On Tuesday March 21, Food Service Director Joseph Vaughn attended a student led presentation at Roosevelt High School. The presentation was sponsored by the "Healthy School Meals Advocacy Project" (HSMAP) which is a student lead advocacy group seeking to improve student access to nutritious and satisfying school meals. Mr. Vaughn was very impressed with the presentation and he thanked the students for all of the hard work they had put in. During their presentation, the students stated that they would prefer to have bottled water with their meals instead of milk. Mr. Vaughn explained to them that the current USDA meal pattern does not allow for water to be substituted for milk, but told them that he supported their idea and hoped that it may happen some day. Mr. Vaughn ended the meeting by asking the students to compose a menu for one day and that he would have the FSD menu staff review it. If possible, he would return and have their meal prepared for the school to celebrate the efforts of the HSMAP.
As she jet sets across the country for speaking engagements related to school food service, Dayle Hayes was intrigued by LAUSD’s new hot supper program and made a stop at Belvedere Elementary School on March 17, 2017, to learn more. Hayes, an advocate for school meals, award-winning author, and educator, and founder of the “School Meals That Rock” blog saw first-hand Belvedere Elementary School’s successful hot supper program. Prior to hot supper, Belvedere’s Cafeteria Manager, Rosendo Gonzalez, was serving 114 suppers daily. On the day Hayes visited, Gonzalez served 285 students! More than double the number of students he previously served. Belvedere has been consistently reaching these numbers since the new hot supper program started a month ago. What does this all mean? Simply that more students are benefitting from the nourishment of hot supper meals that are feeding their bodies to fuel their minds.
The top contributor to Belvedere’s successful hot supper program is the menu that includes a different hot item like a burrito, hamburger or mini cheese sliders each day balanced with other nutritious components like fresh fruit and low-fat milk. Teamwork is also a key factor in Belvedere’s success. The cafeteria staff, school administration, and Beyond the Bell have worked collaboratively with one goal in mind – to feed more students! The results are fewer hungry students after school and less food waste and trash. Gonzalez and his cafeteria staff serve students with a smile. Instead of going to a local market or fast food restaurant to buy an after-school snack that often lacks fruit, whole grain, and a healthy beverage, parents can now stay at Belvedere and have their children eat a nutritious and balanced hot supper at no charge before going home. Belvedere Principal, Beatriz Bogan, has embraced hot supper and makes announcements informing students what the menu of the day is and encourages students to participate. In addition, the Beyond the Bell (BTB) staff helps with supervision during the hot supper program. The major change BYT staff sees with the hot supper is that students like the food more, they are eating more, and throwing out less. To sum it up, more nutrients are going into the bodies of students to support academic achievement and strong bodies!
Joseph Vaughn, the new Director of Food Services for LAUSD, created the idea of a hot supper program and LAUSD began the pilot in November 2016 with 39 schools. The LAUSD hot supper program is the first of its kind on the west coast and possibly in all of the United States. The success of the pilot resulted in hot supper rolling out at new schools every two weeks. Last year, Food Services served over 12 million supper meals. With new hot supper schools doubling their participation, Vaughn anticipates serving 24 to 30 million supper meals by the time the program reaches all schools in the District over the next 1.5 years.
It is not too late to get your last-minute Dollar Challenge donations in! Tomorrow, March 10th is the last day to turn in your dollar donations. Thank you Food Services family for your generous donations to the Consolidated Charitable Campaign. We greatly appreciate your efforts towards making a difference and bringing hope to those in need in our communities. Check out the beautiful Dollar Challenge Boards from our creative cafeterias!
Milk and Space Exploration Make Their Mark at Bethune Middle School
On February 24, 2017, Keisha Sherrills, Food Services Manager at Bethune Middle School, and her staff shared in the joy of Bethune Middle School students receiving a $1,000 check and plaque for their winning creation made of recycled milk cartons from the cafeteria. The competition was sponsored by Evergreen Packaging Company who makes the milk cartons used by our partner, Driftwood Dairy. Bethune students benefitted from drinking the milk rich in calcium, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin A then used the milk cartons to design and build their version of a Mars space rover - the "Bethune Rover." Thank you to our Regional Manager, Florence Simpson, who presented the check and plaque to Bethune students and to the Bethune cafeteria staff for supporting student activities at Bethune.
