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School District Offers Robust Program To Encourage Student Participation

(HARRISON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and USDA officials celebrated National School Breakfast Week on Wednesday by visiting Washington Middle School in Harrison School District in Hudson County.

The Harrison School District is an active participant in the National School Breakfast Program, serving Breakfast After the Bell to over 1,000 students each day.  The District has 88 percent of enrolled students eligible for federally free and reduced-price school meals, and the New Jersey Working Class Families Act has allowed the school to provide 53 additional students with free meals at school.

“Offering breakfast in school is an important factor in fostering students’ overall success,” NJDA Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III said. “The Harrison School District and Washington Middle School provide access to healthy, nutritious meals in classrooms after the school day has begun.”

Along with Assistant Secretary Atchison, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Dr. Patty Bennett joined school officials for the visit to the middle school.

Washington Middle School serves Breakfast After the Bell to an average of more than 220 students per day, which is nearly 50 percent of its student population. New Jersey schools feed nearly 400,000 students a school breakfast each day.

“The breakfast program gives students an opportunity to get that all-important first meal, allowing them to focus and perform better academically and in extra-curricular activities,” Harrison School District Superintendent Dr. Maureen Kroog said. “Knowing they have breakfast available is part of a routine that sets a positive tone for the rest of their day.”

According to, children who eat breakfast the morning before a standardized test have significantly higher scores in math, spelling and reading than those who don’t. Eating breakfast improves students’ performance on vocabulary tests, math problems and challenging mental tasks and helps them better handle frustration.

“We are excited to join the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Harrison Public Schools in celebrating National School Breakfast Week and highlighting the importance of school breakfast,” Dr. Bennett said. “School meals are already healthy, and we owe it to our children to continue making improvements. Strengthening school meals is one of the best investments we can make to give our children a brighter future, so the USDA has made many investments and will continue to help schools get there.”

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, with New Jersey providing a State Supplement, administered locally by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition.



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