School Breakfast Program

Share & Bookmark, Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Providing students with good, healthy food at the beginning of the school day is essential to creating a healthy learning environment where every student can thrive. Research shows that school breakfast increases student engagement and attendance, academic achievement, and overall health outcomes. The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally assisted meal program that helps schools provide nutritious breakfasts to students. In Virginia, every public school is required to offer the SBP and is encouraged to provide Breakfast after the Bell to ensure students have the opportunity to participate.

Benefits of School Breakfast

When students are hungry, they are more likely to...


be tardy to or absent from class.


experience academic, behavioral, and emotional issues in the classroom.

 clipboard with x marks

have lower math and reading scores.

On the other hand, students who eat school breakfast...

Star award

demonstrate better attendancetest scores, and classroom behavior,


experience improved focuscomprehension, and retention, and

 Heart, fork, knife

are more likely to consume health-promoting diets.

Source: Breakfast Blueprint: Breakfast After the Bell Programs Support Learning.

Interested to learn more about the benefits of school breakfast? Download this breakfast infographic from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with evidence-based data about the SBP and the benefits of eating breakfast. 

Breakfast After the Bell

Unfortunately, many barriers, such as late transportation, inconvenient meal service locations, and social stigma, prevent students from participating in school breakfast. Breakfast after the Bell (BaB) programs overcome these barriers by providing breakfast after the school day begins. BaB service models include:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom: Students eat breakfast in the classroom with their classmates and teacher. Breakfast can be served after the first bell or when students first arrive.
  • Grab and Go: Students pick up breakfast meals from a central location as they arrive at school and eat in their classroom.
  • Second Chance Breakfast: Students receive breakfast during a break in the morning, typically after first period.

A study of the impact of breakfast on chronic absenteeism found that BaB programs can reduce chronic absenteeism by 6% and improve reading achievement by 1.5%. Additionally, in a survey of principals from schools serving BaB across the nation...

  • 82% reported increased school breakfast participation,
  • 66% reported fewer occurrences of student hunger,
  • 21% reported fewer occurrences of absenteeism, and
  • 9% reported improved math and reading scores.

Are you a Virginia educator? Read these Frequently Asked Questions by Educators about School Breakfast!

Funding Opportunities 

School nutrition programs receive federal reimbursement for every breakfast meal served to a student. For school year (SY) 2023-2024, the federal reimbursement rates are as follows:

2023-2024 School Breakfast Program Reimbursement
School Need Free Reduced Paid
 Severe Need 2.73 2.43 0.38
 Not in Severe Need 2.28 1.98 0.38

Schools that serve alternative breakfast models can apply annually to receive additional state funding. In SY 2022-2023, the VDOE distributed a total of $1.074 million to over 300 schools serving BaB across the Commonwealth. Schools selected to receive this state funding for SY 2023-2024 will be announced soon.

Finally, school divisions receive state incentive funding for improved student participation in the SBP. The level of incentive funding is $0.22 for each breakfast meal served above the base year number of breakfast meals served per student. Information about the incentive entitlement funds from SY 2022-2023 will be distributed at the beginning of 2024.


The NEW! Breakfast Communication Toolkit provides school nutrition professionals and school division administrators with resources to market the School Breakfast Program (SBP), educate school and community stakeholders about the benefits of BaB programs, and, ultimately, increase student breakfast participation.

No Kid Hungry's Center for Best Practices offers comprehensive strategies and resources for implementing and enhancing BaB programs, such as:

Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is a collaboration of nutrition professionals and food access advocates from Virginia non-profit organizations, government agencies, and school divisions. Its mission is to ensure equitable access to good, healthy food in Virginia school breakfast programs. As a group, the Breakfast Club seeks to improve the nutritional quality of school breakfast to relieve student hunger and improve academic achievement. Each Breakfast Club meeting works towards the VDOE-SCNP goal of achieving 70% average daily school breakfast participation compared to school lunch participation among free and reduced-price eligible students.

The Breakfast Club's best practices address:

  • removing barriers to breakfast access,
  • increasing consumption of high quality protein foods,
  • reducing consumption of sugar, and
  • increasing participation by providing new, innovative menu items.

Virginia School Breakfast Award

Virginia School Breakfast Award recognizes schools achieving success in school breakfast and provides recipient schools with promotional items for National School Breakfast Week. Award recipients from 2021, 2022, and 2023 are listed below.

Staff at John Champe High School receive the 2023 School Breakfast Award.

2024 Virginia School Breakfast Awardees:

  • Brooke Point High School, Stafford County Public Schools
  • Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Loudoun County Public Schools
  • Larkspur Middle School, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
  • Norview High School, Norfolk Public Schools
  • Prince Edward County Elementary School, Prince Edward County Public Schools
  • Rappahannock County High School, Rappahannock County Public Schools

2023 Virginia School Breakfast Awardees:

  • Carlin Springs Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools
  • Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg City Public Schools
  • John Champe High School, Loudoun County Public Schools

2022 Virginia School Breakfast Awardees:

  • Brumfield Elementary School, Fauquier County Public Schools
  • Landstown High School, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
  • Manchester Middle School, Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Rappahannock County Elementary School, Rappahannock County Public Schools
  • Rock Ridge High School, Loudoun County Public Schools

2021 Virginia School Breakfast Awardees:

  • Read Mountain Middle School, Botetourt County Public Schools
  • St. Paul School, Carroll County Public Schools
  • Hopkins Road Elementary School, Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Sycamore Park Elementary School, Culpeper County Public Schools
  • Northside Middle School, Norfolk City Public Schools
  • Orange Elementary School, Orange County Public Schools