Sixteen School Lunch Programs Making a Difference

Nutritious, organic, and sustainably grown school lunches are served every day in Rome, Italy.

Over 31 million children in the United States consume most of their daily caloric intake at school. For many children, it may be the only food they eat regularly each day. But improving the quality of school lunches offers an effective way to ensure that half of what children eat is healthy, nutritious, and sustainably grown. School lunch programs that source organic, local, nutritious, and sustainable foods impact children’s health and also the health of our planet. Food Tank has compiled a list of 16 school lunch programs making strides to improve children’s health.

  1. The Baltimore Public School System, Baltimore, Maryland: The public school system in Baltimore was the first to adopt “Meatless Mondays,” which benefit students’ health as well as the environment. BCPS serves locally grown fruits, vegetables, and milk, and teaches its students how to grow their food at Great Kids Farm, a 33-acre teaching farm.
  2. The Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley, California: The Berkeley Unified School District is committed to serving nutritious, delicious, and locally grown food to students. All processed foods, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flour, dyes, nitrates, additives, and chemicals are banned. Local, organic milk is served throughout cafeterias in addition to organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
  3. The Burlington School Food Project, Burlington, Vermont: The Burlington School Food Project provides free breakfast and dinner to 4,000 students in the Burlington School District. The project is dedicated to serving local food from farms in the area and was chosen as a model Farm to School program by the USDA in 2010.
  4. Farmhouse Café and Bakery, El Prado, New Mexico: The Farmhouse Café sponsors school garden projects, which serve over 450 meals a day at participating schools and teach children how to grow vegetables and make healthy food choices.
  5. The Finnish National Board of Education, Finland: Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals dating back to 1948. School meals are designed to support students’ health and to give them energy for their studies. Local fish, vegetables, fruit, and grains are featured on students’ plates to form tasty, colorful, balanced meals. Finnish law requires that half of the plate be filled with fresh and cooked vegetables.
  6. The French Ministry of National Education, France: School children in France are required to sit at the lunch table for at least a half an hour to eat a full meal. Fried food, foods high in fat, ketchup, and sweets are all limited. Meals are well-balanced and include vegetables, a warm main dish, cheese, and usually fruit for dessert. The government charges families on a sliding scale, which averages US$2.56–3.12.
  7. The Healthy Schools Campaign, Chicago, Illinois: Over 350,000 students in Chicago public schools eat healthier food thanks to the Healthy Schools Campaign. Produce is regionally grown, and chicken is raised without antibiotics in nearby Indiana.
  8. Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research, Italy: Rome has an incredibly progressive school food program. About 150,000 meals are served daily at 740 public schools. Ninety-six percent of meals are made from scratch, and 70 percent of ingredients are organic. Much of the produce and meat is local or regional, and menus reflect the seasonality of crops grown in the region.
  9. The Good Earth School Lunch Program, Marin County, California: Over 4,000 children in twelve schools throughout Marin County participate in the healthy, organic, and nutritious Good Earth School Lunch Program.
  10. Kitchen Garden Project, United Kingdom: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched the Kitchen Garden Project to teach primary school children in the U.K. how to grow, cook, and consume fresh and local produce. The Kitchen Garden Project believes that introducing children to fresh fruits and vegetables at a young age is crucial to developing life-long healthy eating habits.
  11. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan: In Japan, school lunch is referred to as Shokuiku, which translates to food and nutrition education. The free school lunch program aims to promote mental and physical health and is based on government-established nutritional criteria. The program encourages sustainability by promoting environmentally friendly food production in local communities, encourages table manners, and celebrates the enjoyment of eating.
  12. Shelby County Nutrition Services, Tennessee: Over 110,000 students are served breakfast and lunch daily at Shelby County public schools, where Nutrition Services focuses on providing nutritious, healthy food to improve educational achievements. Nutrition Services are connected with the Farm to School Movement, which aims to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, provide agriculture and nutrition education, improve student nutrition, and support local and regional farms.
  13. Ministry of Education South Korea: Over 800,000 school children in the public school system in Seoul receive hot, healthy lunches at school. The healthy and nutritious meal reflects Korean cuisine. Students are served protein, rice, kimchi (pickled vegetables), and other vegetables on the side.
  14. The Sitka “Fish to Schools” Program, Sitka, Alaska: The Sitka “Fish to Schools” Program aims to enhance students’ understanding of local seafood resources by including locally-caught seafood in the school lunch program. Students also receive education about the local fishing culture.
  15. Urban Sprouts, San Francisco, California: Since 2006, Urban Sprouts has partnered with schools throughout San Francisco to provide garden-based education in which students experience planting, growing, harvesting, and consuming crops directly from the school garden.
  16. Wellness in the Schools, New York, New York: Wellness in the Schools (WITS) encourages healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness as a way of life for public school kids in New York City. WITS forms partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents, and kids, to develop and implement programs that provide nutritious foods, environments, and opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow.

Failing to Make the Grade: How the School Lunch System is Falling Short of Its Purpose

Sam Rourke

1,000 dollars a month reads the income box of my computer screen as I check out another family at the Central Food Pantry. There stands a woman with four children by her side. I glance at her cart, full for now, but wonder how it will realistically last for an entire month given her paltry income. Inside her cart lies limited amounts of meat and produce and countless piles of donuts and processed food. This is the harsh reality that the pantry faces – the individuals at the pantry need as much food as they can get their hands on, but due to limited resources the pantry can often only provide cheap junk food. As I look at her four children, ranging from age 5-12, I am thankful that these children have the National School Lunch Program to rely on. Twice a day during the week, they can rely on their school to provide them a lunch and breakfast for free or an extremely reduced price.

But what are they really eating? A quick check of any school lunch menu around the country quickly reveals meals that aren’t exactly most people’s definition of  “nutritionally-balanced” as the NSLP claims. Staples in my high school and countless others, were chicken nuggets, hamburgers, and mac & cheese. These were normally offered with some form of fried potato and an optional vegetable that many students didn’t take. Fortunately, I was in an economic position where I could choose most days to bring a healthy lunch from home to avoid the junk that the school gave out on a daily basis. However, for many in my town and across this nation school food is their only choice if they want to stave off hunger. Here in Boone County, 31.5 % of children receive free or reduced lunch, meaning they live at or near poverty and have no choice but to accept the food school’s present on a daily basis (“Kids Count Data Center”). The school lunch program is unable to meet the needs of those who rely on it daily for their daily sustenance and contributes to rising childhood obesity rates and poor school performance. In this paper, I advocate for workable solutions parents can take to improve the school lunch program and ensure it becomes an asset in a healthy diet rather than its current status as a hindrance with numerous negative consequences.

Beginnings of a Failure

The National School Lunch Program began in 1946 under Harry S. Truman as an effort to “safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s children” (Gunderson 1). Since its inception the program has been the subject of continuous controversy as it struggles to meet the health needs of an ever-growing number of students. With over 1/3 of the nation’s children overweight or obese according to the Center for Disease Control, concerns over what children are consuming have become ever more prevalent among parents across the United States (“Obesity and Overweight”). Serving over 32 million children a year, the lunch program certainly plays a large role in what our nation’s children consume on a daily basis (“NSLP Fact Sheet”).

Rampant Regulations and Paltry Funding = Anything Becomes Acceptable

Funding is one of the obvious problems with the school lunch program and certainly the most criticized. Healthier foods simply cost more to make and many schools across the country don’t have the resources necessary to improve the quality of their food. The National School Lunch Program cost 10.8 billion to administer last year, a sharp increase from only 3.7 billion just 20 years ago (“NSLP Fact Sheet”). While NSLP receives some reimbursement for each lunch they sell, most of the funding comes through students paying for their meals. However, this amount continues to decrease as more and more students qualify for free and reduced lunch. According to a USDA fact sheet, 81.7 percent of meals in 2011 were given as a free or reduced lunch (“Child and Adult Care Food Program”). The program simply cannot support this percentage of children who pay very little back into the system and have their meals subsidized almost completely in their entirety.

While funding is certainly an issue, it is unrealistic to believe the government will be drastically increasing funding in today’s economic climate. Another significant problem is the unnecessary regulations that bog down the lunch system. A Fox News article from last winter, shows how off-based many of these regulations in the program are. A preschooler had to eat a school-supplied meal of chicken nuggets instead of eating their home-prepared lunch (“School Lunches Deemed Unacceptable”). Apparently their lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips just wasn’t up to the high standards of the USDA. Jamie Oliver was also able to expose some of this illogical regulation through his “Food Revolution” show the past few years (Gunlock 1). The very first meal Oliver made was denied because it didn’t meet government standards. The problem? No bread. His lunch of roast chicken, brown rice, salad and yogurt with fresh fruit wasn’t good enough for the USDA. How was the school meeting the bread requirement for the day? Plain old white pizza crust. A couple episodes later Oliver again prepared a healthy meal consisting of a vegetable pasta dish, baked chicken, and a fruit cup. Again he was told the meal did not meet standards and thus would not be reimbursable. The problem this time? Not enough veggies. The solution? Add french fries (“Children, Parents, and Obesity”). These examples clearly illustrate how the inflexibility of school lunch regulations further exasperates the problem of unhealthy food. Many of these regulations are dictated by the large corporations that supply the industry, leading to such things as pizza sauce and fries inclusion in the vegetable category. In 2011, when the USDA was proposing changes to the program that would have decreased potato consumption and increased the amount of tomato needed to qualify for a vegetable serving, food companies jumped in to block the changes. According to an investigative article published in the New York Times, companies such as Con Agra and Del Monte spent 5.6 million lobbying congressional representatives to vote against the proposed revised standards (Nixon 1).  This unfortunate example shows that many of the regulations within the system are set by large food suppliers desperate to keep their money, who have somehow convinced legislators that there product is the only thing kids will consume.

