Mountain View School District and El Monte Union High School District Students Encouraged to Start their Day with a Healthy Breakfast
by Michele Earle
September 18, 2013 • 904 views
The Mountain View School District (MVSD) and El Monte Union High School District (EMUHSD) were jointly awarded the Superintendent Leadership to Expand School Breakfast Program grant from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Walmart Foundation. The substantial grant is enabling both school districts to expand and enhance their school breakfast programs for students.
Through the grant, the “Be a Rising Star – Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast” initiative is being launched this school year in schools throughout MVSD and EMUHSD. Recognizing the important connection between good nutrition and academic achievement, both school districts are implementing district-wide health and wellness policies emphasizing healthy food choices, physical activity and their impact on student performance in the classroom. A commitment to students’ health, well-being and ability to learn permeates throughout both school districts with the ultimate goal of ensuring the students of El Monte are healthy and ready to learn.
Enhancing the current cafeteria sit-down breakfast programs offered at all 12 MVSD schools and all five EMUHSD comprehensive high schools, the Be a Rising Star program will provide an additional type of breakfast opportunity free of charge for all students. In MVSD, “Grab n’ Go” breakfast carts will be in place before school where students can simply grab a complete bagged breakfast as they arrive at school. The high school district will have breakfast vending machines on five campuses offering students a complete breakfast at their fingertips.
“We want every student to eat a good breakfast before school, whether at home or on their school campus,” said Lillian Maldonado French, MVSD superintendent. “Numerous studies show that students who eat a nutritious breakfast are more prepared to learn and succeed in school. We are hopeful the additional breakfast opportunities the Be a Rising Star – Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast initiative this generous grant from AASA and Walmart is enabling our schools to provide, will encourage more students to start their day off with a healthy breakfast and enhance our goal of building healthy schools and a healthy community.”
For over a decade, MVSD and EMUHSD have worked closely together to coordinate efforts to meet identified needs, work toward common goals, and address issues that impact students’ school success. Both districts continue to experiment with alternatives to the cafeteria breakfast to increase school breakfast participation. As participants in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program, MVSD provides meals free of charge to all students, and EMUHSD is eager to offer free breakfast for the first time to all students through the Be a Rising Star – Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast vending machines set to be implemented early in the 2013-14 school year.
“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our breakfast program by offering alternative serving locations,” said Suzy Sayre, Director of Food Services for EMUHSD. “This would not be possible without the support of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Walmart Foundation.”
Nick Salerno, EMUHSD superintendent, greatly appreciates the generous funding from AASA and Walmart, which enables the two school districts to collaborate to significantly improve the academic achievement and social well-being of students in their schools.
“A nutritious morning meal brings health benefits as well as provides positive gains in concentration, energy, and other skills important for academic success. The ‘Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast’ program will form the centerpiece of the El Monte Union High School District’s 2013-2014 Health and Wellness initiative, designed to create healthier students and a healthier community,” said Salerno.
According to MVSD’s Director of Food Services, Susan Delgado, MVSD has been fortunate to be able to provide free breakfast and lunch for students for many years. The new Grab n’ Go carts will be implemented at Kranz Intermediate School and Madrid Middle School at the start of the school year, and expand to the other 10 schools throughout the year.
“More and more evidence points to the link between a healthy breakfast and academic performance. Our goal is to increase breakfast participation, support student academic achievement and have a positive impact on the overall health of our students,” said Delgado. We are grateful to AASA and the Walmart Foundation for this grant opportunity and for supporting our schools in our effort to bring focus onto our breakfast program. Food Service is a partner in the education process and we’ve been able to enhance our program with several nutrition education opportunities and now with the support of this grant it is our time to focus our kids and parents on breakfast.”
EMUHSD Board Member, Salvador Ramirez, recognizes the value of empowering students with knowledge and resources to be healthy.
“As a prior enlisted U.S. Marine and a member of the Board of the El Monte Union High School District, I believe it is critically important to teach young people about how to further their own health. This includes understanding the importance of eating breakfast and encouraging students to do so as part of a goal for lifelong fitness,” said Ramirez. “The Board, through its Health and Wellness initiative, actively supports a comprehensive series of projects in this area. We look forward to providing the education and motivation for our students to create a healthier community.”
“I am very excited for this new expanded breakfast program in our schools,” said Patsy Sutley, MVSD Board President. “Student health and wellness are an important part of school readiness and success and we look forward to working with our counterparts in the El Monte Union High School District to provide more breakfast opportunities for our students.”
The addition of MVSD’s Grab n’ Go carts and EMUHSD’s vending machines to the school breakfast program gives both districts the opportunity to serve additional healthy foods to more students in the morning, providing them a nutritious start to their day. For more information on the Be a Rising Star–Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast program in the Mountain View School District, please call Food Services at 626-652-4086 and in the El Monte Union High School District, contact the Food Services Department at 626-258-5771.