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Parents of elementary students in the Little Rock School District don’t have to worry about breakfast for the rest of the year. The district is one of five from across the country chosen to participate in “Breakfast in the Classroom” funded by The Walmart Foundation. This program will provide a free breakfast for every student in the classroom after the morning bell.

“Simply eating a healthy breakfast can reap very substantial improvements to academic performance and health, but too many children miss out on breakfast and start the school day hungry,” said Barbara A. Chester, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. This organization is one of the partners for “Breakfast in the Classroom,” along with Food Research and Action Center, National Education Association Health Information Network and School Nutrition Foundation.

Chosen for demonstrating exceptional need and potential success, the LRSD, Dallas Independent School District, Memphis City Schools, Orange County Public Schools, and Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland will all participate.

Most U.S. schools participate in the School Breakfast Program, but less than half of the low-income children who are eligible for a free or reduced-price breakfast are eating it, according to Partners for “Breakfast in the Classroom.” Bus schedules, late arrivals to school and reluctance to be labeled “low income” are among the reasons that many students don’t partake in cafeteria-based school breakfasts. However, as more schools move to the “Breakfast in the Classroom” approach, federal School Breakfast Program participation will increase, thereby reducing hunger and improving educational achievement nationwide, according to the Partners of the program.

Funds from the Walmart Foundation will cover startup and related costs, guaranteeing the program through the end of this school year.