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KSDE’s Child Nutrition and Wellness team honors three school districts

KSDE’s Child Nutrition and Wellness team honors three school districts

KSDE’s Child Nutrition and Wellness (CNW) team honored three school districts for outstanding innovative practices at the Kansas State Board of Education’s August meeting. 

The KSDE CNW Kansans Can 2021-2022 Best Practice Awards reward outstanding practices in CNW programs in Kansas that support the Kansans Can vision. 

The three districts honored were: 

  • Kansans Can Serve Local Foods: Scott City USD 466 

Kathy Eaton and her staff rose to the challenge of preparing, testing and standardizing two recipes incorporating sorghum. This was a new adventure for Eaton and her staff, as none of them had ever tasted sorghum, let alone prepared sorghum, a local Kansas grain. 

Through their work with the Child Nutrition and Wellness team, they successfully prepared and served chocolate muffins made with 100% whole sorghum grain flour and the Kansas Fried Rice recipe incorporating a 50/50 blend of whole grain brown rice and whole sorghum grain.

Scott County rose to the challenge and was the first district in Kansas to serve this local food. Eaton also provided valuable feedback to Child Nutrition and Wellness and to the producers of the whole sorghum grain and whole sorghum grain flour with regards to preparation and student acceptance. 

  • Kansans Can Lead: Haven USD 312 

When Haven decided to become a Farm to School location, it had no idea how far the district could go. The district knew that it would be a huge team effort that would include not only the kitchen staff, but also the Haven FFA, Haven Agriculture classes and the Haven maintenance staff. What started out as the agriculture class growing some lettuce in the green house, turned into growing foods for the entire salad bar. 

Haven grew food for school and summer meal programs both inside and outside of the greenhouse. Local produce, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers and radishes, grow abundantly well. In the spirit of collaboration and leadership, the Haven maintenance staff helped run water lines to the outside garden and even helped plant the outside area.  

Haven completed its first full year of procuring fresh local beef. Student feedback supported the change to local beef, and students prefer it to the commercially processed beef previously used. The quality of the fresh beef, along with the fact that one of Haven’s local family farms produced it, made this partnership even more special. 

Haven schools have grown their Farm to School program in a short amount of time. Another bright spot of all their success is that they have been able to mentor and provide leadership to other districts using their program as an example.  

Haven has proven that the hardest part was taking that first step and the rest is farm fresh history!  

  • Kansans Can Implement Innovative Meal Pattern Strategies: Maize USD 266 

Maize High School’s Crystal Stulhmiller and Amy Limes teamed up to gather valuable student feedback on potential new menu items. Limes designed a QR code label their team could attach to a new item’s packaging to invite students to digitally provide input, suggestions and rate the new food. 

Stulhmiller and her team cooked up new items like Mediterranean Salad, Biscuit Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Cranberry Rice Bowls and Pork Carnita Tacos. Students scanned the QR code with their phone to instantly offer their input on the recipe. The QR code gathers information by date, allowing the staff a reference back to any date they provided a new item. The team at Maize quickly realized that the QR code label was a sustainable method to gather student feedback without creating a burden for the kitchen staff. 

Engaging with students in the digital age is now easy and efficient for the Maize High School team. Maize High School’s Food Service team learned that students loved the Pork Carnita Tacos but weren’t fans of the Biscuit Monte. That valuable information guided menu planners for the coming school year.  

Prior to this QR code, students would occasionally be offered samples, but the feedback was limited or seemed to be masked by the excitement of getting extra food. The QR method allowed students time to sample the item in real time and provide both positive and negative feedback. 


Posted: Aug 18, 2022,
Comments: 0,

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