Celebrate National School Breakfast Week 2015 and teach your school community how eating school breakfast helps students score high and improve their focus. As a school nutrition professional, you surely are aware of how important school breakfast is to the students who participate—you see it when they come to pick up their meal every day. But is your principal aware? Your school board? Making the connection between school breakfast and academic performance (along with improved behavior, school attendance and more) is integral to conveying the value of school breakfast and gaining the support of stakeholders who can approve or deny plans to expand or launch morning service and assist you in your efforts to boost participation. It’s an important message to share with these stakeholders and students all year long, especially at the beginning of the school year and in anticipation of standardized testing periods. But a particularly good time to do so—and build on a collective push all across the country—is National School Breakfast Week (NSBW). The value of this annual observance is why SNA prepares a variety of useful resources to help you make the most of the opportunity. Consider this preview article the first “study guide” that will help you and your student customers “Make the Grade With School Breakfast” during NSBW 2015. Mark your calendars for March 2-6, 2015 and get ready to take some notes about how you will apply this official theme to your activities. The “Make the Grade” theme was developed with the specific intent of helping you communicate the vital importance of school breakfast to parents, administrators, the media and more. The “learning connection” between school breakfast and academic performance is too compelling a message for you not to use to your benefit. It speaks to parents and school administrators—and it resonates with students, too. But we’re not leaving you alone with just a theme and a blank page. With NSBW 2015 resources made possible by SNA and Kellogg’s Food Away from Home, you will be ready to host an A+ “Make the Grade With School Breakfast” celebration! Put on Your Thinking Cap How will you promote NBSW in your district or in your cafeteria? Make it easier on yourself by checking out SNA’s online celebration tools. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/nsbw to get started. On the NSBW website, you’ll find: • A 10+-page Toolkit—Full of tips, checklists and oodles of creative ideas, this valuable resource is a downloadable one-stop shop for you to map out your promotional plans. • NSBW Menus and Recipes—Need ideas for what to serve for the morning meal during this special week? Download sample menus and recipes. • Online Promotional Tools—Tips and advice can help you make the most of social media strategies. • PR & Marketing Resources—Want to get the word out to a wide circle of potential supporters? Download the customizable press release, social media tips and more. • Activity Sheets for Kids—Fun, breakfastrelated brainteasers and games help engage students with NSBW messages. • Backpack Brochure for Parents—Send it home with kids as a strategy to help build parental awareness about school breakfast benefits. • Downloadable Artwork—Logos and colorful, kid-friendly images are easily downloaded from the website. Use them on your menus, your website, your social media pages, newsletters and more. All of these online tools are free—use them to make your life easier and get a head start on your NSBW promotion. Also, be sure to check out the NSBW-themed merchandise that will be available for purchase from the SNA Emporium, http:// emporium.schoolnutrition.org. In addition to decorative materials (posters, balloons, aprons, T-shirts, buttons), you will find great giveaway items, such as bookmarks, pencils and stadium cups, that will allow you to spread the message to students all year long, reminding them to “Make the Grade With School Breakfast.” “School” Yourself on Some Fast Facts What else do you need in order for your NSBW promotion to resonate and have some impact? Brush up on available research findings! There are several recent and credible studies, white papers and reports available that demonstrate the connection between a healthy breakfast and academic success. We’ll get you started by providing you with some key facts to help you make your case for increased support of your school breakfast operation. But a simple Internet search will yield even more facts and figures to make the case. Start with such SNA allies as the Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org), Share Our Strength (www.nokidhungry.org), Action for Healthy Kids (www.actionforhealthykids.org) and, of course, the Beyond Breakfast blog and Breakfast Resource Center (www.beyondbreakfast.org), from the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom initiative, including SNA’s School Nutrition Foundation. Students who eat breakfast have better attention and memory. Research indicates the quality of foods that children eat impacts cognition—with poor nutrition linked to absenteeism, hunger symptoms and psychosocial problems. Source: The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments, 2013 (Compiled by National Dairy Council, GENYOUth, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American School Health Association.) For more findings from this report, visit http://tinyurl.com/ NDCWellnessRpt and see “A Wellness Wake-up Call” in School Nutrition’s November 2013 issue. Students who eat school breakfast attend, on average, one and a half more days of school per year and score 17.5% higher on standardized math tests than students who do not eat school breakfast. Source: Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis, 2013 (Compiled by Share Our Strength and Deloitte.) For more findings from this research, visit http://tinyurl.com/sosdeloitte. Students who participate in school breakfast show improved attendance, behavior and standardized achievement test scores, as well as decreased tardiness. Providing students with a breakfast-in-the-classroom setting is associated with lower tardy rates and fewer disciplinary office referrals. Source: Breakfast for Learning, 2011 (Compiled by the Food Research and Action Center.) For more findings from this research, visit http://tinyurl.com/ breakfastforlearning. The School Breakfast Program significantly improves the cognitive abilities and learning capacities of children. Low-income children who eat school breakfast do better in a variety of indicators than low-income peers who go without breakfast. Significantly, the better outcomes associated with school breakfast include educational preparedness (attendance, energy, alertness, memory) and educational outcome measurements (math scores, grades, reading ability). Source: Impact of School Breakfast on Children’s Health & Learning, 2008 (Compiled by The Sodexo Foundation.) For more findings from this research, visit http://tinyurl.com/impactofschoolbreakfast. Use this published research to your advantage. When you’re communicating with parents, teachers and even students, leverage this data to convey how essential it is that the school community support your school breakfast efforts! You can use it to help you make your case if you’re asking for resources, help, participation, budget—or even just an open mind about perceived obstacles. How exactly do you go about leveraging such quantifiable support? You could include the previous list of facts in your NSBW press release that you will distribute to local media. Create a research poster, highlighting some of the key statistics and display it in the cafeteria. Develop a PowerPoint presentation for Board of Education or Parent-Teacher Organization meetings. Draft a simple letter to administrators and other staff, incorporating the research into a request for NSBW promotional support. Regardless of the specific audience you’re trying to reach (administrators, parents, students, media), everyone shares the same goal: student success. You won’t go wrong emphasizing the connection between learning and school breakfast. Study up on Social Media Students are your customers—but so are their parents, and social media technologies like Facebook, Twitter and Inst agram are no longer just for kids. They are platforms that are popular with parents and viable channels to reach those key decision-makers in your community— many of whom may not know about the availability, affordability and nutritional value of your breakfast (and lunch) programs. [Editors’ Note: For details about some of the most-popular social media sites, see “Are You ‘Social’ Savvy?”, in the June/July 2013 issue of School Nutrition.] In fact, nearly 80% of mothers are on Facebook, according to a 2013 study by Arbitron and Edison Research. Not only do the majority of moms use the ubiquitous networking site, almost half of them check in on it and their other social media accounts multiple times each day. Social media technologies have become too impactful as a marketing platform to be ignored. So, if you’re already making social media a part of your school nutrition program promotions, good for you! If not, don’t worry—there’s plenty of time to learn how to capitalize on such technologies long before NSBW 2015 begins next March. Here are a few tips: • Outline a Strategy. What’s your top messaging priority? Changing perceptions about the foods you serve? Then maybe you want to show off photos of your colorful fresh fruit on the serving lines. Ensuring awareness of logistical details? Start by informing parents and students about when and where breakfast is served. Creating excitement about your NSBW celebration? Promote specific activities that you have planned with just enough mystery to generate curious anticipation. Decide on the messages you’d like to emphasize and identify the most important facts before drafting your posts. • Pick a Platform. Facebook is probably your best bet to reach parents. Instagram and Twitter might be more effective in reaching the students. Of course, your options may be limited by the platforms currently being used (or blocked) by the school or district. • Ask for Help. Does your school nutrition program have its own Facebook page yet? If so— kudos to you! If not—you might need to piggyback on the school or district’s main page. Contact the communications office and ask if they will share your posts or announcements about NSBW. New to tweeting? The professional communications staff should be able to help you draft tweets, in case you are intimidated by those mysterious hashtags! • Make It Visual. Share images whenever you can. Posts that include photos tend to pop in a user’s News Feed. Even before your NSBW event, there are photos you can take and use to announce your plans, such as a high-resolution picture of a school breakfast tray featuring brightly colored fruit and other healthy meal components. Using a photo makes your post more personal—and more memorable! Just make sure that you are aware of your school’s policy regarding pictures that feature individual students; you may need to obtain signed release forms in advance. • Know What Your Audience Wants. And know what they don’t want. Steer away from images that showcase pre-packaged processed foods. Even if they are menu items that fully comply with federal nutrition standards, recognize that perception is “reality.” It’s impossible to argue with those who have an inherent bias against anything that is processed, and you don’t want your social media promotion to backfire. Keep the focus on an emphasis that school breakfast is healthy, tasty and a good value. Remind parents that today’s school breakfast includes more whole grains, more fruits and veggies and less