With these strict regulations and lack of funding to meet them, the USDA has begun to set a strikingly low standard for many of the products they end up doling out to children every day. The hottest topic regarding this lately has been the USDA’s continued acceptance of “pink slime”, despite the fact that McDonald’s and Taco Bell have rejected the concoction. The substance is made by “grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food” (Knowles 1). Microbiologist Carl Custer, a 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service, stated, “My objection with having it (the pink slime) in the schools is that it’s not meat” (Knowles 1). It is a pretty sad state when we are feeding millions of kids something that we aren’t even really sure what to call it. In my own high school, we had a regular main dish called the “panther rib.” After three years of eating it, I’m still not really quite sure what the concoction was made of. I personally avoided it whenever possible, but most other kids reluctantly ate it with no other choice in hand. The few times I did eat it, I actually thought it was pretty good, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t sure what I was eating. Daily lunches, like the one chronicled above, that leave parents unsure of what their children are eating on a daily basis are not acceptable to any healthy society.

Mentally and Physically Unhealthy Children

School lunches are often blamed as a contributing factor in the ever- increasing rates of obesity in children. A recent study by the University of Michigan found that 38% of students who routinely eat school lunch were overweight or obese, as compared to only 24.4% of children who bring their own meals (Bruske). This may have something to do with the fact that 91.2% of the children who brought lunch from home consumed fruits or vegetables on a regular basis as compared to only 16.3% of children eating school food (Bruske 1). According to a 2009 Center for Disease Control study, obesity costs the U.S. 147 billion in health costs every year and that number continues to rise as obesity rates rise among children and all age groups (CDC’s LEAN Works! – A Workplace Obesity Prevention Program).

While weight gain is a serious consequence and the most commonly discussed, children face many other consequences tied to reliance on school lunch as well.  A study in Canada published in the Journal of School Health found that students who eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, protein and fiber, coupled with less fat calories, did better on their literacy tests than those eating foods high in salt and saturated fat. (Asbridge,Florence,Veugelers). Additionally, a website dedicated to improving school foodstates that more than 70 percent of schools struggle to meet the maximum saturated fat requirement set forth by USDA. Add in the fact that a disproportional amount of students who rely on school lunch come from poor families and you can see how the school lunch program contributes to poorer children being fatter and less academically successful. The effects don’t stop there as inadequate nutrition can also severely hamper a child’s cognitive development according to the American Psychological Association (“Changing diet and exercise for kids”). Every parent wants their child to perform well in the classroom, but every day you allow your child to consume school lunch you hamper their ability to be a star student.

Fight for More Funding

Concerned parents and any caring citizen all over this country need to continue to remain vigilant in the fight for improvements to school lunches. Over the past couple of years it seems lawmakers are finally hearing the cries of citizens concerned for the health of our nation’s children. Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act last year as the first major overhaul of the program in 15 years (Wootan 1). Under the new regulations, schools will be required to offer fruits and vegetables every day, increase the amount of whole-grain foods and reduce the sodium and fats in the foods served, according to an MSNBC article (Wood 1). However, they will only be getting a .06 cent increase in funding per meal, presenting many schools with the hard task of meeting healthier standards with a very unsubstantial increase in funding. Improving the standards is an important step, but this solution alone won’t create any substantial change. Increased funding is always welcome but there have been many attempts on the federal level to increase support for nutritious eating and all have largely failed up to this point.

