Did you know the National School Breakfast Program services over 14 million children every school day? National School Breakfast Week is a weeklong celebration of the National School Breakfast Program, a federal nutrition program that provides funding to states to provide breakfast in schools and residential childcare facilities. This year, National School Breakfast Week is March 4-8, 2019. The week highlights the importance of school breakfast for academic achievement and health. School breakfast has been shown to positively impact students’ academic achievement and health. Students who participate in school breakfast show improved attendance, behavior, and standardized achievement scores.
To celebrate National School Breakfast Week, Pittsburgh Public Schools, a Live Well Allegheny School District, led the Pittsburgh Breakfast Poster Competition with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office, Share Our Strength, and Live Well Allegheny. The poster competition was open to all grade levels and awarded a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for grades k-2, 3-5, and 6-12, as well as two top finalists overall. Posters were judged based on artistic ability, creativity, and messaging about the importance of school breakfast. Students learned about the benefits of eating breakfast at school and created posters during their art classes. The winning posters will be displayed in the schools, and the winners’ homerooms will receive a culinary demonstration by Adagio Health. The judging panel consisted of representatives from the Allegheny County Executive’s Office, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Share Our Strength, Adagio Health, and American Dairy Association North East.
The winners were announced during a press conference held at Colfax Elementary on March 8th. City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet awarded the top finalists for excellent artistic demonstrations of the positive impact that school breakfast has on the body and mind.
School breakfast is a priority for many school districts and organizations working with schools in Allegheny County. In 2016, Governor Wolf set a goal of having 60 percent of students enrolled in free and reduced-lunch participate in school breakfast by 2020 in Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA. A new report, Breakfast Basics 2019 Update, published by Allies for Children and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank indicates Allegheny County schools are on track to meet Governor Wolf’s goal. According to the report, the implementation of alternative models for serving school breakfast have been successful in bolstering school breakfast participation in five districts in the county. Additionally, 22 schools in Allegheny County have received funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to implement or expand alternative breakfast programs. Currently, 12 school districts in the county have 60 percent of students eating both breakfast and lunch at school. While some districts struggle with participation, alternative models offer additional ways for students to get the benefits of school breakfast.