|For Immediate Release|
|Thursday, September 21, 2000|
|Contact:||Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105|
Commissioner and Eight Massachusetts School Districts Highlight the Importance of Nutrition in Learning
Revere - Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll was honored today for his leadership that has resulted in one million more breakfasts for Massachusetts children.
Project Bread saluted Commissioner Driscoll in the Revere High School cafeteria today for his efforts in stressing the importance of a good breakfast, and his leadership that has led to more students participating in the program since state initiatives were introduced in 1986.
Commissioner Driscoll said, "Too often, with the strong focus on academics, we lose sight of the critical factors that support student learning. One of those factors is a good breakfast and lunch. Research shows that eating a good breakfast and lunch helps students learn."
At the ceremony today, complete with a healthy breakfast courtesy of Revere High School, eight school districts were touted for their efforts in increasing participation in the school breakfast program. The districts, in addition to Revere, were Boston, Chicopee, Lawrence, Orange, Quincy, Springfield, and Taunton.
Commissioner Driscoll noted that it has been a concerted effort on the behalf of the Department of Education's Nutrition staff, Project Bread, the State Legislature, Superintendents and local leaders that have led to the increased participation in the school breakfast program.
Last fall, Commissioner Driscoll launched a Superintendents' School Breakfast Campaign to highlight the program's importance and provide models for schools to use. Concurrent with this campaign, the Department is awarding almost $3.8 million in grants to support innovative School Breakfast programming.
One consistently effective strategy for increasing student participation in school breakfast is universal free breakfast, free breakfast for all students regardless of family income. The breakfast program has been available in the classroom also. Breakfast programs offered in this way have maximized participation and incorporated a nutrition break into the early morning. In addition to these participation increases, parents and students reported very high levels of satisfaction with these breakfast programs. Perhaps most importantly, 63% of school staff reported improvement in student attentiveness as a result of the new breakfast programs.
For more information on the School Breakfast program, or other Department Nutrition programs, visit the Nutrition website.