“When you think about school lunch, oftentimes a woman with a hairnet and scooper is what people imagine,” says Janelle Peterson, Manager of Student Nutrition for Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS). “That’s just the connotation---but we’re not your mother’s school lunch.”
Peterson developed and abides by the RCAS tagline, which promotes “ensuring a successful tomorrow through extraordinary moments today.” She and her team feel a responsibility to not only monitor food safety, but to deliver a complete dining experience.
The food service program for Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) holds itself to a high standard: with an award-winning director, innovative practices, and a fiscally sound structure, Cincinnati’s team is a study in possibilities.
“We wanted to take our program to the next level but we didn’t know how,” said Jessica Shelly, CPS Food Services Director. “We needed a new perspective to validate barriers we thought were there, and to identify things we were doing really well.”
CPS needed a strategy for growth but there were veritable obstacles. Staff time was limited, and resource constraints were a factor. Further, leadership perspectives were just too close to the source, rendering an objective evaluation almost impossible.
What they needed was a fresh pair of eyes.