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Greater Brunswick Charter School Brings Breakfast to the Classroom

July 20, 2012 | New Brunswick

Like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the good work of a New Brunswick teaching assistant is multiplying tenfold.

Carmen Rine has been cooking and serving breakfast for up to 35 students at the Greater Brunswick Charter School for the past four years. Now, thanks to a $25,000 seed grant from New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT), all 340 students at the school will benefit from a wholesome morning meal.

The expanded Breakfast in the Classroom is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012. “We’re thrilled that the program started by Carmen will be expanding to include all of our students,” says Patrick Mulhurn, education director at Greater Brunswick Charter School. “We know the difference a healthy meal in the morning can make for our children.”

“For some kids, it’s a reason to come to school and it also helps them focus in the classroom,” says Rine, who also wears the hats of peer mediation advisor, enrichment cluster coordinator and newspaper coordinator at this K-through-6 grade public school in New Brunswick.

According to the School Nutrition Association, students who eat a school breakfast achieve greater gains in standardized test scores and show improvements in math, reading and vocabulary scores. Providing nutritious school breakfast on testing days—and every school day—leads to improved test scores.

That’s the kind of impact New Brunswick Tomorrow, which co-directs New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids – New Brunswick, hopes to realize with their seed funding of Breakfast in the Classroom. “Our recent needs assessment identifies food insecurity at 16 percent among New Brunswick’s low income residents,” NBT’s President, Jeffrey Vega said. “Therefore, this program’s expansion makes sense.”

Greater Brunswick Charter School is a free, independent public school founded by area parents and educators in 1998. The school is committed to helping students develop strong academic and social skills in a culture that encourages independence and self-directed learning.

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