D.C. Hunger Solutions Report Shows Positive Impact of Healthy School Act on School Breakfast Participation
Download Making Breakfast Work in D.C. (pdf).
Making Breakfast Work in D.C., a new analysis from D.C. Hunger Solutions, looks at school breakfast participation and the impact of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act (HSA) in 72 D.C. Public Schools. The HSA, passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in 2010, made breakfast free for all students and required schools to adopt alternative serving methods, such as breakfast in the classroom, to ensure children had easy access to this meal.
The analysis the first looking at school-by-school trends finds that HSA had a tremendous impact on increasing the number of low-income children eating breakfast at school.
To conduct this analysis, D.C. Hunger Solutions examined participation trends for four consecutive school years before and after passage of the HSA at 72 out of 113 D.C. Public Schools. These 72 schools were selected based on having a high poverty rate among students and their participation in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act Community Eligibility Provision. This gives a good basis for schools to see how they are performing and how they can improve.
Key findings of the analysis include:
- Breakfast participation has increased for all school cohorts elementary, middle, education campuses, and high schools since the implementation of the Healthy Schools Act in school year 2010-2011; however, breakfast participation declined for elementary, middle, and high schools from school year 2011-2012 to school year 2012-2013.
- 91 percent of schools saw an increase in average daily breakfast participation at their individual schools from school year 2009-2010 (the year prior to the implementation of the Healthy Schools Act) to school year 2012-2013, with 16 schools more than doubling average daily participation in school breakfast.
- But there is wide variation in average daily breakfast participation among the highest and lowest performers for school year 2012-2013 in each school cohort elementary, middle, education campus, and high school demonstrating the significant opportunity for growth among the lowest-performing schools.
While there is good news for D.C. schools, leaders should be concerned about participation decreases and wide variation in average daily participation among individual schools. Such trends suggest certain schools are moving away from best practices in implementing alternative breakfast serving models. This report is designed to help school administrators, principals, and teachers identify opportunities to ensure children and teens are connected to the nutrition they need to take full advantage of classroom lessons. D.C. is a leader in school breakfast, and can continue to demonstrate best practices in ensuring all children have a healthy start to their school day.
Questions? Contact Alyia Smith-Parker, D.C. Hunger Solutions.