Governor’s Office Partners with No Kid Hungry School Breakfast Leadership Institute To Fund 10 Districts to Expand Access to School Breakfast

Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper are committed to ending childhood hunger in North Carolina. Together with No Kid Hungry, their offices are working to expand access to school breakfast in ten districts around the state. These districts will receive grant funding through No Kid Hungry and The Dairy Alliance to implement innovative breakfast programs in one or more schools in each eligible district. School Nutrition Managers will monitor implementation and progress of the new breakfast service model within each school. Superintendents, School Nutrition Administrators, Principals, and other school leaders will also provide support.

The following ten public school districts in North Carolina are receiving funding through this opportunity: Anson County Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Edgecombe County Schools, Gaston County Schools, Johnston County Schools, Kannapolis City Schools, Public Schools of Robeson County, Wayne County Public Schools, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. These ten school districts were eligible based on specific criteria set by the North Carolina School Breakfast Leadership Team, based on NC Department of Public Instruction meal claim data for the 2017-18 school year, demonstrating the opportunity for growth in school breakfast participation.

Studies show that universal breakfast served in a traditional cafeteria style manner does not reach as many students as innovative Breakfast After the Bell service models. Governor and Mrs. Cooper would like to see these efforts expanded to ensure more students have easy access to breakfast to start their day ready to learn. Innovative Breakfast After the Bell models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom or Grab and Go, are cost-effective, efficient, and remove stigma to ensure more students start their day with a healthy meal. The Coopers want lawmakers, educators, parents, and students to understand the social, emotional, and academic benefits of starting the day with a healthy meal.

Breakfast After the Bell Models include:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom:
    Students eat breakfast in their classroom after the official start of the school day. Note that this counts as instructional time. On average, schools reach 88 percent breakfast participation with this model.
  • Grab and Go to the Classroom:
    Students pick up conveniently packaged breakfast items from mobile service carts in high traffic areas, such as hallways or entryways, and eat their meals in the classroom or designated common areas.
  • Second Chance Breakfast:
    Second Chance Breakfast is particularly effective for middle and high school students. Students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often between first and second period. Schools can use an innovative breakfast service model or open their cafeterias during this break.

Almost 60 percent of students in North Carolina qualify for free and reduced meals at school, but only 42 percent of those students eat school breakfast. There are many obstacles that prevent students from accessing school breakfast. Chief among those barriers that keep students from taking advantage of school breakfast include scheduling of meals, location of cafeteria, transportation challenges, and the stigma and shaming that is often associated with eating school meals. School breakfast is a federally reimbursed nutrition program, yet surprisingly, many North Carolina schools are not tapping into the full possibilities of this funding. The School Breakfast Leadership Institute will help school districts take advantage of federal funds, grant opportunities, and other resources to ensure all students begin their day fueled to learn.

The North Carolina School Breakfast Leadership Team consists of representatives from: the Office of the Governor of North Carolina; the NC Department of Public Instruction’s School Nutrition Services; No Kid Hungry NC; and Bladen County Schools.