(Phoenix, Ariz., March 3, 2017) – Students across the state are encouraged by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to try school breakfast during National School Breakfast Week, taking place from March 6-10. Studies have shown that students who consistently eat school breakfast have higher test scores, better classroom behavior and miss fewer days of school, but busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for families to make time for a healthy breakfast.
In fact, participation in school breakfast is less than half of the participation in the National School Lunch Program.
“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can,” said Nerissa Emers, ADE Deputy Associate Superintendent for Health and Nutrition. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices available at Arizona schools.”
Arizona has a great deal to celebrate next week, having attracted more than 20 state and local celebrities to the festivities. Personalities such as Miss Arizona Katelyn Niemiec, representatives from the Miss Arizona Organization and the University of Arizona Pomline will help serve breakfast in school cafeterias in Phoenix, Tucson, Sierra Vista and Yuma, encouraging students to start every day with breakfast at school. The attached list provides details of the sites, dates and celebrities who will be participating in this celebration.
In addition, students at CJ Jorgensen Elementary in the Roosevelt Elementary District will be celebrating with the Phoenix Suns after winning the “Jump Start Your Breakfast Contest” by increasing their school breakfast participation by 15 percent. The principal and teachers collaborated with the school nutrition staff to post fliers, talk about breakfast and encourage students to try breakfast at school. The celebration will take place on Wednesday, March 8 from 2-3 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.
Finally, Saddle Mountain School District and Liberty Elementary School District were both recognized as USDA Western Regional Office’s 2017 Champions of School Breakfast. Saddle Mountain was rewarded for their efforts in starting breakfast in the classroom, while Liberty was honored for initiating a new school breakfast program altogether. Both schools will receive banners to hang in their cafeterias and are invited to present webinars to other schools about best practices in school breakfast programs.
More than 1,600 schools in Arizona offer students the opportunity to start the day with a healthy meal. Increased awareness about the School Breakfast Program in the state has led to a steady rise in participation of about 3 percent each year. Families are encouraged to contact their school cafeteria managers or district food service directors to learn more about the programs at their schools.
National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and a healthy lifestyle. For more information about School Breakfast Week in Arizona, contact Nerissa Emers at (602) 542-8700 or Nerissa.Emers@azed.gov.
Infographic courtesy of USDA.