The Iowa Department of Education and the Midwest Dairy Council are partnering to implement an exciting challenge among Iowa schools to increase their breakfast participation!
Iowa School Breakfast Challenge - In this video, Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass invites schools to take the Iowa School Breakfast Challenge.
Students have trouble learning when they are focused on their empty stomachs rather than classroom activities. These students often lack concentration and struggle with poor academic performance, behavior problems, and health issues. However, of the more than 168,797 students who ate a free or reduced-price lunch in 2011, just over one-third also ate breakfast at school, ranking Iowa 49th in the nation. We have an opportunity to reduce student hunger by narrowing this gap.
Many innovative methods of serving breakfast are being implemented across the state that can help address barriers by making breakfast a part of the school day. When schools serve breakfast after the bell during regular school hours, they help address the timing problem because students no longer need to arrive early to school in order to participate in school breakfast.
During the 2011-12 School Year the Iowa Department of Education partnered with the Midwest Dairy Council to hold an Iowa School Breakfast Challenge. The challenge encouraged schools to increase their breakfast participation by at least 20%. The schools with the highest increase, were awarded cash prizes, provided by the Midwest Dairy Council. Here are the results:
< 350 students
|Gold: $4,000||United CSD
|Assumption High School
|Cedar Falls CSD
|Keys to Success||Increased communication to parents and cater to the students preferences FSD visits to classrooms.||Changed a la carte offerings to tailor students interests and entice students to breakfast and then encouraged adding components to build a reimbursable meal.||Added oatmeal as an option every day. Staff made the dining environment more welcoming and improved some menu items.||Changed in building enrollments and student populations affected participation and scheduling.|
|Silver: $2,500||St. Thomas Aqunias
|Keys to Success||Teachers encouraged students to participate. In the past students would wait outside, now they can wait in the cafeteria.||Changed menu items, adding more hot options. Starting to serve breakfast earlier to cater to high school students schedules and also added a grab n' go option for high schools students.||More hot menu options and added a grab n' go option. Smoothie bar is available 2 days a week, which drives higher participation on those days.||More hot menu options available, in addition to fresh banana or apple slices as a daily fruit option.|
The Department of Education is partnering with the Midwest Dairy Council again during the 2012-13 school year.
Take the Challenge 2012-13 School Year
All school districts and non-public schools are automatically a part of the challenge, based on enrollment.
- October 2012 - April 2013 Breakfast participation will be compared with October 2011 – April 12 participation.
- Participation will be based on the total number of breakfast served per child enrolled.
- The district or non-public school with the greatest % increase will be awarded cash prizes!
- Four Gold Awards of $4,000 each and four Silver Awards of $2,500 each.
- School Breakfast = School Success - School administrators learn how to help prepare students for success by promoting and supporting School Breakfast Programs. This webinar provides an introduction to the benefits of breakfasts, ideas for increasing participation, and ideas on how to expand current school breakfast programs.
- Expanding Your Breakfast Program - Many children don’t eat breakfast at home and even if breakfast is offered in the cafeteria, many don’t participate. They may be too busy socializing, or affected by the potential social stigma that the program is meant for low income students. Learn how to capture those breakfast skippers, by Expanding Breakfast outside of the cafeteria! This webinar provides information on Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast, and Breakfast After First Bell.
- Overcoming the Challenges of School Breakfast - There may be one or more problems that results in low participation in your School Breakfast Program. This webinar provides solutions to a few common problems, including lack of time, bus schedules, students preference to socialize, lack of administrative support and stigma.
The following resources can help your school increase participation:
- School Breakfast Parent Flyer
- Iowa School Breakfast Challenge Flyer
- Iowa School Breakfast Challenge FAQs - Updated
- 2010-11 IA School Breakfast Participation Chart
- USDA School Breakfast Tool-kit
- Iowa School Breakfast Program webpage
- Fuel Up to Play60 Competitive Funding
- Share Your Breakfast Grants
- Why Breakfast Equals School Success
- Breakfast Helps Kids Eat Right
- Traditional Breakfast Fact Sheet
- Grab n Go Breakfast Fact Sheet
- Breakfast After 1st Period Fact Sheet
- Breakfast in the Classroom Fact Sheet
- Breakfast in the Classroom FAQs
- 10 Reasons to Try Breakfast in the Classroom
- American Dietetic Association Kids Eat Right Healthy Breakfast. Everywhere You Go.