Lt. Governor, Seaford School District Announce New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program
DOVER, DE – Yesterday, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn was joined by Seaford School District officials to announce that the Seaford School District is the first Delaware school district to join his campaign to allow students to eat breakfast in the classroom in all of its elementary schools.
National research has demonstrated that eating breakfast has a significant impact on students’ academic performance and overall well-being, and that allowing students to eat breakfast in the classroom dramatically increases the number of students who eat a nutritious breakfast. Delaware ranks 22nd in the country with respect to the percentage of income-eligible students who eat breakfast at school. Prior to Seaford accepting the Lieutenant Governor’s challenge, the Colonial School District was the only other school district in Delaware that offered breakfast to all of its elementary school students.
“Offering breakfast in the classroom is something that we know will help our kids, and something that we can do today,” Lieutenant Governor Denn said. “I applaud Seaford for its effort, and I hope other districts will follow suit. When I leave Seaford today, I’ll be driving to yet another elementary school in a nearby district to talk to its principal about following Seaford’s example.”
Lieutenant Governor Denn was joined at today’s press conference at West Seaford Elementary School by Seaford’s Interim Superintendent Kevin Carson, Nutrition Services Supervisor Patricia Cunningham, and the principals of all four Seaford elementary schools.
“At West Seaford Elementary, now that every student can eat breakfast for free, an average of 87 more students a day are eating breakfast,” said West Seaford Principal Julie Giangiulio, whose student breakfast participation has jumped from 55% to 80% in the three months since in-classroom breakfast began. “That is 87 students that were likely going hungry before. When students are hungry they can struggle concentrating, get frequent headaches, and they can even struggle with behavior problems. Bringing free breakfast to West Seaford means our students have one less obstacle in their path toward a bright and healthy future.”
Since beginning the classroom breakfast program in January, Blades Elementary has increased its breakfast participation by 12%. Central Elementary’s first day of offering breakfast in the classroom is today, March 19th and Frederick Douglass will follow on March 31st.
On average, Central serves 180 students a day for breakfast. Today, the first day of their classroom breakfast program, they served 301 students, which is a jump from 38% to 64% of their students.
“There has always been tremendous disparity between the Seaford School District lunch participation and the breakfast participation,” said Nutrition Services Supervisor Patricia Cunningham. “Obstacles, like busing and class scheduling, which were beyond the Nutrition Services Department control, prompted the department to look at alternate methods to reach the students for breakfast service. It was also our mission to reach our students, given the fact that 74% of our students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals.”