakfast program best practices and recognize top performing schools and school divisions in Virginia. A Discover School Breakfast Tool Kit with additional resources is also available on the USDA Web site at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/breakfast/toolkit/Default.htm.
If there are questions or additional information is needed, contact Lynne A. Fellin, associate director of school nutrition programs, by telephone at (804) 225-2717 or via e-mail at Lynne.Fellin@doe.virginia.gov or contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division.