Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Breakfast in the Classroom

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
June 12, 2015


At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's regular meeting on February 23, 2015, we had a presentation on the school breakfast program, highlighting breakfast in the classroom. This memo provides an update.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has encouraged all schools to consider adopting the breakfast in the classroom model as an effective way to ensure that all students start the day with a nutritious meal. The Policy Guidance on Breakfast in the Classroom and Student Learning Time Requirements that we issued in February 2015 has been well received. Breakfast in the classroom was started as a pilot in several schools this spring, and a number of districts are looking to expand it for the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Springfield and Chicopee are exploring breakfast in the classroom in the high school setting. The transition of the meal service is coordinated with classroom educators and facilities management as well as school nutrition services.

At the April meeting of the Urban Superintendents Network, Board member Margaret McKenna led a group discussion with the superintendents on the breakfast in the classroom model. Superintendents from Malden, Brockton, Taunton, and Leominster shared experiences about the successful meal service program transition in those communities. Questions from other superintendents related to facilities management, logistics, and coordination, and were answered by Katie Millett, Executive Director for DESE Nutrition Services. DESE's Nutrition Outreach Program has followed up by providing technical assistance to those communities. The Eos Foundation, which has launched a Nourishing Kids Initiative here in Massachusetts, has made districts aware of grant funding for communities offering breakfast in the classroom.

DESE has included breakfast in the classroom initiatives as part of our targeted assistance work with districts. In addition, the work plan for the nutrition outreach program was revised to focus targeted support for the Level 4 and 5 schools. We have provided technical assistance and program resources including a guide for school nutrition directors to phase in breakfast in the classroom. To promote the breakfast in the classroom model and address low participation, a video is available for family and community meetings and other outreach efforts.

We expect the data to show an increase in the number and percentage of students who are receiving breakfast in the classroom in the current school year and in the 2015-16 school year. Daily participation in the breakfast program for 2013-14 was 158,634 and in 2014-15, 171,324 participated daily in the program. I will keep the Board informed about this initiative. Katie Millett will be at the Board meeting on June 23 to answer your questions.

Last Updated: June 19, 2015
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact DESE