Hungry to Learn

Give kids an equitable start to the day with access to school breakfast.

June 2019, Volume 42, Issue 10

Every school stakeholder hopes that students arrive each day with a hunger to learn. However, far too many students miss out on a morning meal, resulting in hunger for food, not knowledge.

When schools make breakfast part of the school day, just like lunch, students succeed. Absenteeism and behavior disruptions decline and students’ academic outcomes increase. Most importantly, teachers and principals report a new sense of community that is created as students eat a calm morning meal together. At this year’s NAESP Pre-K–8 Principals Conference in Spokane, Washington, learn how other principals have lead the charge to increase access to school breakfast by making it part of the school day. Panelists Deborah Frazier and Kurt Nyquist, elementary and middle school principals, will share their stories of success and best practices learned along the way.

Frazier is principal at Chancellor Middle School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, having previously served as principal of Harrison Road Elementary for 15 years. She has served as president and past president of the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals and currently serves as NAESP’s Zone 3 director. After learning about Breakfast After the Bell at NAESP’s annual conference last summer, she was eager to expand breakfast access in her school. She immediately went back to her district to implement grab n’ go kiosks throughout her school. She found that having kiosks reduced the stigma for older students who disliked going to the cafeteria.

Nyquist is in his 15th year as principal at Penns Valley Area Elementary and Intermediate School in Spring Mill, Pennsylvania. He previously served as president of Pennsylvania’s Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. In 2017, Nyquist championed Breakfast After the Bell pilots in several grades, after learning about the program from his fourth grade teacher Angela Homan. They immediately saw an 80-percent increase in breakfast participation and have since expanded schoolwide and to several schools in the district. He found that Breakfast After the Bell provides easy access for all students to eat breakfast without stigma, bringing equity to classrooms and strengthening the school community.

To learn more about how to ensure that all your students have an equitable start to the school day with school breakfast, visit our breakout session panel on Wednesday, July 10 from 1-2 p.m. in Room 303B in the Spokane Convention Center or stop by booth No. 413 in Exhibit Hall A.

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