Partners for Breakfast In the Classroom
Dec 07, 2016

Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom


To increase breakfast consumption among schoolchildren and spark the academic and nutritional gains associated with the morning meal by helping schools start up successful breakfast in the classroom programs.


Breakfast at School GraphicFunded by the Walmart Foundation, the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (the Partners) developed this initiative in response to their shared passion for child nutrition and its potential for improving educational outcomes and child health. The Partners include the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), the National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESP), the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) and The NEA Foundation.

The Partners provide grants to high-need schools and districts to cover the upfront costs often associated with the start-up and implementation of alternative breakfast models, such as equipment purchases, outreach efforts to parents, program promotion, and other related expenses. Grant funds do not cover the cost of food, which are covered through the federal School Breakfast Program. In addition, the Partners provide technical assistance to participating school districts and bring together allies from the state and local anti-hunger, health, nutrition, and education communities to help support the effort.

As a result of our work, participating, low-income schools across the country have seen dramatic increases in school breakfast participation.


In the fall of 2015, over 50 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools, many of whom will go to school hungry.

What happens next is alarming. Their attention spans shorten, energy levels plummet, and productivity wanes. Learning suffers – children suffer.

We started a movement to change that. The solution? Breakfast in the classroom.

It’s a fact: eating breakfast at school helps children learn. Studies show that children who eat breakfast at the start of their school day have higher math and reading scores. They have sharper memory and show faster speed on cognitive tests. They have broader vocabularies. They do better on standardized tests. They focus better and behave better.

Eating breakfast at school has health benefits, too. Children are less likely to be absent, visit the school nurse, and be overweight. Children that eat school breakfast eat more fruit, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of nutritious foods.

Many school districts participate in the federally funded School Breakfast Program, but more needs to be done. Just over half of the children who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price breakfasts at school are eating it.

It’s not hard to see why students are missing out on this important meal. School breakfast programs typically require children to eat in the cafeteria before school, apart from their peers. As a result, some children feel singled out and self-conscious of being labeled as “low income.” Timing is another deterrent. Many school breakfast programs take place prior to the start of the school day. When the bus is late or the carpool is caught in traffic, the opportunity for breakfast is missed.


The breakfast in the classroom initiative takes the traditional school breakfast approach and improves it with one key ingredient: the classroom. Breakfast becomes available to everyone – no matter the income level – and it’s eaten after the opening bell. This makes it possible for all children to participate.

The approach is simple. Children eat together in the classroom, usually the homeroom, at the start of the school day, after the morning bell. They enjoy nutritionally well-balanced foods like breakfast wraps, yogurt, or fruit served directly in their classroom, grabbed from a cart in the hallway, or picked up in the cafeteria and taken to the classroom. Students then eat breakfast while the teacher takes attendance, collects homework or teaches a short lesson plan so that no instructional time is lost.

The result? Less hunger and improved academic performance, health, and behavior.


Districts and schools are selected based on the number of students that qualify for free or reduced-priced meals, their average daily participation in the School Breakfast Program, and the level of support at both district and school levels.

Grant Map
Eligible schools must meet the following criteria:

  • Either 70 percent or more students qualify for free or reduced-price (FRP) meals, or else the school operates community eligibility;
  • Average daily participation (ADP) in school breakfast is at 50 percent or less;
  • Able to serve breakfast in the classroom at no charge to all students after the morning bell;
  • Strong stakeholder support from school leadership and staff;
  • 3-year commitment to making reasonable efforts to continue the program; and
  • Willingness to promote the program through social media and school district communication channels.

Want to learn more? Visit for more information about the initiative, school breakfast resources, and to download the grant application. Questions? E-mail

Oklahoma Partners Include:

Oklahoma School Breakfast Programs in the News: