On March 27, NJPSA, NJEA, NJSBA, and other New Jersey school officials participated on a NJ Education Leaders panel discussion at the first Garden State School Breakfast Summit in Trenton to learn about new approaches to serving school breakfast to increase nutrition and academic achievement.
Sharon Seyler, Legislative Advocate at the New Jersey School Boards Association, Jennifer Keyes-Maloney, Assistant Director, NJPSA, and Marie Blistan, Vice President of the New Jersey Education Association, were on hand from the stakeholder organizations.
Hosted by the Food For Thought campaign, the summit featured keynote speaker New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher and was supported by the New Jersey Departments of Education and Health. Fisher said studies have shown that students perform better when they are learning on a full stomach and the most effective way to ensure students are eating in the morning is to offer breakfast in the classrooms.
“It just makes common sense,” Fisher said.
Other panels included principals, superintendents, food service directors and others who have successfully implemented the program in their school.
School leaders from across the state shared school breakfast success stories and strategies for building on the momentum of increasing school breakfast participation.Superintendents, principals, teachers, custodial staff and food service directors shared their success stroies in implementing the program in their districts. Assistant Health Commissioner Gloria Rodriguez and Nancy Curry, director of student services for the NJ Department of Education, also presented at the day long even.t
The summit was put on by the Food For Thought campaign, a group of organizations dedicated to increasing access to healthy food in the state. The campaign is driven by a statewide steering committee that includes New Jersey anti-hunger, education and health organizations, state agencies and child advocates. The Food Research Action Center and the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council are the campaign's national partners. The campaign has set a goal to increase school breakfast participation by 50 percent by June 2014 – and is well on the way to meeting that goal.