SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

August 27, 2013

Salem students to eat breakfast at desks

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — Children at four city elementary schools will eat breakfast right at their desks this year as part of a pilot program aimed at improving student learning.

Students will be served in their classrooms at Carlton, Bates, Bentley and Horace Mann schools. Breakfast will be served during the first 10 minutes of class as teachers take attendance and prepare morning activities.

The Salem public schools offer a free breakfast program, but participation is low, according to school officials. Teachers reported that “student hunger by midmorning was hindering learning,” according to a city press release.

Bates School conducted a “Breakfast in the Classroom” pilot program last spring and had 98 percent participation. Teachers said it was not disruptive and helped students concentrate better.

This new breakfast program is being funded by a $50,000 grant from the Eos Foundation’s Nourishing Kids Initiative.

“Many children living in poverty often have their healthiest meal of the day at school,” Andrea Silbert, president of the Eos Foundation, said in a prepared statement.

“We strongly believe that serving breakfast to all students at school will enhance the health and academic outcomes for children throughout the Commonwealth. It’s critical to support programs like this that help fill an urgent but often overlooked need.”

More than half the children in the Salem public schools come from low-income families and qualify for free and reduced meals.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.