On Friday, February 24th, the cafeteria at Carver Middle School received a surprise visit from Dr. Meléndez de Santa Ana, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Educational Services (OES), to see the “SMILE” campaign in action. The “SMILE” campaign originates from OES and stands for Smile, Make eye contact, Introduce yourself, Let them know your ‘why,’ Everyone is a customer. It is a customer service operation to encourage all staff to take the “SMILE” approach when interacting with students, faculty, and each other. Jennie Martin, Food Services Manager, encourages her staff each day by having a positive attitude and wearing a smile as she works. She regularly reminds her staff of the “SMILE” approach and gives them pointers on how to implement “SMILE” in in their daily work routine. Dr. Meléndez will continue to observe the campaign in action and your school may be next! When you get a moment, ask your staff, “Have you SMILED today?”
The Dairy Council of California provided a wonderful and educational assembly through their
Mobile Dairy Classroom at Fulton College Prep on Thursday, February 9! The visit was part of the educational component of our Milk Pilot program and featured Common Core-aligned
nutrition lesson plans such as:
Students learned how milk and dairy foods are produced, how to make healthy choices, and what the farm-to-table “full cycle” of healthy foods mean.
Board Member Dr. Rodriguez and Food Services Director Joseph Vaughn met with the “Southeast Youth Leadership Cabinet” at Huntington Park High School on Thursday, February 2. Dr. Rodriguez held this meeting to allow student representatives a forum to discuss various topics with him including Food Services. The meeting was very informative and the students got to hear about a variety of new programs that are upcoming in Food Services. Students were thankful to Dr. Rodriguez for the meeting and for allowing them an opportunity to voice their opinions.
Board Member Dr. Rodriguez and Mr. Vaughn meet with the "Youth Leadership Cabinet" at Sotomayor Learning Academies
Board Member Dr. Rodriguez and Mr. Vaughn spoke with the “Youth Leadership Cabinet” on Tuesday, January 31, at Sotomayor Learning Academies. The Youth Leadership Cabinet is made up of representatives from schools located in the northern portion of Board Member Rodriguez’s district. Students, teachers, and Principals provided valuable feedback regarding topics such as menus, serving times, and quality of the meals. It was a very productive meeting and the students were excited to hear about some of the new pilot programs such as the “Flavored Milk Pilot” and the “Hot Supper Meals Pilot”.
On January 26, 2017, school districts across California celebrated Collective Action Day where cafeterias served students freshly prepared meals using California-grown foods. These foods represent local purchases that help the local economy, require fewer “food miles” to help the environment, and help students to understand where food comes from and how it reaches their table. All LAUSD cafeterias served more California-grown foods this day, but Fremont Senior High, Hollywood Senior High, Roosevelt Senior High, and Washington Preparatory Senior High also had other activities to support Collective Action Day. Activities at these schools included “Build Your Own Wrap” where students filled a whole wheat tortilla with a variety of fresh vegetables like baby spinach, mushrooms, tomato, beans, and chopped egg. There was also a fruit-vegetable display showcasing California-grown produce where students tasted items like “rainbow carrots” and kiwis. Fremont High School students not only ate healthy wraps but were entertained with music by students participating in a rap battle. All in all, it was a fun learning experience that successfully raised student awareness of eating more fruits and vegetables, especially California-grown ones.
On 1/25/17, 89.3 KPCC Radio reporter, Jesus Ambrosio, visited Bell High School to learn more about the famous LAUSD coffee cake. Mr. Ambrosio interviewed Dart Cathirell, Food Services Manager, and Pat Jilek, Training Specialist, who combined have 68 years of service in our division. They talked to the reporter about the original coffee cake recipe that is 63 years old. Dart pulled out his antique recipe box filled with original recipes, one dating back to 1949! Dart and his staff prepare 3,300 servings of coffee cake when it is on the menu. Thank you, Dart and Pat, for being shining examples of food ambassadors for Food Services. Great job! If you have an antique recipe box filled with the original recipes, please contact Ivy Marx at email@example.com or (213) 241-1064. We’d love to hear from you!
Timikel Blakey Sharpe, MS
Deputy Director of Food Service, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, Calif. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Timikel has never forgotten her roots. In 2008, determined to reduce the number of homeless families in her hometown, Sharpe opened the “Vision of Grace Transition Home.” The Sheridan Heights home became a place of refuge for local homeless families, providing them with a safe, temporary space to live. Through hard work and use of her own resources, Timikel purchased and furnished the three-bedroom home with everything a family needs. She achieved 501(c)3 status within three years of purchasing the home, making it tax-exempt, and has used some of her retirement savings to keep the home financially stable. In 2015, Timikel’s outreach grew further, allowing her to remodel, furnish and open a second home with three bedrooms to help her in her mission to reduce homelessness in Montgomery.
