RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth will participate in a pilot program that provides a complimentary breakfast to students at five of Virginia’s ACT test centers. On Saturday, October 27, students taking the ACT in Gretna, Harrisonburg, Martinsville, Springfield, and Tazewell will be offered a healthy breakfast before the test.
“The benefits of eating a healthy breakfast before testing are substantial and well-documented,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia is dedicated to equipping our children with all of the tools they need to be successful, and that includes expanding access to nutritious meals. We are proud to be part of this important initiative.”
Virginia’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and ACT, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Iowa City, Iowa that administers the ACT assessment, will partner to pilot this initiative, drawing on research demonstrating that students who are hungry—particularly those who have missed breakfast—have poorer cognitive performance, especially when testing.
“This initiative is a great example Virginia’s commitment to the success of our students in all aspects of their education,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “A small thing like breakfast can make a big difference for students and their performance.”
“We want to offer our students every advantage to perform as best they can on the test, and offering a free breakfast before sitting for the test seemed like an ideal way to do it,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Lane.
“It’s a perfect fit with our longstanding mission to help people achieve education and workplace success, and we are thrilled to be able help make this idea a reality,” said ACT Senior Vice President Scott Montgomery.
CACFP is a federally funded program administered by the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Programs. Many Virginia school divisions are eligible to participate in CACFP—for information, please contact Sandy Curwood at (804) 225-2074 or Sandra.Curwood@doe.virginia.gov.