Friday Focus

January 13, 2023


message from the director

Many people consider Friday the 13th unlucky, some actually suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, the acute fear of this day. Many skyscrapers and hotels do not have a 13th floor and some airports do not have gate number 13. No one knows the true origin of this superstition, but some historians believe it combines the unlucky number 13 from Norse (Viking) mythology with the unlucky day Friday, the traditional day for executions. One thing is for certain, though, I am very lucky to work with all of you. Day in and day out, you make a difference and take pride in what you do. As we head into the long weekend, remember Dr. Martin Luther King's words, "If I can't do great things, I can do small things in a great way." Thank you for doing both!

With gratitude,


Winter BBQ?

Both middle schools will once again celebrate "Beat the Winter Blues with BBQ." Students and staff are encouraged to wear summer shirts and sunglasses. At VHS, a "Cowboy BBQ" is planned with Susie and her team dressing in western hats and bandanas. Look out, Yellowstone...
Big picture
Big picture

mise en place

Mise en place is pronounced "meez ahn plahs" from the French phrase meaning "everything in its place." It is a basic culinary principle and a habit to incorporate both at work and at home. The video below is a perfect illustration of this process and you will quickly see the difference between working smarter, not harder. Amber Marrs expertly uses mise en place every day as she leads the VHS Deli team. She begins by looking at her recipe book, sets up her containers, then uses a cart to gather all ingredients at once. She is able to manage her time well this way and create the most delicious, fresh veggie chef salads in the Midwest (I know because I eat one almost every day!). What does your "Meez" look like?
Mise En Place

meals per labor hour

The December 2022 MPLH is below. There were only 12 serving days during this period and attendance was lower than normal due to sickness and holiday absences causing participation to dip at almost every school. Take heart...I know January 2023 will look much better! As a reminder, numbers circled in red mean an increase in participation over last month, a good thing.
Big picture

SNA Position Paper 2023

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has issued their annual position paper which recommends the actions Congress can take to improve our federal child nutrition programs and the health of children in this country. These recommendations were made based on a national survey of program directors (I took the survey). One recommendation I am happy to see is that SNA is calling for Universal Free Meals. Below is a quick article you will find interesting and the complete Position Paper for 2023. Once you review the position paper, please take a minute to send an email to Congress. Click here:

Respond and fill out your name and address. There's a space to add your own personal reason why you believe in free meals for all, but you don't have to fill that part out. It's quick, easy and it matters!

digital resources


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 Manager, Parkview, 6 hours

FS Tech, Cooks Corners, 5.5 hours

FS Tech, Central, 3.5 hours

FS Tech, TJM, 4 hours

2022-23 Calendar

January 16, 2023 - Martin Luther King Day, No School (No Work)

February 17, 2023 - No School (No Work)

February, 20, 2023 - President's Day, No School (No Work)

March 27-31, 2023 - Spring Break, No School (No Work)

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.