CARTERET, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture celebrated National School Breakfast Week Friday by visiting Nathan Hale School in Carteret.
The Carteret School District has been an active participant in the Breakfast After the Bell program since the fall of 2016. Since starting that program, the district has seen its breakfast participation numbers more than double for eligible students.
“Breakfast After the Bell has played a significant role in allowing students to start the day with a satisfying meal to help them be more successful,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The Carteret District and the Nathan Hale School have done a tremendous job of incorporating important nutritional needs into the school’s daily routine.”
NJDA Food and Nutrition Division Director Rose Tricario, NJDA School Nutrition Program Coordinator Arleen Ramos-Szatmary and local and school officials visited two classrooms at the Nathan Hale School, which has about 500 students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Meeting this essential need lays the foundation for students to perform at a high level for the remainder of the day,” Tricario said.
New Jersey has seen one of the largest increases in the nation in breakfast participation in recent years. New Jersey is ranked 20th in the nation in percentage of eligible students who receive breakfast through the School Breakfast Program, improving from 48th in 2011.
“Students in our school know that they do not have to worry about how they are getting their first meal of the day, and it sets the tone for a positive academic and extra-curricular experience,” Nathan Hale Principal Erika Barrett said. “It allows them to be more focused on learning and plays a factor in good social interaction as well.’
School Breakfast Week is an initiative of the School Nutrition Association. The week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness about the availability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program and increase participation by schools and students. School breakfast is a federally funded program administered locally by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition.
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA