Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. Lynette Busceme


This study investigated the effects of the breakfast in the classroom model and school poverty on attendance, discipline referrals, and fourth-grade literacy scores. The sample was composed of data from Arkansas elementary schools. Overall, the three hypotheses had no significant interaction effect. The main effect of the breakfast delivery system was not significant for discipline referrals and fourth-grade reading but was significant for school attendance. However, the practical significance was negligible. In contrast, school-wide poverty level significantly affected the percentage of scores for fourth-grade literacy in the Ready and Exceeding categories as measured by the ACT Aspire Summative Literacy Assessment with a large effect size. Students in higher poverty rates scored significantly lower than those in lower-poverty schools. Implications include a reduction in the interruption of learning due to absences, tardiness, and disciplinary removal from the classroom; the effect of healthier students receiving a nutrient-appropriate diet when they need it most each day; and serving breakfast in a more comfortable and convenient location for the student learners may lead to a change in the classroom climate. The Arkansas Department of Education and policymakers may want to consider publicly making student meal participation numbers available. If participation can be tracked, it could be studied and correlated to learning, attendance, and discipline. Researchers could also examine why some schools are achieving greater participation. Vendors may use these data to tailor offerings more widely to schools instead of converting wider market bulk offerings to school packaging. The food delivery model is a financial decision for some districts seeking to raise the number of students participating in breakfast programs and increase their federal repayment dollars. These districts can capture savings by reducing morning supervision since students report directly to classrooms, and buses can arrive later because breakfast is no longer before the bell.

Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Copyright held by