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Dorn, School Officials Launch Statewide Breakfast Challenge
Studies show healthy breakfast leads to greater success in school

AUBURN — August 22, 2011 — As the school year approaches, State Superintendent Randy Dorn is asking school officials across the state to think about how kids start their day: with their minds on their studies, or on their empty stomachs?

During a meeting at Washington Elementary School in Auburn today, Dorn demonstrated that students do much better when focusing on studies than on breakfast.

The demonstration also provided the launch of the statewide Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge. A partnership of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is joining forces with the Children’s Alliance, the Washington State Dairy Council and the nationwide anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength, the Challenge will help students and parents understand the importance of breakfast.

“A nutritious breakfast calms rumbling stomachs and focuses young minds,” Dorn says. “Fuel Up First will help make sure kids are ready to learn when the bell rings.”

Studies show that students who eat breakfast score higher on standardized tests and get better grades. They are more likely to be a healthy weight and have healthier levels of nutrients like calcium in their diets.

The Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge aims to increase participation in school breakfast programs by 50 percent over the next two years.

Schools across the state are automatically enrolled in the challenge. They will be offered technical and financial assistance — along with special prizes — for adopting new practices that make sure their students get the food they need to start their day.

School meals — both lunch and breakfast — are a cornerstone of our nation’s anti-hunger infrastructure. In Washington state, one in five families with children struggle with hunger; for them, breakfast may not be part of the weekday morning routine.

“Educators know that hunger disrupts learning and stifles academic performance,” said Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance, a statewide policy advocacy organization. “Luckily, we know what works when it comes to ensuring that all children have the nutritious meals they need. School breakfast programs get kids the healthy food they need, when they need it most.”

If each school across Washington state met the 50 percent participation goal, the Children’s Alliance estimates that the state could earn an extra $18 million in funding from federal child nutrition programs.

“In a time when schools are asked to do more with less, it’s up to educational leaders to look at every asset they have,” says Dorn. “Funding for school breakfast can help many of our schools and students achieve greatness.”

The two-year Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge will be staffed by OSPI, the Children’s Alliance, Share Our Strength and the Washington State Dairy Council. For more information about the challenge or to learn about tools schools can use to make sure students start their days ready to learn, call Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley, Food Policy Associate, at (206) 324-0340 ext. 17.


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

Assessment Communications Manager
Chris Barron
(360) 725-6032


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