fat and sodium. The Last Lesson National School Breakfast Week provides you with a fantastic opportunity. It gives you the chance to remind your principal, your teachers, your PTO members, your superintendent, your Board of Education and more that school breakfast can have a positive impact on academic performance every day, not just on standardized testing days! NSBW helps you spread the message to parents that breakfast at school is healthier than they may have imagined. NSBW gives you a chance to showcase your cafeteria to students as a place where fun happens! Yes, organizing a promotion for NSBW means an investment of your time and resources—but it’s important to keep in mind that an investment bears valuable returns. When you find ways to boost participation during NSBW, you are more likely to garner more repeat student customers who will keep coming back for breakfast long after NSBW has ended. Remember, NSBW is what you make it. So, set your goals, make a plan, try something new and “Make the Grade With School Breakfast”! This 2015 NSBW preview was written and compiled by Emily Mannel, SNA’s marketing specialist. Photography by Rich Vintage. 10 Ways to Recognize NSBW When You’re Short on Time or Budget—or Both! NO TIME TO PLAN AN ELABORATE CELEBRATION? NO FUNDING AVAILABLE? NO PROBLEM! 1 MAKE OVER YOUR MENUS If you don’t have time to develop a special, new menu for NSBW, consider just re-naming some of your breakfast menu staples to embrace the “Make the Grade” theme. For example, if you typically menu a sausage sandwich, rename it “Smarty-Pants Sausage Sandwich.” Do you often serve fresh fruit? Just change the name to “A+ Apple Slices” or something similar. 2 “A” IS FOR ART Take advantage of SNA’s free, downloadable NSBW logos and artwork. You can add the “Make the Grade With School Breakfast” images to your printable menus to make them more exciting, or add them to a Word document or Power-Point slide to create a quick, simple flyer. 3 DREAM UP DECORATIONS To make NSBW feel a little more special for your students and staff, consider some simple decorations for your cafeteria. Even basics like balloons can go a long way in helping to create a fun atmosphere—and they’re very inexpensive. What else can you do that is easy but festive? Hang streamers from the ceiling? Or add confetti to the tables? (Hint: Graduation-themed confetti from a party supply store may be perfect for the “Make the Grade” theme!) And even if you don’t have the budget to purchase any of SNA’s official NSBW posters from the Emporium, you can display kid-created art; work with art teachers, conduct an art contest or simply reach out to students on your Nutrition Advisory Council or other group. 4 HAVE A LITTLE FUN What’s a good way to offer kids an unusual surprise at breakfast? Bring in special “surprise” guest servers during NSBW. Consider asking some of the popular teachers or the principal if they wouldn’t mind working on the line for 20 minutes or so to serve breakfast to the kids. Seeing teachers and administrators out of their element will be fun for the kids. And, you can promote it beforehand and create some intrigue by creating posters or flyers about the “mystery guest” servers you’ll be hosting as part of NSBW! 5 SERVE UP A SURVEY The idea of conducting a poll or survey can be intimidating— but consider developing a simple, one-page “Report Card” poll. Ask students to rate their favorite breakfast menu items with an academic grading scale (A+ to F, to represent the “Make the Grade” theme). All it takes is access to a computer and a printer! In addition to making kids feel like their opinions are valued and considered, you’ll have some straightforward, simple information about your most popular menu items. 6 REMIND THE PARENTS When was the last time your school nutrition operation sent a communication to parents, informing them about the availability of school breakfast—beyond the take-home menu, of course? You can send home SNA’s NSBW Backpack Brochure (it’s already created!) or create your own flyer highlighting specific breakfast program details, including special menu items, pricing, hours of operation, celebratory activities, nutrition standards and more. 7 TALK TO THE TEACHERS Ask the teachers to help you promote school breakfast to parents. If they use e-mail or an online system like Blackboard to keep parents informed about projects, tests and classroom activities, they might be willing to post a reminder about the importance of school breakfast—especially on a test day! 8 OFFER AN INCENTIVE Consider purchasing generic raffle tickets (typically less than $5 at a party supply store) and giving one to every student who eats a school breakfast. The raffle prizes can be simple and inexpensive but still fun—bouncy balls, jewelry, plastic bracelets, art supplies, DVDs, etc. Prizes can be purchased from SNA’s Emporium or a party supply or dollar store. 9 DON’T FORGET ABOUT FACEBOOK Even with the tightest of budgets, you still can promote breakfast and NSBW via social media! If your school nutrition program doesn’t have its own Facebook page, you could share something through the school or district’s Facebook page or Twitter handle. Are you stumped by social media? It can be as simple as calling your district’s communications office and asking if you can make a post—and if they can help you to do it. If your district doesn’t have a Facebook page, then ask if you can post an announcement on the official website, in an e-mailed newsletter or elsewhere. 10 GO ON-AIR Ask the school principal if NSBW can be mentioned as part of the school’s morning announcements! You can share your menu items and encourage kids to stop by. It’s just one more platform that you may be able to use to reach students.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Make+the+Grade+With+School+Breakfast/1671148/202873/article.html.