Across Texas, over 3.7 million students from low-income households qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through federal programs, such as the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.  For many of these children, meals eaten at school are the only substantial meals they receive during the day. School districts are critical players in implementing school food programs – yet, some districts are doing better than others in providing breakfast, lunch, and after-school meals to students in need.  

The 2022 Kroger School Food Rankings evaluate how districts across Texas provide meals to low-income area school children by focusing on meal participation rates and after-school meal programs offered in each district. Top-ranking states across Texas report nearly 100% of low-income students as participants in school lunch and breakfast. CHILDREN AT RISK recognizes the great value these districts are providing to our students, their families, and our state’s academic and economic future. With the support of Kroger and Paso del Norte Health Foundation, we are excited to announce this year’s top-performing school districts.

Key Take-Aways

The top 3 school districts (with at least 10,000 students and 60% economically disadvantaged) in the 2022 Kroger School Food Rankings are McAllen ISD, Brownsville ISD, and Waco ISD.

The top 3 large school districts (at least 50,000 students and 60% economically disadvantaged) in the Texas School Food Rankings are San Antonio ISD, Pasadena ISD, and Houston ISD.

Roughly half of school districts (over 10,000 students) implement the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) after-school meal program.

The strongest 10 districts had over 70% of eligible students participating in breakfast programs, while the weakest 10 districts – including several charter districts – had breakfast participation rates as low as 11-27%.

We know that access to quality, nutritious meals is critical for a child’s development. It’s hard to achieve in the classroom if your basic needs like having food or a safe place to sleep aren’t within reach. School Nutrition Departments are shown to play a key role in combating hunger and food insecurity, but too often they don’t get the ‘thanks’ that they deserve. With the 2022 Kroger School Food Rankings, we are excited to celebrate the best school nutrition departments that really go above and beyond. They’re the leaders we should look to as we combat child food insecurity in Texas.

Dr. Bob Sanborn

President & CEO, CHILDREN AT RISK

Methodology Overview

Children at Risk’s Food Ranking methodology consists of measuring the participation rate of School Nutrition Programs (SNP) across districts. These districts are then assigned a score based on the participation rates for each program, which is weighted and aggregated. This year, meals allocated to schools through summer programs that were utilized during the school year because of the Pandemic were included in the analysis. The aggregate scores are ranked from highest to lowest to create the Food Rankings.

School Breakfast is weighted the highest in our analysis for various reasons: research suggests that providing The School Breakfast Program (SBP) can improve student attendance, increases their academic performance, and reduces discipline problems in the classroom. The struggle to obtain a nutritious breakfast particularly affects low-income households, but many families find that early morning schedules make it difficult to find time to prepare and eat a nutritious breakfast at home.

Children at Risk utilizes Texas Department of Agriculture data and Texas Education Agency data to generate the district scores and district rankings.

TOP TEXAS SCHOOL DISTRICTS (Overall)

  1. Mcallen isd
  2. brownsville isd
  3. waco isd
  4. sheldon ISD
  5. pharr-san juan-alamo ISD
  6. lubbock isd
  7. del valle ISD
  8. kipp texas public schools
  9. clint isd
  10. san antonio isd

Top Large Districts

  1. san antonio isd
  2. Pasadena isd
  3. houston isd
  4. garland isd
  5. el paso isd