December 1, 2023
SCHOOL NUTRITION NEWSLETTER
Message From the Director
Kids have many people making decisions for them. Providing guided choices makes a child feel like they have some power over what they do and is an important step in growing up. Our new "You Choose" campaign will be used at every grade level to promote the power of choice to improve nutrition. This idea was sparked by conversations with Deb and Nancy, middle school managers, who wanted to give their students more choices. Our program is built on employee feedback. Your opinions and ideas matter as we shape and improve school nutrition. Thank you for being involved, caring and contributing to our shared success! We are most definitely better...together.
You Choose: Middle Schools
Providing students with a choice is the perfect way to please customers and increase participation. Debbie Johnson and Nancy Moore, the middle school managers, requested a choice of chicken and pizza on their regular menu days. Simple, but genius!
You Choose: K-8 Breakfast
To battle breakfast menu fatigue, all K-8 schools will offer an all new "You Choose" breakfast buffet in January after break. Four favorite entrees, including whole grain blueberry donut holes, breakfast pizza, whole grain cinnamon buns and strawberry boli will be offered every day, as well as new multi grain and reduced sugar cereal flavors. Cafe Managers will sample these products and provide feedback at the December Leadership meeting.
You Choose: VHS
The "You Choose" campaign at the high school is to focus on the nutrition value of the Combo and the deal it represents. The goal is to get students to "choose" more fruit and vegetables with their meals.
Disney Pixar Characters
Having your face on a milk carton has traditionally been seen as a sad thing, but not for Disney Pixar! I enrolled our district in the Dairy Farmers of America program that provides special milk cartons featuring Disney Pixar characters. You've been receiving Toy Story cartons this fall (when the carton shortage was at its peak) and beginning in January, cartons will feature Mickey Mouse and friends. More easy peel decals (put on cafeteria tables, cooler doors, etc.) will arrive soon. For Star Wars fans, watch for your favorites this spring. How are students reacting to these characters? Are they drinking more milk? Please share your feedback.
Attendance Check Up
As we approach the halfway point of our work year, how are you doing monitoring your sick and personal days? You can easily check to see how many well deserved days off you have remaining using the Time Off section in your personal Skyward account. If you run out of days, only a limited number of unpaid short term leave days are available for specific situations only. If your absence doesn't qualify for a short term leave, any further absences will be subject to a 1. Warning, 2. Suspension and 3. Termination. These infractions carry over from year to year. Plan for the unexpected. To learn more, refer to the VCS Attendance Policy on our Staff Training page: https://4.files.edl.io/24f1/08/17/23/202959-db106df1-4edf-4c88-a18e-b4af22767334.pdf
WIN with Five Days of Mushrooms!
Get ready to celebrate this season with Mushrooms in Schools. It’s back and with even better prizes! For 5 days in December, we want to provide you with an opportunity to win a cheese board, labels, a free national conference registration, and much more! We appreciate all the hard work you do for students across the country. This is a fun way to say thank you – to everyone!
How to Enter
Step 2: Each day, from December 4-8, enter using Facebook, X/Twitter, or by clicking the link below and following the steps to enter!
Feel free to check out the entry options now by clicking the links below, and note that each day’s prize entry will be open for 24 hours (from 12 am to 11:59 pm EST). You’ll see there are a variety of ways to enter each day – and we encourage you to try all of them! From following us on Facebook, to retweeting our posts, joining our mailing list, submitting your favorite mushroom recipe, or visiting our website – entering is easy and we hope you’ll learn a little more about Mushrooms in Schools in the process!
To enter and read the full contest rules, click here.
Thank a Farmer Thursday
This week at Central, Rachel Pitt introduced her students to yellow popcorn from Kankakee Valley Homestead in Walkerton. She prepared popcorn from kernels and portioned small amounts for students to try. Plain popcorn is a nutritious snack. Already known as a good source of fiber, popcorn has higher levels of healthy antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables!
Our angel tree rack is filling up quickly!! I was so amazed at how FAST the angel tree tags were picked up by you all. THANK YOU! Remember....gifts must be returned to me (Ashley) unwrapped on or before Monday December 11. Gift wrapping supplies are also accepted as donations as well. If you are interested in participating and need a tag, please reach out to me! Thank you, all and have a wonderful weekend!!
Special Donation for YOU!
Our HR Coordinator, Nicole Biehn, made a special Viking Hunger Hero donation by paying for all school nutrition staff, including substitutes, to wear jeans on Thursday, December 21. What a kind and thoughtful idea that not only helps students, but is something special for you. You can wear holiday shirts with your jeans on this day, too. Thank you, Nicole!
Weights and Measures
Confused by weights and measures? So was George Washington, according to Saturday Night Live.
Heinz Adds New Flavor
On November 6, Heinz announced a permanent addition to its flavored ketchup line. Pickle ketchup is "dill"ightful and will be hitting grocery shelves in early 2024. I see a bright future for this in K-12 food service, what do you think?
Smart Holiday Appetizers
Turn your charcuterie boards into colorful and healthy holiday snacks. Be creative and use fresh fruit, veggies and cheese. This is a perfect project for kids! You select the ingredients and they make a masterpiece! Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Free Employee Assistance Program
Your Perspectives EAP is here to provide confidential, no-cost support for you and your family 24/7.
Call or text 800.456.6327 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or contact us for in-the-moment support.
Use the “Live Chat” feature on your Perspectives Online Portal to instant message with a counselor 7 a.m.-9 p.m. CST Mon.-Fri. (Remember to use your unique Access Code, and your Password is perspectives
Here’s how to access your EAP:
Access Code: valpo
School Nutrition Association November/December 2023
Menu SN SCHOOL NUTRITION The Oﬃ cial Publication of the School Nutrition Association INSPIRES | INFORMS | INSTRUCTS | K-12 FOODSERVICE November * December 2023 Strategic Solutions for Impactful Cafeteria Spaces New and Renewed Yes, You Can Design on a Dime Consultant Consultane Collaborations for the Win Morning Treats for All-Day Eats Next Library
Non-employees can apply by completing an online application as an External Applicant here: https://www.applitrack.com/valpo/onlineapp/
Production Lead, VHS, 6.5 hours
FS Tech, Heavilin, 4 hours
FS Tech, BF Middle, 4.5 hours
FS Tech, Central, 4 hours
FS Tech, VHS, 4 hours
December 21, 2023 Half Day K-12 (Regular Work Day)
December 22 - January 5, 2024 Holiday Break (No Work Days)
January 8, 2024 Classes resume (Regular Work Day)
January 15, 2024 MLK Day (No Work Day)
February 16, 2024 Mid Winter Break (No Work Day)
February 19, 2024 Presidents' Day (No Work Day)
March 25 - 29, 2024 Spring Break (No Work Days)
Did you miss an issue of Friday Focus?
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Location: 2727 N. Campbell St., Valparaiso, IN 46385
Phone: (219) 531-3050