KEALAKEKUA, HAWAI‘I – Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kona will be the first public school in the State of Hawai‘i to serve breakfast in the classroom to all students beginning August 18th.
Kona Pacific Public Charter School is leading the way as an innovator in public education. As a pioneer in the field of school and community nutrition, Kona Pacific will be the first public school in Hawai‘i to offer universal breakfast in the classroom to all students, regardless of their ability to pay. The new program, a partnership with Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, will launch on Monday, August 18, feeding 230 students.
Universal breakfast in the classroom, where all children eat a nutritious breakfast for free in their classroom at the start of the school day, is an important development in public education that is quickly gaining momentum in many communities across the country. It has been shown to support academic achievement, improve children’s health and wellbeing, help struggling families and those who must commute a long distance to school save time and money, and reduces the stigma of school breakfasts served “only for poor children.”
With the support of Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Kona Pacific piloted a universal breakfast program in a few classrooms in May of the 2013-2014 school year. In the pilot program’s three-week time period, teachers observed profound results in terms of students’ ability to focus and participate in class, as well as increased attendance and punctuality.
Kona Pacific will be working with Appleseed and additional project partner Adaptations, Inc. in the coming school year to expand the project into every classroom on campus, and to double the amount of locally grown food used. The project will be the subject of an academic research study on the benefits of universal breakfast in the classroom for a range of educational, health, and behavioral indices. The project will serve as a model for the rest of Hawai‘i, which is currently ranked 45th in the nation for breakfast participation by low-income students. The project aims to take full advantage of the largely federally funded school breakfast program, and improve the health and academic achievement of students to lay the foundation for a lifetime of success.