Winners of Missouri’s first School Breakfast Challenge were announced today by education officials in partnership with the Midwest Dairy Council.
The School Breakfast Challenge aims to increase daily breakfast participation in school districts across the state. All Missouri public, charter and private school districts participating in the national school lunch program were automatically entered in the challenge and were categorized into one of four tiers based on district enrollment. Winners were determined as the top school districts in each of the four tiers with at least a 20 percent increase in daily school breakfast participation per child enrolled.
The 2012-2013 School Breakfast Challenge winners are:
Tier 1 (10,000+ students)
Gold award - Ferguson-Florissant R-II School District
Tier 2 (3,500 to 9,999 students)
Gold award - Waynesville R-VI School District
Tier 3 (1,000 to 3,499 students)
Gold award - West Plains R-VII School District
Silver award - Aurora R-VIII School District
Bronze award - Warsaw R-IX School District
Tier 4 (0 to 999 students)
Gold award - Iberia R-V School District
Silver award - Faith Christian Academy, Kansas City
Bronze award - Steelville R-III School District
"Congratulations to the winners of this year's School Breakfast Challenge," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. "Research strongly supports the impact a healthy breakfast has on student success. It is important kids eat breakfast each day, and we appreciate those districts that help ensure all kids have the option to eat breakfast at school."
Many districts experimented with different ideas to grow their school breakfast participation. Waynesville R-VI School District offered breakfast free of charge to K-6 students via breakfast carts so students could "grab-and-go" as they exited the bus and arrived at school.
"We offered milk and fruit every day, as well as a grain item. Easy items to serve students," said Deanna House, Director of Food Services at Waynesville.
"The School Breakfast Challenge has made a huge impact in our district," added House. "Prior to the challenge we took a poll and found a lot of kids didn't eat breakfast, period. Many of our students just skipped breakfast. This year, we found tardiness was down and the hallways cleared out faster. And teachers were able to interact on a more personal level with students while they ate their breakfast before the class bell."
Waynesville School District also reported the number of morning visits to the nurse's office at one of its elementary schools decreased by 2,500 over the previous year. House attributed this change to the students fueling up for the day with breakfast.
Statewide, the percentage of students participating in a school breakfast program increased by 5 percent from 22 percent in 2011-12 to 27 percent in 2012-13.
Challenge winners will be awarded a cash prize. Cash prize levels include: gold awards - $4,000; silver awards - $2,500; and bronze awards - $1,000.
Award winners were determined by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and cash prizes will be awarded by the Midwest Dairy Council. Cash prizes are recommended for use toward health and wellness activities to benefit the receiving school district.
Missouri’s School Breakfast Challenge will continue for the 2013-14 school year.
"Midwest Dairy Council is pleased to work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on the Missouri School Breakfast Challenge once again for the 2013-2014 school year," said Courtney Corbett of Midwest Dairy Council, the National Dairy Council affiliate in Missouri. "School breakfast is an easy way to enhance and improve school and student wellness. Research indicates that students who eat breakfast have higher school attendance rates, achieve higher test scores and have fewer behavioral problems. By continuing the School Breakfast Challenge, we hope to see more districts across the state with increased participation throughout the upcoming school year."
For more information about the School Breakfast Challenge, visit dese.mo.gov/divadm/food/breakfast-challenge.