Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The federal government established nutrition assistance programs such as the School Breakfast Program and school districts have implemented Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) to improve participation rates, yet millions of low-income children do not partake in these programs. Thus, many school districts are failing to meet the nutritional needs of the low-income population, which can have negative effects on a child's healthy development. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to observe and explore teachers' perspectives regarding school breakfast implementation in a small school district in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Research questions examined experiences with implementation, benefits and challenges to the program, and how children's needs are impacted based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the theoretical framework for this study. Data from the research participants' interviews, journals, and classroom observations were coded, themes were identified, and triangulation occurred to answer the research questions. Findings indicated changes need to be made with food portions, food options, food quality, the logistics of implementation, and outreach efforts. Recommendations included changing equipment, providing equal amounts of food, evaluating food options and quality, providing clean up supplies, and educating parents on BIC. Stakeholders addressing these challenges can increase support and participation rates in the program, leading to positive social change. Implications for positive social change include reduced state costs associated with hunger, decreased food insecurity for low-income families, improved behaviors in the classroom, and improved support of the physiological, safety, and socialization needs of children.