It’s not much, but supporters say even a little bit can make a big difference in academic success for students.
The state is doling out $900,000 to 200 schools to expand breakfast opportunities for students, and three local winners nabbed nearly $10,000.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced the grant recipients Wednesday, the inaugural round of his “School Breakfast Initiative.” The money is to be used to “increase and sustain breakfast participation by 20 percent by implementing or expanding alternative breakfast options,” according to a press release.
Such options include the idea of “grab-and-go” breakfasts, breakfast in the classroom, and “second chance breakfasts” available during a study hall or similar period, the release states.
The local recipients and amounts they are getting: Dallas High School, $2,825, Pittston Area High School, $3,310, and Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center, $3,689.
“A healthy breakfast helps students begin the school day ready to learn and succeed,” Wolf said in the release. “These school breakfast grants are an investment in the lives of thousands of children. When kids start the day with the nutrition they need, they grow up smarter, healthier, and stronger – and that means a smarter, healthier, stronger Pennsylvania.”
Supporters of such programs argue the evidence is overwhelming: Students grappling with hunger issues at home, or failing to get adequate nutrition are far more likely to fail at school. While government programs have long focused on subsidizing school lunches for low-income students, efforts to expand school breakfast programs are a relatively new idea, and one of the problems has been getting breakfasts to students who do not arrive early enough for a separate serving. The “alternative breakfast option” idea has appeal because it works to get some food to the student on their specific schedules.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish