At their regularly scheduled meeting on January 28, 2021, the Board of Education had the privilege of recognizing the nutrition services team as LPS Heroes. Employees on this team continue to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the success of LPS by going above and beyond their normal scope of work.
LPS Nutrition Services Team
Our nutrition services team has been busy making things happen behind the scenes. Sarah Kinney and Katie Kerkhoff, both department supervisors, worked together to launch the summer meal program, and it was LPS’s most successful summer feeding program ever! Katie and Sarah have been “boots on the ground” throughout the summer and the fall, helping to train kitchen staff on the multiple ways LPS is getting meals to students this year. They have put in countless hours while maintaining positive attitudes, and they are always willing to do what is needed to support the nutrition services department.
On top of all variability the department continues to face, Carlynn Fitzgerald, assistant director of nutrition services, implemented a new computer system this year, which involved entering all ingredients, recipes, nutrition information, and menus. This was on top of her normal duties, which include creating annual menus. She ended up creating new menus over five times for our elementary, middle, high, TOPS, hybrid, charter schools, and both locations of The Village for both breakfast and lunch in order to meet the changing needs. To do the menus once is a heavy lift; to continue to redo them with a smile on her face is remarkable.
Tracy Dean, buyer for nutrition services, and Debbie Smith, the administrative assistant to the director, both work in the central office and have been integral in guiding decisions for the team as they’ve moved through the many phases and changes in department operations due to Covid. They’ve been flexible in their roles, delivered food around the district, helped site-based staff, and had positive attitudes throughout the process.
Jessica Gould, director of nutrition services, has been filling gaps wherever they pop up. For example, she has delivered food to a family where the mother is blind and they can’t get to the pickup locations for remote learners. She has been working with local agencies to try to fill these sorts of needs but is always willing to step in to make sure students and families get the food they need. She’s coordinated with LPS Transportation for meal drops, and she’s working hard to pursue any potential revenue in order to mitigate cuts that could stem from lower meal participation due to Covid. In addition, she’s working with a public policy committee on the national level to ensure LPS has funding for waivers to cover this year’s operating expenses. This committee is also working on a public policy statement to advocate for universal free-of-charge meals to all students regardless of socio-economic background.
LPS is truly fortunate to have a nutrition services staff that is so dedicated to making sure our students have access to nutritious food no matter where and how they are learning, and we are very grateful. Thank you for your ongoing, outstanding work!