Governor and First Lady Cooper Encourage Schools to Expand Breakfast for Students Research shows eating school breakfast improves attendance, academic performance

RALEIGH

As the traditional school year gets underway, Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper are encouraging North Carolina schools to expand school breakfast opportunities for students.

“As Governor and First Lady, we want students across North Carolina to begin their day with the fuel they need to learn and grow,” the Coopers wrote in a letter sent this week to all North Carolina public school superintendents.  “That is why we are writing to urge you to consider how your district delivers school breakfast and if there are ways to include more students.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Research shows that eating school breakfast can improve student attendance, discipline, and academic performance. Nearly 60% of students in North Carolina qualify for free or reduced price meals at school, but only 42% of eligible students get school breakfast.

In their letter, Governor and First Lady Cooper encourage schools to look at creative solutions to make breakfast more accessible for students, such as Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab-and-Go Breakfast.  Federal funds are available to help schools expand school breakfast.

In June, a North Carolina team of state and local government and nonprofit representatives participated in a National Governors Association Learning Lab on Strategies to Reduce Childhood Hunger. The meeting addressed what other states are doing to increase participation in free and reduced price breakfast programs. The North Carolina team including the Governor’s office is working to improve participation in school breakfast and other federally-funded programs that address childhood hunger.

The letter points school systems to resources that can help them reach more students with school breakfast, including the NC Department of Public Instruction, the NC School Breakfast Challenge organized by No Kid Hungry, and Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. The information will also be shared by email with school nutrition administrators in every district and with public charter schools.

“All North Carolina students deserve opportunities to grow, learn, and reach their full potential, and starting the school day with a healthy breakfast is important to making that happen,” Gov. and Mrs. Cooper wrote. “By using school breakfast options to help address food insecurity, together we can improve the well-being and academic achievement of children across our state.”

To underscore the importance of students starting the school day with a healthy breakfast, Governor and First Lady Cooper plan to eat breakfast with students at a school in Durham in September.