The Total Child

Celebrating 2018 National School Breakfast Week

(Alternative School Breakfast , Healthy Eating and Active Living , National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Since 2011, AASA has engaged 30 school districts in the Alternative School Breakfast Initiative, supported by the Walmart Foundation. This program increases the number of children who eat school breakfast, by taking breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom and hallways through Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘n’ Go, and Second Chance options.

The eight districts in our most recent cohort held activities during National School Breakfast Week to raise awareness of their school breakfast programs. Here are some shining examples.

National Recognition 

Alhambra Unified School District receives USDA’s 2018 Champions of Breakfast Award

USDA awarded Alhambra Unified School District (CA), the Western Region's 2018 Champions of Breakfast Award for the category, Implementation of an Innovative School Breakfast Model. This award recognizes schools and districts that operate exemplary school breakfast programs. Alhambra USD implemented a Grab N' Go Breakfast Model.

National School Breakfast Week Activities: Breakfast Samples, Active Living Prizes and More 

First Lady of Virginia Samples Grab N’Go Breakfast in Chesterfield County Public Schools

 Chesterfield first lady visit
 The First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, preparing to sample breakfast on a Grab N' Go Kiosk at an elementary school in Chesterfield County Public Schools (Va.). Photo Credit: The Office of Governor Ralph Northam.

As part of National School Breakfast Week, Pamela Northam, The First Lady of Virginia, visited one of the elementary schools participating in AASA's alternative school breakfast initiative program in Chesterfield County Public Schools (VA). The elementary school offers Grab N' Go Breakfast with a kiosk in the hallway. Read more about this event.

An Array of Activities Celebrating Breakfast at Community Consolidated School District 21 (Ill.)

Community Consolidated School District 21 had a variety of activities to celebrate NSBW including Dress Up Days like crazy hat day and school spirit day. Students and staff wrote thank you notes to cafeteria staff, and principals at breakfast with their students. A principal was selected as a breakfast champion. Students who participated in breakfast that week won prices included scooters and swim passes.

Chef Tables Offer Opportunity to Sample School Breakfast at Stamford Public Schools (Conn.)  

Stamford Smoothies NSBW 2018

 Students sampled breakfast smoothies and oatmeal (flavors included apple pie and peaches and cream) at a chef table at an elementary and middle school in Stamford Public Schools (Conn.) during lunchtime. A dairy farmer from the New England Dairy Council visited the middle school to illustrate the importance of ensuring optimal nutrition for cows.  

AASA Also Got Out to Support Districts

New York State Press Event

On March 15th, Kayla Jackson presented at an event in Albany, NY which was held by The American Dairy Association North East. With the goal of highlighting Governor Cuomo's "No Student Goes Hungry" campaign, the event presented a "state of the state" on New York School Breakfast. Crystal FitzSimons from FRAC highlighted the great work that several NY districts had done on school breakfast, specifically calling out the success of school breakfast in Newburgh Enlarged City School District and Schenectady City School District. Jessica Pino-Goodspeed, a mentor from Hunger Solutions New York, shared findings from "Bridging The Gap: Ending Student Hunger with Breakfast After the Bell 2018 New York State School Breakfast Report."

Kelly Masline, Senior Associate Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents was also in attendance.

AASA was invited to share the importance of superintendent support for breakfast as a crucial component for success and sustainability and to introduce two of our currently funded districts, Rochester City School District and Enlarged City School District of Middletown, both of whom shared the success of their school breakfast work.

 Yogurt Parfaits at Enlarged City School District of Middletown (NY) 

MiddletownSmoothies MiddletownKiosk
 During National School Breakfast Week, students in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown tried new Fruit -N- Yogurt Parfaits.


Join AASA Children's Programs Department during National Healthy Schools Day

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 National Healthy Schools Day

 In response to the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, it’s clear that school system leaders and advocates across the country need to have conversations on school safety, what a healthy school environment looks like and how to best meet students’ social-emotional needs.

