GP2W: Student Nutrition Services

"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work.  The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school year, our website will feature an article on one of our schools, departments, or people explaining how they make SDPC a Great Place To Work!

2011Sally.jpgby Sally Nicholson, SNS Director

At Student Nutrition Services, our best assets are our employees. SNS has 170 food and nutrition professionals that are dedicated to students' health, well-being and their ability to learn. The SNS team understands and emphasizes the importance of ensuring the children have access to the nutrition they need to grow healthy and be successful in school and life. Our staff enjoys preparing and serving the customers whether students, faculty members, parents, vendors, etc. Just last school year, our program served 782,735 breakfasts, 1,774,084 lunches and 84,210 after-school snacks!

Theresa Boggs, our secretary, is a "star" to all who work with food service. She is ready and willing to help all who call upon her services – parents, staff, vendors, students, auditors, visitors, etc. Her spirit of helpfulness and positive attitude helps create a successful environment for the SNS program.

Sara Rhinehart, an accountant in Financial Services, helps with the food services' program accountability. She works with the Director, Field Trainer Supervisor, and assists food service managers with financial accountability. While Sara has moved to a new role, she will still be indirectly involved with the food service program. We give a warm welcome to Kendra Kelly, our new accountant working with food service.

Jenaffer Pitt, Field Trainer/Supervisor, works tirelessly providing technical assistance to all schools and assisting with reviews. She is always willing to go the extra mile and ensures the district is in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines.

Kevin Kees, SNS Maintenance Employee, has joined our team this year. He has the responsibility of keeping the equipment in the food service program running and performing routine preventative maintenance. Kevin plays a very important role in the food service program. When equipment is not working, it can be challenging for the staff preparing hundreds of meals a day.

Juan Muniz, Culinary Specialist, works side by side with food service staff training, developing and conducting programs educating the staff in culinary techniques to improve the quality and presentation in all cafeterias. He also assists with special catering events held in the schools and throughout the district.

 The Student Nutrition Services motto is "Good, Better, Best! We will not stop until the good becomes better and the better becomes best". Student Nutrition Services has successfully met many benchmarks set for the department – online deposits; online applications; ability to print meal status letters at home; cost control measures to assist with food cost, labor cost and supply cost guidelines; a dedicated website; 99.8 percent average for health department scores which reflects an adherence to federal regulations, state regulations and local health department standards; and accomplished an aggressive equipment replacement plan. These innovations have helped us continue to run with quality and efficiency.

All schools are Team Nutrition Schools, a national designation from USDA. Also, many have received the Healthier US Schools Award, a USDA recognition for schools that have made changes to assure healthy, nutritious, and customer satisfying meals are served daily, and health and physical activity opportunities are offered to all students.

Also, this year the district has one school that has been awarded the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grant – McKissick Elementary. This grant offers the students an opportunity to try new food items and receive nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables during the day promoting healthy eating habits.

We appreciate everyone's assistance and the unique role each person plays in making the food service program run like a "well-oiled machine". As we continue to move forward with the ever changing environment of school food service, our mission remains the same – to improve the health and well-being of our students and staff by providing tasty, nutritious meals. As an old Chinese Proverb says, "A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it."