From: SNF to Honor Five National School Nutrition Heroes Press Releases
Through the Board Resolution: Promoting Healthy Habits and Reducing Food Waste through Analysis and Advocacy, we implemented a pilot to study impact of viable options for increasing dairy consumption and the reduction of food waste. The pilot includes 27 school sites, divided in 4 Pilot Groups:
• Flavored Milk (11 school sites)
• Educational Campaign (3 school sites)
• Non-Flavored Milk Display (3 school sites)
• Mixed Milk Display (10 school sites)
One month’s worth of data shows that bringing flavored milk back to the schools in LAUSD could offset some of the District’s budget deficit. The data shows an average waste per student = 4.52 ounces of an 8 oz. carton. Average waste per day: 236 Gallons. The data also showed that Flavored Milk sites decreased waste by an average of 4.06 oz. Schools sites with non-flavored milk increased in waste and the school sites participating in the Flavored Milk Pilot increased in an average number of lunches served per day by 1,005 meals.
We will continue collecting feedback and statements from students, principals, plant managers, and cafeteria managers as well as the monthly data collection until the end of February 2017.
Schools sites offering flavored milk found an increase in participation while sites with non-flavored milk decreased. In December, sites with flavored milk decreased in waste while non-flavored milk increased in waste.
Board Member Schmerelson's Annual Holiday Open House
Once again, the Mulholland MS Food Services Team catered Board Member Schmerelson's annual Holiday Open House (December 8). The event is always fun-filled and highlighted by our food prepared by the Café LA team lead by Manager Michelle Coogan. Michelle and her team cater VIP events for both Mr. Schmerelson and Local District Northwest. Highlights of this year’s menu included Chili Verde Cheese Tamales, Turkey Pastrami Croissant Sandwiches, BBQ Pork Sliders and Teriyaki Cocktail Meatballs. Michelle and her team were assisted by AFSS, Sheilah Hernandez, and Training Specialists, Pat Jilek and Jay Schein. Bertha Corbera & Lilian Teret, Café LA employees, kept the buffet looking beautiful and assisted guests throughout the event. Many thanks and congratulations for an outstanding event.
On December 9, 2016, the Food Services Division participated in an educational segment for KMEX, Channel 34 at the Univision Studios. Ivy Marx, Senior Nutrition Specialist, and Saul Del Castillo, Food Services Training Specialist, provided great teamwork in showcasing the food on display and sharing how our meals are positive examples of balanced and healthy eating. Mr. Castillo’s artistry and attention to detail with the food display produced an impressive picture for the camera to capture authentically how fresh and bountiful our Café LA meals are.
A great thank you to Tamara Torres, Cafeteria Manager at Wright Middle School, who provided the items for the display which included the colorful and mouth-watering Teriyaki Bowl and scrumptious Turkey Pastrami Croissandwich with crispy green lettuce and bright red tomato garnishes.
Thank you to Evelyn Guirguis, Cafeteria Manager at Marina Del Rey Middle School, who baked a fresh pan of fluffy and delicious Café LA Coffee Cake for the display. Our Food Services Team worked together to showcase our Division’s wonderful and nutritious meals. A job well done, Café LA!
Food Services Division takes a jump start on LAUSD’s upcoming Consolidated Charitable Campaign! On December 8th, our Holiday Boutique was held selling a variety of unique and creative gifts, holiday décor, and baked goods. The sales helped raised over $400 towards the campaign. We thank everyone who supported us with their purchases!
Ms. Sadie Hardeman is retiring as a Food Services Worker after serving the students of LAUSD for 37 years. Her career started in San Pedro Elementary School providing service for 15 years before transferring to Adams Middle School in 1995. She is proud and thankful for her job and the opportunity to work with all of the staff at Adams Middle School. The Café LA Staff at Adams MS prepared a very joyful celebration with food, music, pastries enjoyed by Ms. Hardeman and Adams MS staff. Sadie Hardeman, we congratulate you and wish you blessings for good health and best wishes for the future!
The Flavored Milk pilot program began in November at 21 sites for lunch and supper. The selected schools include elementary, middle, and high schools district wide that have higher than average milk waste and lower than average lunch participation so that the impact of offering flavored milk can be analyzed. Baseline data of milk selection, consumption, and overall waste at these sites were collected in November as the first phase of the pilot. In December, participation and waste data will be collected and analyzed as the pilot continues resulting in a Board Presentation scheduled for the Spring of 2017 to determine if all remaining District sites will participate in the Flavored Milk program.
