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Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is getting high marks on the Maryland School Breakfast Report Card. Maryland Hunger Solutions, a nonprofit that promotes nutrition outreach, recently released its annual breakfast report card. For school year 2019, CCPS earned an A-, bringing its grade up from a B+ in 2018.
The state average on the report card is a C, according to Maryland Hunger Solutions.
“The Food and Nutrition Services department knows how important breakfast is to so many of our students, and we work very closely with all of our schools to offer breakfast at convenient times, where students are located and with a menu that appeals to all,” Crystal Richardson, supervisor of food and nutrition services, said.
Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) staff at schools encourage students to eat breakfast. CCPS was able to raise its grade in 2019 by taking advantage of all the programs available, like
Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA). MMFA offers free breakfast to all students in eligible schools and at alternate times in high schools.
Studies point out that school meals are critical to the development and academic success of students. During the 2018-19 school year, 75.4 percent of CCPS students from low-income families participated in the free school lunch program. This is the seventh highest participation in the state and above the state average of 61.8 percent.
CCPS schools have four ways for students to get breakfast. Traditionally, the meal is served and consumed in the cafeteria before school begins. This method takes place in 19 schools. Grab and Go meals are in 22 schools and call for kids to “grab” a breakfast and head to another area of the school to eat it. Thirty-one schools have an In the Classroom option where breakfast is delivered to the classroom and eaten there before the start of the school day. Second Chance breakfast is in four high schools with students able to eat after homeroom or first period. Second Chance and Breakfast After the Bell are in most CCPS high schools.
On an average school day during the 2018–2019 school year, 249,408 children in the state participated in the School Breakfast Program. Children from low-income families accounted for 179,593 kids.
Low participation in the School Breakfast Program costs the school system at several levels. Students miss out on educational and health benefits associated with eating breakfast and states can miss out on substantial federal funding which provide services beyond the cafeteria.