School Breakfast Participation

About the Program

The School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) Division of Food Services offers alternatives to traditional breakfast service in the cafeteria before the school day begins. For example:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) gives students the chance to eat together in their classrooms after the start of the school day.
  • Grab-n-Go carts are located in hallways or other common areas so that students can get breakfast items from the cart on their way to class.

During the 2016-2017 school year, breakfast participation across the district averaged 42%. As part of a district-wide effort to increase breakfast participation to 70% of attending students, SDP implemented two breakfast-related initiatives in the 2017-2018 school year: targeting 30 schools to implement alternative breakfast models and implementing a breakfast challenge.

About the Research

The Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) analyzed breakfast participation data for Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 in order to answer the following research questions:

  1. Did breakfast participation rates differ in schools that implemented different breakfast delivery models?
  2. What happened to breakfast participation rates: a) in schools targeted by Food Services to adopt alternative breakfast delivery models in 2017-2018, b) in schools that participated in the 2017 Philadelphia School Breakfast Challenge, and c) in schools that implemented both?

Key Findings

  • Schools that offered Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) to all students had an average breakfast participation rate of 73%, the highest of all breakfast models.
  • Schools targeted for alternative models in 2017-2018 that also joined the 2017 Philadelphia School Breakfast Challenge had a larger increase in breakfast participation rates as compared to other schools.

For More Information

Research Brief:  Expanding School Breakfast Participation, 2017-2018 (January 2019)