YORK, Pa., June 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today recognized York City School District's William Penn High School for its performance in the 2016 School Breakfast Challenge. The school won the high school category, increasing its participation in the program by 14.3 percent.
"Food insecurity is a real problem in the commonwealth and across the nation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education has made it a priority that must be addressed," said Secretary Rivera. "After all, it is incredibly difficult to focus and learn when you're thinking about your next meal. We often say that our schools are providing students with the tools they need to succeed, and access to a healthy meal each morning is one of the keys to physical and mental well-being."
The challenge was launched in March during National School Breakfast Week, and schools across the state are being recognized for their efforts to provide nutritious meals to students before classes begin each day.
According to the Coalition Against Hunger, only 45 percent of low-income Pennsylvania students have access to both breakfast in lunch each day, ranking the commonwealth 41st on the Food and Research Action Center's "School Breakfast Scorecard" in 2015.
"The School Breakfast Program is proven to decrease discipline and behavioral problems, visits to the school nurse, and tardiness in schools, while increasing student attentiveness and attendance. Studies also find that students who eat school breakfast show improved reading and math skills, as well as higher scores on standardized tests," noted the Coalition Against Hunger on its website.
Rivera added, "I commend all of the schools that participated in the Breakfast Challenge this year on their efforts to provide a health start each day to vulnerable students. It is my hope that next year, more schools and students will participate and take advantage of this important program."
Other winning schools included:
- Francis Willard Elementary School in Scranton School District
- Perry Elementary School in Erie City School District
- Jeanette City High School in Jeanette City School District
- Robert Morris Elementary School in Scranton School District
- Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem Area School District
- Iroquois Elementary School in Iroquois School District
- Northeast Scranton Intermediate School in Scranton School District
- Wayne School in Erie City School District
- George Bancroft Elementary School in Scranton School District
- Curwensville Junior/Senior High School in Curwensville Area School District
- Jefferson County-Dubois AVTS in Jefferson School District
- South Scranton Middle School in Scranton School District
- Harding K-8 in Erie City School District
- John G. Whittier Elementary School in Scranton School District
- Washington Junior/Senior High School in Washington School District
- South Buffalo Elementary School in Freeport Area School District
- Cristo-Rey Charter School in Philadelphia
- Maritime Academy Charter School in Philadelphia
- John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Scranton School District
- Isaac Tripp Elementary School in Scranton School District
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, 717-783-9802
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education