Friday Focus

April 16, 2021


Change is the Only Constant

Albert Einstein said, "the measure of intelligence is the ability to change." Given everything that has changed for our program this year, and how impressively you've adapted to it, I would say that definitely puts all of you in the "genius" category! Change is inevitable and our ability to roll with it determines our success. Will Rodgers said "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." As we start thinking about 2021-22, our hope is to continue bringing school back to a "normal" state. Start times will go back closer to what they were before and no Wednesday eLearning days. A virtual option will still be offered to students, so remote meal curbside pickup will continue. We are waiting on guidance from USDA and IDOE to determine which regulatory waivers will be available to us, including whether or not we can continue to serve meals free to all students. While this year has been one of nothing but changes, I am proud of how you have taken advantage of the opportunities to improve using what you've learned from doing things differently. It definitely proves my point that you are the best School Nutrition team on the planet!

Macaroni and Cheese Still Popular!

Thanks to Nancy at TJM and Laurie at TJE for celebrating Thomas Jefferson's birthday with a special menu featuring this President's favorites and preparing the food to perfection. The Cavatappi Mac and Cheese was so well received, we are making a permanent menu change and replacing the Pizza Crunchers with it. Blue Friday on the K-8 menu will now feature Macaroni and Cheese, Garlic Toast, Green Beans and a Frozen Whole Fruit Slushie! Thomas Jefferson sure knew a hit when he tasted it in France and thankfully brought it back to the United States.

School Nutrition Spotlight

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Congratulations and Welcome!

Congratulations to Olga Bonvissuto on her promotion to Cafeteria Manager at Flint Lake Elementary. Welcome to Michelle Tylicki on becoming a permanent hire as a Food Service Tech at Memorial Elementary. We are excited for both of you in your new roles!


Have you checked out our digital menus? You can view all menus at every school by going to or by downloading the free app. You can see what each menu item we serve looks like, view nutrition information and even keep track of what you eat by using the Build A Meal feature that calculates calories, carbs and fat content of the items you select.

How is Staffing Done?

Every school and serving situation is unique, but the national industry standard for determining the number of labor hours assigned per kitchen is based on "Meals per Labor Hour" or MPLH. This is a formula that calculates the average number of meal equivalents served in a day at a school divided by the number of labor hours worked there. Please see the March 2021 MPLH below. If a school is "green," they are staffed appropriately. If a school is "yellow or red," it is operating below the standard and needs to either serve more meals or reduce labor hours to be financially efficient. As you can see, all schools are doing very well and participation is exploding thanks to Free Meals for All. Keep up the good work!

Kathryn's Kitchen Tips

Visual Inspection of Rubber Spatulas

How often do you really take a good look at your rubber spatulas? Rubber spatulas do become worn and brittle and the rubber will eventually start to break off. This can be a physical contaminant and a critical health code violation because broken pieces can fall into food. Rubber spatulas should be inspected prior to each use. If any of your spatulas are showing ANY signs of wear, please take the spatula to your manager so it can be discarded immediately and replacements can be ordered.

Below are three pictures of spatulas. The first picture shows what a good spatula looks like with clean rounded edges. The second shows how the edges are worn and jagged and small pieces are missing. The third picture has part of the rubber completely broken off at the top. The small pieces were actually found in food and we traced them back to this spatula. Fortunately these pieces were returned to us and not swallowed by a child. Rubber spatulas that look like the second and third picture should never be used and immediately discarded. Managers can contact me for replacement item codes of the type of spatula that you have discarded. Thank you for your serious attention to this potentially dangerous situation.

Ashley's Advice

Inventory Transfer Sheets

When completing inventory transfer forms, please be sure to complete all information. Dates, locations from/to, initials, item code, quantity, reason, signatures. All of this information is required because it must be entered in the inventory software. The final inventory valuation process cannot be completed until all information is entered. I also want to share the podcast Kathy and I were interviewed on. Click below to listen. Remember, if you would like to start a Giving Table, please let me know.

About Us

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