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BREAKFAST BASICS 2017 UPDATE A Comprehensive Look at School Breakfast Participation in Allegheny County


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This report, produced by Allies for Children and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, summarizes school breakfast participation rates in Allegheny County school districts as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This report was produced by:

Erika Fricke

Health Policy Director Allies for Children

Heather Hopson

Communications Director Allies for Children

Mara Kelosky

Research and Operations Manager Allies for Children Allies for Children serves as a bold voice for policy and practice changes that improve the wellbeing of all children and youth in Allegheny County, especially those with the greatest need.

Chris West

Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Food Security Partnership Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger. To determine the feasibility of alternative breakfast models or the viability of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), contact Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Both technical support and connections to grant opportunities may be facilitated through Chris West: cwest@pittsburghfoodbank.org or 412-460-3663 x307.

Special thanks to Vonda Cooke of the Pennsylvania Department of Education for support with data provision. Thanks also to administrators, food service staff, and managers at Sto-Rox School District for sharing their cafeterias and classrooms with us, in particular Superintendent Frank Dalmas and Food Service Director Sara Mastrine. All photos taken at Sto-Rox Primary Center and Upper Elementary School. Design by SHIFT COLLABORATIVE


TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction

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School Breakfast in Allegheny County

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School Breakfast in Pennsylvania

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Alternative Breakfast Models

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Case Study: Breakfast After the Bell

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Conclusion

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Allegheny County School Breakfast Participation Data Overview

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Introduction Health and education experts agree that school breakfast programs positively impact children’s health, behavior, and academic performance. In fact, eating breakfast has been linked to increased test scores and attendance and decreased obesity rates and visits to the nurse’s office.1 Despite the benefits, some students still do not start their mornings with nutritious meals. In March 2016, Allies for Children and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank published Breakfast Basics: A Comprehensive Look at School Breakfast Participation in Allegheny County to highlight how school policy changes can help combat childhood hunger and increase the number of breakfasts schools serve. To help increase student consumption, Allies for Children and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank offer hands-on technical assistance and support to schools, including sharing best practices, providing materials, and connecting to funding opportunities.

EXHIBIT 1 This chart reflects the average breakfasts served in October 2016 at school districts in Allegheny County, as a percentage of the total student population. Data used is from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The figures measure the percentage of all enrolled students eating breakfast at school.

School Breakfast in Allegheny County Since the 2016 report, more schools served more meals to students. In October 2015, four school districts—Cornell, East Allegheny, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Woodland Hills—served breakfast to at least 50 percent of students. In October 2016, six school districts served breakfast to more than half of the student populations—Wilkinsburg (64 percent), East Allegheny (63 percent), Sto-Rox (62 percent), Cornell (60 percent), Highlands (54 percent), and Woodland Hills (53 percent). Wilkinsburg and Highlands School Districts also experienced the largest percentage change in students eating school breakfast from October 2015 to October 2016. In addition to these districts, Steel Valley and West Mifflin showed considerable change in a matter of one school year.

EXHIBIT 2 This chart documents the top 10 school districts with the greatest increase in percentage change of total student population eating breakfast at school. School districts with an asterisk are not participating in the Certified Eligibility Provision (CEP), an option to allow individual schools, a group of schools, or an entire school district to provide breakfast and lunch for free determined by student need.

1  “School Breakfast.” No Kid Hungry, bestpractices.nokidhungry.org/ school-breakfast/benefits-school-breakfast. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.

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School Breakfast in Pennsylvania In order to continue to increase the number of students eating breakfast at school, Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania as a whole, must implement policies to ensure all students, especially those with the greatest needs, access nutritious meals. This is a policy priority for the Wolf Administration. In September 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order, which established the Governor’s Food Security Partnership. The Partnership, made up of private, public, nonprofit, and government sectors, published a food security plan entitled Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-free PA.2 One of the Blueprint’s 2020 goals is that 60 percent of students benefiting from free and reduced price school meals will participate in school breakfast. This is an increase from 47 percent in 2014-15. EXHIBIT 3 Formula to determine how many free and reduced price eligible students are eating school breakfast per 100 eating school lunch.

Free and Reduced Price School Breakfasts Being Served Daily Free and Reduced Price School Lunches Being Served Daily

60% 2020 Blueprint Goal

School Breakfast in Allegheny County EXHIBIT 4A & 4B These charts reflect the total daily average participation of free and reduced price eligible students eating school breakfast compared to school lunch in both Pennsylvania and Allegheny County. The percentage in each graph reflects the percent of free and reduced price eligible students eating school breakfast per 100 eating lunch.

Currently, Allegheny County outperforms the state in school breakfast participation among students that qualify for free and reduced price meals. In Allegheny County, 56 students that qualify for free and reduced price meals eat breakfast for every 100 that eat lunch. In Pennsylvania, that number is 50. Although 56 percent is close to the governor’s goal, the 44 percent that remain in Allegheny County, approximately 21,300 students, are not eating the free and reduced price breakfasts. These students may not eat breakfast at all or start the day with unhealthy food options. In all, thirteen school districts in Allegheny County meet or exceed the 60 percent target for the state. Seven school districts fall drastically short of the goal, serving fewer than 20 percent of students receiving free and reduced price meals. Therefore, out of every 100 students eating lunch, approximately 20 eat breakfast. Hunger may not affect the same numbers of students in all school districts, but all districts have at least some students that receive school meals at free or reduced costs. Exhibit 6 ranks Allegheny County school districts in meeting the statewide goal.

