Friday Focus

September 17, 2021


Message from the Director

I think we can all agree that the "game" has definitely changed in our business and we need to update and change our "playbooks" to survive. Ronald Reagan gave good advice when he said, "trust, but verify." I think this applies perfectly to our jobs today and verification is a tool that belongs in our playbooks. We totally trust our co-workers, but at the frenzied pace we are working, it is easy to miss things. Before starting to cook in the morning, verify that the correct number of servings have been prepared and that it matches the forecast. Before ordering, verify your inventory. Before answering questions, verify that you actually have the correct information. As I said, mistakes can and will happen, but by verifying, you create a layer of protection that will save you bigger problems down the road. When you verify, you are giving yourself time to "act" instead of having to "react" at the last minute which can be stressful and something you definitely don't need. I don't know how you have developed even more patience, but you have and it's impressive! Thank you for keeping things going; not many could ever do what you are doing.

With gratitude,



Hispanic Heritage Month begins this week and is celebrated for the next 30 days. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history and countless contributions that Latinos have made to our nation over the years. This month we also honor the cultural richness of Hispanics, who come from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Hispanic Heritage Month!


Every Friday, staff can wear a "Valpo" spirit shirt instead of the uniform chef coat. But did you know you can wear jeans if you donate $2.00? This fundraiser is used to pay off negative cafeteria balances for families in need. Little by little, more than $2,000 has been collected to help students. Talk to your Cafe Manager if you have questions or want to participate.

Remember, it doesn't cost anything to make a difference to a child and improve their life. Watch why Mr. Jensen chooses to be the best for the world instead of the best in the world.

Inspirational Video- Be a Mr. Jensen- MUST WATCH!!


Friday, September 24 is a half day for students K-12. Employees work their regular shift. After meal service, employees will be working on laptops to complete mandatory training. The VCS district training is completed through Canvas. Check your VCS email for a message from Instructure Canvas with instructions. You will need your Canvas user name and password to sign in. In addition to the district required training, you will also complete Civil Rights training for federal child nutrition programs.

The K-8 menu for this day is Mini Bosco Cheese Breadsticks (instead of Macaroni and Cheese with Cornbread) with marinara sauce, garden salad and apple slices.

President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act, Gives Pen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Yesterday, USDA issued a waiver that prohibits State Agencies from charging fiscal penalties to School Nutrition programs for not meeting the meal pattern. This doesn't mean that they can't write up violations, they just can't withhold federal reimbursement. This is somewhat of a relief since we are using so many substitutions without CN labels that guarantee servings contain specific component amounts, like 2 oz meat/meat alternate or 1 oz grain equivalent. The complete memo is below.
Big picture


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 VHS, 4.5 hours

FS Tech VHS, 4 hours

FS Tech Cooks Corners, 3.5 hours

FS Tech, Cooks Corners, 5.5 hours

FS Tech, Memorial, 5.5 hours *new*

FS Tech Memorial, 3.5 hours

FS Tech BF, 5 hours

FS Tech BF, 5 hours

FS Tech TJM, 4 hours

FS Tech Flint Lake, 4 hours

Production Lead Flint Lake, 5.5 hours

2021-22 Calendar

September 24, 2021 1/2 Day K-12 (Regular Work Day)

October 11-12, 2021 No School, Fall Break (No Work Days)

October 21-22, 2021 1/2 Days, K-8 (Regular Work Days)

November 2, 2021 eLearning Day (Regular Work Day)

November 24-26, 2021 No School Thanksgiving Break (No Work Days)

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.