Breakfast After the Bell program sees increase statewide

Three months into the 2015-2016 school year, a new program implemented throughout the state aimed at getting more students to eat breakfast is seeing results.

The “Breakfast after the Bell” program, created by the implementation of Senate Bill 503, has already seen significant statewide success. The program has seen a 20 percent increase in participation among qualified schools, jumping from 20 percent participation to 40 percent participation.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture data shows that in September and October, the 110 schools that qualified for implementing the program have served an additional 781,707 breakfasts statewide, bringing an additional $1.5 million in federal reimbursements into the state of Nevada.

“The Governor and I are so proud of the success that’s been seen in Nevada schools thanks to this bill,” First Lady Kathleen Sandoval said. “This progress demonstrates how important it is to ensure all students in Nevada have access to a healthy breakfast, and can start each day ready to learn.”

There are nine schools in the Nye County School District that participate in the program. They are Amargosa Middle School, Amargosa Valley Elementary, Beatty Elementary, Beatty High School, Beatty Middle School, Gabbs Middle/High School, Johnson Elementary School and Manse Elementary School.

Research shows that students who consume breakfast score higher on academic tests, have fewer behavioral issues and make fewer visits to the school nurse.

The Breakfast after the Bell bill was signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval in June and required all Nevada schools with 70 percent or greater eligibility to implement an option for students to receive breakfast after the start of the school day.

The bill also set aside $2 million in grant money to assist in operations over the next two years.

To date, 50 schools across the 8 eligible school districts have received a grant, totaling $337,000. The funds have been used for equipment like refrigerators, ovens or computers for additional points of service; supplies like utensils or carts; staff time to deliver food or attend trainings provided by the NDA; education and outreach materials to encourage participation.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at Follow @mickakers on Twitter.