Friday Focus

March 18, 2022


Message from the Director

Spring Break kicks off at the end of work today. Whether you are off on an adventure or "stay-cationing," allow yourself to slow down and recharge. Did you know that relaxation lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety and decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body? In fact, relaxation can be just as beneficial to your health as eating well and working out. For some of you, relaxation doesn't come easy and you find it hard to give yourself permission. Relaxation is equally as important as being productive and it's necessary for clear decision making. In the end, taking time to relax actually makes you more productive. In this newsletter, be sure to read about the many program options and discounts available to you as an employee. You may be able to explore some of these during your time off. I value each one of you very much and am so thankful for your hard work. Please be good to yourself, relax and enjoy Spring Break!

With gratitude,


Sweet Start to Spring Break at TJE

Laurie Boynak and Mari Gora are providing their students with a sweet start to Spring Break. They are featuring a sugar cookie on the menu and have transformed their serving line into a spring meadow.
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memorial students eat a rainbow!

Shout out to Melissa Sabin, Cafe Manager at Memorial (C) and her team Kathryn Jones (R) and Stephanie Nagy (L). Memorial students celebrated St. Patrick's Day by eating a rainbow. They served colorful celery, orange peppers, strawberries and a fresh banana. And what did these leprechauns leave at the end of the rainbow? A hot colors fruit roll up, of course.
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Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

All permanent employees, whether they receive insurance or not, are eligible to participate in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employees can receive up to six FREE visits at Duneland Counseling Center in Chesterton. This program is completely confidential. The Counseling Center bills VCS for the visits, but they do not release any names. If you or a family member are experiencing difficulty and need to talk to someone, please consider this valuable and free service. Download the EAP Brochure below to learn more.

employee discounts

Our department is a member of a group purchasing organization called HPS. As members, our employees can take advantage of discounts with certain vendors. The list of Employee Discounts is below. One such discount is through Sherwin Williams paint store. Print out the discount letter and you can receive 15% off your purchase. If you have any questions or need more information, please ask.

Employee Fitness Center Discounts

As an employee of Valparaiso Community Schools, you are eligible for program discounts and services at local fitness centers. Below is a list of participating facilities with information about the discounts they offer.
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National Soft Pretzel Month

April celebrates the soft pretzel. Thanks to Heavilin Cafe Manager Jackie Schutz, we will use her idea to serve a soft pretzel instead of cornbread with mac and cheese all month. The pretzel's origins are as tangled as its shape. Legend traces it to medieval Europe, where Italian monks reportedly created treats to reward schoolchildren by baking dough with arms shaped in prayer. The tradition spread through Europe, and pretzels became associated with good luck and eternal love.
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GFS Ordering System Changes

Managers received an mail this week outlining the changes that are coming to GFS online ordering beginning Monday. One of the biggest changes is that the system will now show real time inventory so we can tell if the product is in stock and not have to wait to have the order rejected. Several other enhancements are coming that will help us navigate the continuing supply chain crisis. The new system goes live Monday, March 21. Webinars are available to explain all the changes and offer helpful instructions.


Any permanent employee (including substitutes) interested in any of these positions can apply by emailing a brief letter of interest to Kathy Kane, Director at

Non-employees can apply by completing an online application as an External Applicant here:

FS Tech, Cooks Corners, 3.5 hours

FS Tech, Parkview, 4.5 hours

FS Tech, BF, 4.5 hours

FS Tech, TJM, 4 hours

FS Tech, Flint Lake, 4 hours

FS Tech, Heavilin, 4 hours

FS Tech, Heavilin, 4 hours

FS Tech, VHS, 5.5 hours

FS Tech, VHS, 4 hours

2021-22 Calendar

March 21-25, 2022 No School, Spring Break (No Work Days)

April 8, 2022 Half Day for K-12 (Regular Work Day)

April 11, 2022 Weather Make Up Day (Regular Work Day)

May 3, 2022 eLearning Day (Regular Work Day)

May 16, 2022 Weather Make Up Day (Regular Work Day)

May 26, 2022 Half Day for K-12 (Regular Work Day)

June 2-21, 2022 Summer School Session 1

July 11-28, 2022 Summer School Session 2

Check out myschoolmenus!

You can also download the free myschoolmenus app!

Did you miss an issue of Friday Focus?

Past issues of Friday Focus are posted on our department website on the Staff Training page here:

About Us

Our mission is to support academic and lifelong success by nourishing students and building healthy eating habits.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.