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OSSE, District of Columbia Leads the US in School Breakfast Participation

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
DC Healthy Schools Act increased breakfasts served in the District by 35 percent in 2011

Washington, DC The District of Columbia led the nation in providing school breakfast to children from low-income areas during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the School Breakfast Scorecard, an annual report study released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Citing the DC Healthy Schools Act of 2010, co-introduced by DC Councilmember Mary Cheh and then-DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray then later implemented under his Mayoral leadership, FRAC also praised the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for administering meal programs for District public and charter school students and increasing school breakfast participation by 35% in 2011.

“Learning begins the moment a child wakes up each morning,” said State Superintendent Hosanna Mahaley, noting that the marked increase in breakfast participation allowed the District’s national ranking to jump from 20th in 2010 to 1st in 2011 . “A healthy breakfast is essential to education, and OSSE is committed to providing District children the strong start they need every day to be ready for school and ready to be the most productive students possible.”

Washington, DC also ranked first nationally in childhood summer nutrition for participation, meals distributed and number of children served in 2011 during the extended summer break, reaching 80% of low-income children in the District that qualify for free and reduced price meals through the DC Free Summer Meals Program, compared to a national average of only 15%.

Additionally, the OSSE Division of Wellness and Nutrition Services funded an average of 34,140 Free Meals to District students through the OSSE school lunch program, along with the OSSE afterschool meal program which provided meals to over 13,000 students citywide.

“Every student in the District is entitled to a top notch education, and that includes access to nutritious food during the school day,” added Mahaley. “A child woke up today excited about going to school and learning because they know they will receive breakfast in the morning. This agency is proud to be part of the process and look forward to reaching even more District children in the future.”

The complete FRAC Report is available for download below or online at http://frac.org/pdf/school_breakfast_scorecard_2010-2011.pdf