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Articles: Food Services

Here are the prices that Texas-based School Purchasing Alliance members pay for a case of food versus what they would pay if they were not part of the co-op. 

Here are the prices that Texas-based School Purchasing Alliance members pay for a case of food versus what they would pay if they were not part of the co-op. 

Learn how charter schools in New Orleans launched a food co-op.

MEAL DEAL—This student at Dickinson ISD near Houston enjoys a lunch on which his district saved money by joining a new food co-op.

How school districts in different regions of the country can save money and prioritize healthy eating through cooperative purchasing.

HOT WATER—Howard Valentine Coffman Cove School of the Southeast Island School District (193 students) uses wood-fired boilers to heat 30,000 gallons of water for its 6,912-square-foot aquaponics greenhouse.

A few Alaska schools are growing produce for ​their lunch programs in communities where some residents have to drive two hours, one way, to the nearest grocery store. The initiative has also increased employment in these remote areas.​

To prevent lunch debt from adding up, Diane Pratt-Heavner of the School Nutrition Association recommends:

Districts providing meals for any student who cannot pay may face an unintended consequence: massive debt, sometimes reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A1,100-student school district in Minnesota had been purchasing food supplies through a buying group of five other school systems—but it wasn’t efficient. “We would have to meet quite often,” says Director of Food Service Sandie Rentz of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools. “We wrote our own bids and market basket. Then we would go out for bidding and tabulate the results ourselves.”

Ken Trump (ken@schoolsecurity.org) is the president of National School Safety and Security Services.

The emotionally charged climates following the tragic attack in Parkland, Florida are understandable, but making knee-jerk decisions with a “do something, do anything, do it now” mantra can lead to high-risk, high-liability actions.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES—The apprenticeship program at Newport News Public Schools in Virginia puts employees on track for raises and promotions. It can also help them enroll in college.

Managing and keeping track of the many hours of professional development required for a district’s non-instructional staff may be one of an administrator’s more underappreciated responsibilities.

Repurposing buses no longer suitable for daily transportation has provided schools with mobile makerspaces, traveling cafés and bookmobiles.

FOOD FRIENDS—Students at Top of the World Elementary School in Laguna Beach USD donate lunch items that are either served as snacks in after-school programs or shared with a local food pantry.

Many schools are devising successful strategies and programs to redistribute, recycle and conserve cafeteria food and other, non-organic waste.

Only a handful of superintendents have launched a brand-new district. Even fewer have done it only months after being involved in a large-scale merger. Meet David Stephens, superintendent of Bartlett City Schools.

A look back at the year’s top stories sheds some light on the way forward.

The federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows districts in low-income areas to serve free breakfast and lunch to students without collecting household applications. (Gettyimages.com: asiseelt).

The New York City Department of Education announced in September that all public school students will now receive free lunch. 

Across the country, thousands of school districts are building and publicizing summer meal programs, components of a 48-year-old, federally funded effort to keep low-income children from suffering the health and cognitive effects of summer hunger.

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