2 “Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA.” www.pa.gov, the Governor Tom Wolf Administration, July 2016, www.dhs.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_242851.pdf. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.

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EXHIBIT 6 This chart reflects how each school district in Allegheny County is exceeding, achieving, or missing the 2020 Blueprint target of 60 students who are eligible for free and reduced price meals eating breakfast for every 100 eating lunch in October 2016. School districts with an asterisk are not participating in the Certified Eligibility Provision (CEP).

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Alternative Breakfast Models EXHIBIT 5 In October 2016 in Allegheny County, 13 school districts (28 percent) met the 2020 Blueprint target of 60 students, who are eligible for free and reduced price meals, eating breakfast for every 100 eating lunch. Ten districts (22 percent) served between 40 and 59 percent of eligible students breakfast for every 100 eligible students eating lunch; 16 districts (35 percent) served between 20 and 39 percent of students; and seven (15 percent) served 19 percent or fewer.

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The reasons students do not eat school breakfast vary among districts, buildings, and students. In some cases, students are not hungry in the early morning hours, or they do not desire the food choices. Forced to choose between eating in the cafeteria and spending time socializing with friends, students may choose friends. Late arrival times also impact eating, causing students to miss breakfast due to line closures, long distances to the cafeteria, or a bell signaling the start of class. Additionally, some students do not eat due to the perceived stigma of receiving free or reduced price meals. To increase student consumption, school administrators are taking innovative approaches. In addition to adopting the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), some schools implemented alternative breakfast models, such as “Grab and Go,” Second Chance Breakfast, and Breakfast in the Classroom. “Grab and Go” breakfast provides students the chance to pick up breakfast outside of the cafeteria. Food service staff place food carts in the hallways where students can “grab” a breakfast on the way to class, the cafeteria, or other designated areas. “Breakfast After the Bell,” including Second Chance Breakfast and Breakfast in the Classroom programs, serve breakfast beyond the traditional breakfast period immediately prior to school. Meals are served during homeroom, first period, or before second period. For Breakfast in the Classroom, meals are picked up by students or delivered to classrooms, allowing them to eat at their desks.


Case Study: Breakfast After the Bell STO-ROX SCHOOL DISTRICT Everyday, every student in the Sto-Rox School District can eat breakfast and lunch at no cost, regardless of family income, thanks to “Community Eligibility.” The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is one reason why nearly 100 percent of students at Sto-Rox Primary Center (98 percent) and Sto-Rox Upper Elementary School (95 percent) start their day ready to learn with a nutritious meal. According to Food Service Director Sara Mastrine, the school district believes that no child should ever go hungry, regardless of his/her ability to pay. Therefore, the district feeds every child a healthy meal. To promote the importance of eating breakfast, Mastrine sometimes holds small giveaways and rewards students with school supplies and stickers. During holidays, cafeteria staff serve festive foods and decorate the lines. In the past, Sto-Rox School District implemented Breakfast in the Classroom, an alternative breakfast model. However, the district decided to return to serving breakfast in the traditional setting of the cafeteria, which allowed staff to offer more food options, but still structure breakfast in a unique way that greatly increased participation. When elementary students arrive at school, they are greeted by their teachers and escorted to the cafeteria. Teachers then monitor the room, ensuring children are not only socializing but also eating. Older students report to their classrooms first, and then eat breakfast after the bell in the cafeteria once the younger children are finished. This staggered approach allows all students to be served breakfast in the cafeteria. Starting the day with breakfast is key to academic success, according to Teacher Dave Condeluci, who also says his students must have energy to learn.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 included the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as a new option to allow individual schools, a group of schools, or an entire school district to provide breakfast and lunch for free. Federal reimbursement for meals served under CEP is based on a formula that calculates a school’s percentage of “identified students.” An “identified student” is a student who is enrolled in a public assistance program, such as foster care, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Medicaid. To participate in CEP, at least 40 percent of the student population must be categorized as “identified students.”

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Conclusion Allegheny County continues to make strides in making breakfast more accessible to students and ensuring children and youth get the nutrition needed to focus and learn at school. The county can reach, and perhaps far exceed, the statewide goal of 60 percent of students benefiting from free and reduced price school meals eating school breakfast. When districts, like Sto-Rox, incorporate breakfast into the school day, they often experience a dramatic increase in the percentage of total students eating breakfast. When all students eat, stigma around school breakfast decreases. While not all districts qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), all districts serve some families who could benefit from a robust school breakfast program. Appendix I contains school breakfast participation data for Allegheny County schools between October 2015 and 2016. This provides a snapshot of how individual school programs performed in terms of overall school breakfast participation (see orange highlighted section). Appendix I also illustrates how individual school programs performed in terms of serving free and reduced price eligible students breakfast and lunch (see blue highlighted section). The green highlighted section shows if school programs met, exceeded, or missed the 2020 Blueprint goal of 60 percent. The Pennsylvania Department of Education supplied all data used throughout this report and Appendix. To determine the feasibility of alternative breakfast models or the viability of CEP, contact Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Both technical support and connections to grant opportunities may be facilitated through Chris West, Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator: cwest@pittsburghfoodbank.org or 412-460-3663 x307.

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Appendix

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Appendix

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Appendix

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Appendix

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Breakfast Basics | Copyright © 2017 Allies for Children

Profile for Allies for Children

Breakfast Basics 2017 Update  

Breakfast Basics 2017 Update  

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