The new NAE (No Antibiotics Ever) chicken products for our menus are coming in March. The first chicken taste testing conducted at Alexandria Elementary School was a success! In an effort to expand the menu and provide more items that students love, approximately 50 students taste tested six different chicken options. These tasty options included favorites like the breaded chicken tenders and oven-roasted chicken drumsticks. Each student was asked to rate each item and to provide descriptive words based on their senses for texture, flavor, and color. The overall consensus was positive, and the students cannot wait to see these chicken items on their menus!
Café LA introduces hot supper program at 36 schools - 11/7/16
L.A. Unified has offered supper since August 2012, serving late-afternoon meals to students and children from surrounding communities. The program is a part of the District’s commitment to nourishing the bodies and minds of its students, many of whom live in low-income neighborhoods and experience food insecurity.
Cafe LA, the Food Services Division, began offering hot supper on Monday at 36 schools in a pilot designed to increase participation in the meal program. From the San Fernando Valley to South LA, students, their siblings and children from surrounding neighborhoods enjoyed the first-day meal featuring a cheese calzone, fruit juice slushy, a fresh apple and milk.
Sun Valley High School is one of 36 campuses where the hot supper program has been introduced.
That day, more than 10,500 individuals enjoyed a hot meal after school – approximately 6,300 more than the number who ate supper the previous Monday, before the launch. Participation is expected to grow next week, when two more schools join the program.
“We are very pleased with the results so far,” said Food Services Director Joseph Vaughn. “We are looking forward to learning from this pilot and eventually expanding it to all schools if it is a success, which I believe it will be.”
Vaughn credits the initial positive response to “listening to the customer” as the program created, noting that Café LA surveyed students and parents about the types of food they would find appealing and even giving out samples before the official launch.
Student Kathrisse Montales said she hadn’t eaten the cold supper offered in the past, although she stayed after school to participate in sports activities, but finds the hot meal to her liking. In the future, students may be treated to a zesty beef burrito, cheese flatbread, Café LA Burger or Mini Double Hot Dogs for supper.
Café LA staff say they are receiving calls from parents and principals asking when hot meals will be introduced to their schools.
“We’re happy with the response,” Vaughn said. “Even better, students aren’t going home hungry.”
Celebrating the Cooking Up Change Winners – 10/26/16
In April, the Santee Cooking Team, David Martinez, Jennifer Perez, and Tochtli Espinoza won the Cooking Up Change Competition that included six different schools. As a result of their win, they went to Washington D.C. in June this past summer to represent LAUSD at the national Cooking Up Change Competition. They won 3rd Place at the national CUC competition.
Their winning recipe was served at Santee Learning Center. Students and staff had the opportunity to see, and taste, first-hand the skill and creativity behind these recipes. The winning creations are the Chicken Quesadilla, Healthy Slaw with Cumin-Lime Crema, and Grilled Pineapple Downtown.
Tochtli Espinoza recently presented with Food Services at the LAUSD 1st Annual Sustainability and Youth Empowerment Summit. Tochtli is a very articulate and charismatic young man. He did an amazing job talking about aquaponics at the event. Tochtli plans to pursue a career in medicine because he has had always dreamed of being a surgeon.
Jennifer Perez is not only an accomplished chef, but is also on the Santee cross-country team and valedictorian of her class. She is combining her interests in nutrition, cooking, and physical activity to pursue a degree in kinesiology.
David Martinez has a passion for cooking. Even with the demands of high school, David makes time to help out in his family’s catering business. David plans to pursue a career in the culinary field.
Lisbeth Caiaffa is the teacher at Santee who provided the guidance, knowledge, and tools for these amazing students to excel in culinary arts. Chef Lisbeth’s passion for cooking and supporting students in achieving their goals is seen in these amazing students.
Food Day held at City Hall, celebrated food policy accomplishments impacting local food systems. The Mayor’s office recognized LAUSD Food Services for its efforts in implementing the Good Food Purchasing Policy. In addition, the Food Services Team was present to promote the great things we are doing and to provide samples of taco bean dip and yogurt and granola to the 150-175 Food Day participants that visited our table. It was a great and successful effort in promoting a positive Café-La image. Many visitors walked away from our table thanking us for what we are doing and pleased with what we are doing.