For the second consecutive year, the Houston Independent School District has been ranked one of the top 10 school districts in the nation for highest student participation in the federal School Breakfast Program.
HISD ranked seventh in the nation and second in the state for the number of low-income students who participate in both the School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s 2018-2019 School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts report released Thursday.
“Each day, Nutrition Services works diligently to ensure we are providing students with the food they need to fuel their learning,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said. “This survey is a great indicator of our success in that effort. It also reminds us that we must continue our work to ensure we make an even greater impact in the future.”
Seventy-six of the nation’s large school districts were surveyed to examine school breakfast participation trends at the local level during the 2018–2019 school year. Within those 76 districts, more than 2.1 million low income students participated in breakfast on an average school day.
For every 100 low-income students who participate in the School Lunch Program, at least 70 also should be participating in the School Breakfast Program, according to the benchmark goal.
HISD’s ranking came in above the benchmark with 83.5 out of every 100 low-income HISD students participating in the school lunch and breakfast programs. First place in Texas went to the San Antonio Independent School District.
The report is released annually. Last year, HISD ranked first in the state and sixth in the nation.
According to Food Research & Action Center, programs such as HISD’s Breakfast in the Classroom help to “drive the growth in school breakfast participation, which is linked to better test scores, improved student health and dietary intake, and fewer distractions in the classroom throughout the morning.”
Breakfast in the Classroom is a districtwide program that integrates breakfast service into the first few minutes of students’ first class. Additionally, breakfast is free throughout the district.
Nutrition Services operates according to the guidelines of U.S. Department of Agriculture and Texas Department of Agriculture policies that govern the National School Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Child and Adult Care feeding programs.