March 7-11 is Wyoming (and National) School Breakfast Week and here at Wyoming Hunger Initiative, it's one of our favorite holidays! There are three reasons why universal school breakfast after the bell is so important:
By offering breakfast after the school day begins, the stigma of eating breakfast at school is eliminated.
By offering universal breakfast, more students eat breakfast.
When more students eat breakfast, less students face the school day on an empty stomach—which means greater focus on learning.
First Lady Jennie Gordon, Governor Mark Gordon, Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder, and numerous staff from the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming Hunger Initiative joined Arp Elementary principal Steven Loyd and two third grade classes to celebrate the importance of breakfast to kick off the week! Arp Elementary houses nearly 400 students this year; even if the school kitchen is designed for a much smaller student body, you'd never know it by the efficiency of the dedicated staff prepping brown bag breakfasts first thing.
On this day, pineapples or other fruit plus a muffin and carton of milk were bagged and sent on carts all over the school; no time was wasted Monday morning while this classroom's visitors joined in to eat breakfast and chat about what they've been learning about immigration to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.
After Governor Gordon told a few jokes (i.e. what's an owl's favorite kind of math? OWLgebra!) and showed off his Wizard of Oz tie, he got down to business and read the Proclamation to a very attentive class. Since the first-ever School Breakfast Week in Wyoming in 2020, there is even more evidence documented to show that improved moods, outlook, and reduced absenteeism are among the positive outcomes that universal school breakfast after the bell facilitates. Student engagement is key to success in school, and if you've ever been distracted by a grumbling stomach, you know how hard it can be to focus on a task at hand when you're hungry. Take a look at that sixth line of the Governor's Proclamation closely:
As parents, teachers, and school food personnel, we are endowed with the responsibility of providing the children of our communities and state with their basic resources needed to grow, learn, discover their own potential, and live happy fulfilling lives.
This is a responsibility all anti-hunger warriors take to heart, as so clearly evidenced by the caring faculty and staff of Arp Elementary who work tirelessly to provide those basic (but essential) resources throughout the school year. We are so proud to highlight their work and celebrate the efforts of schools all across Wyoming where this work takes place no matter the day, the weather, or the circumstance. Breakfast matters, and here are 28 reasons why.
Thank you, Arp Elementary, for allowing us to celebrate School Breakfast Week with you!