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PA Education Secretary Emphasizes Importance of Breakfast for Student Performance
Date:3/24/2009

Department Announces Steps to Increase Participation in the School Breakfast Program

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak today ate breakfast with 3rd graders from Harrisburg City School District to highlight school breakfast programs and announce steps the department is taking to increase participation in these vital programs.

"Children who start the day with a healthy breakfast are more likely to be alert and ready to learn," Zahorchak said. "Especially during difficult economic times, we encourage all schools to participate in the school breakfast program and give their students a healthy start to the school day."

In Pennsylvania, about one in three school-aged children - more than 668,000 of 1.8 million - are eligible to receive free or reduced-cost breakfasts, but only about 29 percent of those eligible participate in the program. The department is increasing its promotion of school breakfast programs in order to help boost participation levels.

The department has revised a policy directive for schools to allow school breakfasts to be included as part of instructional time during regularly scheduled homeroom periods and classroom instruction. Additionally, the "Breakfast Brigade," which includes 8 members from school districts around the state, will work with schools to implement or expand participation in the School Breakfast Program by identifying barriers, analyzing costs, and developing implementation plans.

The department continues to work closely with Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association to raise awareness of breakfast programs.

David Lloyd, Food Service Director at Harrisburg City School District and a Breakfast Brigader, works with other schools interested in implementing Breakfast in the Classroom because
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education
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