Students Start Their Day the Woodrow Wilson Way with Breakfast in the Classroom

Broome County Health Department holds Press Conference to Salute City of Binghamton Elementary School for Successful Breakfast in the Classroom Program 

BINGHAMTON, NY – Today during a press conference the Broome County Health Department will recognize Binghamton City School Officials for the successful implementation of their Patriot Breakfast Program which serves breakfast in the classroom to 428 students. This effort is led by the Broome Tioga BOCES food service program, the City of Binghamton School District and Broome County Health Department’s Strategic Alliance for Health Initiative. 

The Patriot Breakfast Program is an evidence-based strategy for serving universal breakfast in the classroom. The setting for this project was the Woodrow Wilson School in the Binghamton City School District. In this school district, 62% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. In some schools in the district, such as Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, close to 70% of students qualify for this program. In this high-need area many students do not have the opportunity to eat breakfast at home, and baseline data indicated that less than half of the eligible students were participating in the school breakfast program.
Research suggests that skipping breakfast has a negative impact on health as well as academic performance. Universal school breakfast programs provide all students with a healthy meal to start their day and breakfast in the classroom programs have demonstrated success in increasing participation rates in the School Breakfast Program for low-income students. Such food service delivery changes could provide a mechanism for addressing health disparities present in this at-risk population.
The Patriot Breakfast Program was piloted in four second grade classrooms beginning in October 2008 and was expanded to include all grade levels by the end of February 2009, reaching a total of 428 elementary school children. Since the start of the Patriot Breakfast Program, participation in the School Breakfast Program for the Woodrow Wilson School increased from 43% in October 2008 to 88% in October 2010. Further, teachers, parents, and students felt the Patriot Breakfast Program had positive behavioral, social, cognitive, and health benefits. Evaluation results also indicated that the program did not interfere with the school day and more than 90% of stakeholders want to see the program continue to be offered.
Because of the positive results, the Patriot Breakfast Program was selected by the CDC to be featured in an Implementation Guide that will be published on their website and distributed to communities across the nation so others may replicate this good work.  
The Broome County Strategic Alliance for Health program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program and works with community partners to implement sustainable, innovative, and evidence-based community health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategies that promote policy, systems, and environmental changes where we live, learn work and play. 
Please contact Mary McFadden at 607.778.3929, or Linda Snyder at 607.762.8100 ext. 303 for more information on the press event.