On Tuesday April 3, 2018, during National Healthy Schools Day, AASA will spearhead two activities to help begin and guide this conversation: a Blog Tour and a social media video/ photo sharing event.

National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by the Healthy Schools Network.

Blog Tour 

Organizations and school system leaders will have the opportunity to answer one or both of the following questions on their organization, district or personal blog.

  1. Considering the continued threat of gun violence in our schools, what does a healthy school look like to you today? Have school shootings altered your view of what it means to be a healthy school?
  2.  How can school system leaders help children in their district feel safe, as well as have their physical and social-emotional needs met in a healthy school environment?

Blogs should be posted and shared on April 3rd, 2018. RSVP for the event.

Email Rebecca Shaw, Project Coordinator about your intent to participate by Tuesday March 27th and a link to your final blog by Tuesday April 3rd at

Share your blog post on social media using #HealthySchoolsDay and tag @AASATotalChild in your tweets.

Social Media Video and Photo Sharing Event 

 Share photos and 1-4-minute video clips on social media on what a healthy, safe school environment means to your school district or organization by using the hashtag #HealthySchoolsDay. Tag @AASATotalChild in your responses.

 RSVP using your twitter handle for this event.

Join the Celebration: National School Breakfast Week!

(Alternative School Breakfast , National Awareness) Permanent link

Guest Post by: Alison Maurice , Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, Food Research and Action Center

 Why celebrate the 2018 National School Breakfast Week during March 5-9, 2018?


School breakfast not only fights hunger and improves children’s nutrition, but is a vital tool for improving the academic achievement of your students

Tight family budgets and hectic morning schedules make eating breakfast before the school day difficult for too many families. The School Breakfast Program plays a critical role in ensuring your students receive the basic nutrition they need to start the school day ready to learn.

Studies show that students who eat breakfast at school, closer to class and test-taking time, perform better on standardized tests when compared to students that skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Additionally, children and adolescents who are experiencing hunger have poorer grades and slower memory recall . Participating in school breakfast allows students to focus on the tasks ahead of them, rather than their empty stomachs.

Hunger also can contribute to student behavioral problems . Research suggests that students who eat school breakfast are less likely to exhibit behavioral and psychological distress. They also have lower rates of absence and tardiness. Furthermore, schools that are providing school breakfast through after the bell programs, such as breakfast in the classroom , “grab and go,” and second chance breakfast , have observed fewer behavioral problems requiring disciplinary office referrals, allowing educators to spend more class time on curriculums.

The School Breakfast Program is an essential tool for ensuring that students have the nutrition needed to thrive academically, but school breakfast helps support health, too! Studies have found that children and adolescents who participate in school breakfast are less likely to be overweight and have more favorable weight outcomes such as a lower body max index (BMI, an indicator of excess body fat), while skipping breakfast has been associated with a higher risk of obesity in the short and long terms. School breakfast also reduces visits to the school nurse, especially in the morning.

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) recently released its annual School Breakfast Scorecard: School Year 2016–2017 , which further details the benefits of school breakfast, strategies for successfully increasing participation, and state and national participation rates in the program.

 Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • 12.2 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program on a typical day in the 2016–2017 school year.
  •  56.7 low-income children participated in school breakfast for every 100 that participated in school lunch.
  •  Breakfast after the bell programs and those that offer free breakfast to all students increase low-income students’ participation in school breakfast.
  •  Community eligibility, the most recent federal option for high poverty schools to offer breakfast (and lunch) to all students for free with less administrative work, helped drive school breakfast participation.

While school breakfast participation continues to grow and reach more students than ever before, there are still millions of low-income children missing out on school breakfast. The 2018 National School Breakfast Week offers an important opportunity to celebrate the amazing benefits of school breakfast and to spread the word about successful strategies to increase participation.

Visit FRAC’s school breakfast page for more information and countless resources on the National School Breakfast Program.