Millions of youth do not eat breakfast or exercise enough on any given day.1 When school leaders at Liberal High School realized that their students were still hungry after lunch, they knew they needed a creative solution to keep kids properly nourished through the day.
Because they couldn’t change the timing of lunch or the volume of food served, the school turned its attention to a meal it could impact – breakfast. Breakfast directly contributes to the health and development of children’s bodies and healthy habits, and skipping breakfast can have immediate negative effects on cognitive abilities, especially for kids at nutritional risk. And most important to the school, kids who eat breakfast every morning score an average 17.5 percent higher on standardized math tests than those who don’t start the day off with a healthy meal.2
The school’s Director of Nutrition, Connie Vogts, and Principal Rafe Begley launched a “Second Chance” breakfast to offer students who missed breakfast an opportunity to grab healthy food options on-the-go between first and second hour. With only a five minute break between classes, the offering needed to be fast, convenient and portable, and able to be eaten in class with minimal clean up.
Since the launch of Second Chance breakfast in February 2014 student participation for breakfast at Liberal High School has more than doubled – and continues to grow! – leaving students more content and better able to focus. Liberal High School leaders and teachers are equally pleased with the program and continue to support its expansion with new serving locations throughout the school.
Health factors have direct and indirect effects on educational outcomes, including standardized test scores. Schools that address health disparities by encouraging exercise or providing breakfast help reduce learning achievement gaps.