School Wellness Council to consider benefits of breakfast program at Nov. 14 meeting

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The Whole Student model. Graphic/

MANCHESTER, NH – During the Oct. 24 meeting of the Manchester School Wellness Council, members agreed to update their mission statement to support the goal of “overall student wellness” based on the Centers for Disease Control’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child guidelines.

The Council announced it is seeking parent and student members interested in being part of the Council. The primary focus is on improving child health initiatives while implementing and maintaining compliance with Manchester School District’s food and wellness policy.

Meetings are held every one to two months during the school year and will frequently feature a child health speaker. Contact district dietician Sue Sheehy at for more information.

In October the Council heard from NH State Physical Activity Coordinator Scot Foster, who reviewed the benefits of exercise in the classroom as it relates to behavioral and academic success. Foster demonstrated “brain breaks” for the group and provided handouts with grade-appropriate ideas.

For the next meeting, set for Nov. 14, the topic will be “Increasing School Breakfast Participation.”  The public is welcome to attend at the Manchester School of Technology, 530 South Porter St. at 3:15 p.m.

According to the Council, New Hampshire schools have “some of the lowest breakfast participation in the country.” They cited research that has shown breakfast initiatives can improve student academic performance and test scores, and reduce trips to the school nurse. Manchester has seen success at Southside Middle School in the past few months with the “second chance breakfast” pilot program, a grab-and-go breakfast and mobile breakfast cart. After piloting the program, Southside compared sales for one week in October 2016 with one week in October 2017. The breakfasts served were 452 meals in October 2016 compared to 1,230 meals in October 2017 representing a 172 percent increase. Cost of meals, which students preorder during Advisory block, is $1.30; reduced price is 30 cents. 

UNH Nutrition Interns will be on hand for this meeting to present more information, along with the New England Dairy and Food Council and WIC.

School Wellness Council goals outlined for the upcoming school year:

  • Assist in the successful promotion, launching and participation of physical activity and nutrition initiatives
  • Implement meaningful partnerships in the Manchester community
  • Educate parents and guardians on the relationship between student health and academic performance and address the need for consistent health messages between the home and school environment
  • To promote the philosophy of healthy body weight
  • To increase the participation of exercise and physical health
  • To increase the awareness of mental and emotional health in our community

School Wellness Council meetings are scheduled for the remainder of the school year. Locations to be announced. You can sign up to subscribe to the Manchester School District blog newsletter for email updates:

  • Increasing School Breakfast Participation – November 14
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology Specialist – January 2
  • Pediatric Pulmonology Specialist – February 6
  • Pediatric Neurology Specialist –  March 6
  • UNH Nutrition Interns –  Topic to be determined – April 3
  • Childhood Diabetes –  May 1
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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!