Make your Kitchen Reflect the Change you Want

The next solution as these regulations come into place is to actually get children to eat the foods put on their plates. This is where parents can really make the greatest effort. It is easy to blame the government for failing to feed children healthy foods and that is what many of us do. However, the foods children are exposed to at home play a vital role in their willingness to accept healthier food at school. If a child never consumes vegetables or fruit at home why should they be expected to magically consume these items at school? One key step parents can take is to take the time out of their hectic schedules to sit down and have a family meal together. Family meals increase the likelihood that children will eat fruits, vegetables, and grains and decreases the likelihood of them snacking on unhealthy foods, according to the website Kidshealth (“Healthy Eating”). Another important step for parents is making sure to feed their children a healthy breakfast. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination (“The Many Benefits of Breakfast”). By providing a healthy breakfast and sitting down for a healthy dinner in the evening, parents can play an important step in ensuring their children are receiving the proper nutrition that may be missing from their child’s school lunch. And feeding your child at home isn’t the expensive venture many make it out to be. A recent New York Times article entitled “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?”, pointed out that a meal for four at McDonalds costs around $28 dollars while a meal of chicken, vegetables, salad, and milk can be made for only $14 dollars. With proper planning and budgeting parents can make serving healthy food at home a reality without emptying their wallets.

Get Involved at School as Well

It doesn’t just have to be at home that parents and concerned citizens can get involved in ensuring the quality of your children’s food. In a journal article entitled, “A Revolution in School Lunches” Douglas McGray takes a look at some of the positive reforms in regards to school lunches across America. McGray profiles a company called Revolution Foods, a fast-growing for-profit company that caters healthy breakfasts and lunches to mostly lower-income schools, as an example of positive reform in cafeterias across America. The company’s executive chef, Amy Klein, acknowledges the challenges of getting children to eat healthy food, but through careful techniques she has been able to feed approximately 30,000 kids (McGray 50). Another prime example of adults taking action has occurred in Appleton, Wisconsin over about the last decade, as profiled in a report prepared for Sen. Russ Feingold by Natural Ovens, the initiative’s founding company. In 1997, Natural Ovens, from nearby Manitowoc, began the program to bring healthy foods into local schools. Since that time Appleton’s program has experienced a remarkable turnaround in student behavior with Principal LuAnn Coenen reporting a dramatic decrease in dropouts, expulsions, drug use, and possession of weapons among students. Though the program has cost the school district some extra money to provide healthier food Coenen said repeatedly in the article that it has been well worth it because of decreases in violence, vandalism, and litter, which has reduced costs in other areas (“A Different Kind of School Lunch”). These examples highlight how when parents and concerned adults do take action real change does occur. Parents need to make it a prerogative to be creative and come up with solutions to improve the food situation at their child’s school. Maybe it’s a garden outside, a weekly farmer’s market field trip, or a complete overhaul of the lunch program like these two districts did. Whatever it is, make a promise to not be content with the status quo and be willing to step up and be the initiator of the change you want to see in your child’s school.

Parting Words of Wisdom

As the waistlines of America’s children continue to expand, numerous factors play a role. Undoubtedly one of the factors responsible are the nutrient deficient and often unhealthy meals provided everyday by the National School Lunch Program to over 32 million children. Children who eat these meals are more likely to be overweight and suffer many other consequences as well, including decreased school performance and cognitive development. As a parent, each one of you wants the best for your child. It is time for you to start realizing that what you feed your child has a direct correlation to many important factors. An easy step is to take matters in to your own hands and make your child a healthy lunch everyday. However, if that doesn’t sound reasonable parents can at least take control of what they feed their child at home. You need to take action by ensuring you feed your child a healthy breakfast to start the day. Then when evening comes and the urge to stop by McDonald’s for dinner arises, you have to be able to resist and instead choose to prepare a healthy meal at home. These children that are exposed to healthy options at home will be more likely to choose more nutritious options when in line for school lunch. These children will then be prepared to perform well in school, on the athletic field, and maintain a healthy body weight through their childhood and into the future. In other words, any parents wish for their child.


Reference List

“A Different Kind of School Lunch.” Natural Oven’s Report on Wisconsin School Project. Summer 2010. Web Report. 25 April 2012.

Asbridge, Mark; Florence, Michelle; Veugelers, Paul. “Diet Quality and Academic Performance”. Journal of School Health. 78.4 (2008): 209-215. Academic Search Complete. April 17, 2012.

Bittman, Mark. “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?”. The New York Times. 24 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 April 2012.

Bruske, Ed. “New study says school food makes kid fatter”. Grist. 15 March 2010. Web. March 2012.

“CDC’s Lean Works! – A Workplace Obesity Prevention Program”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nov. 16 2011. Web. April 2012.

“Changing Diet and Exercise for Kids.” American Psychological Association. Web. April 2012.

“Child and Adult Care Food Program.” USDA. April 2012. Web. April 2012.

Gunderson, Gordon. “The National School Lunch Program”. USDA. Web-PDF. 9 March 2012.

Gunlock, Julie. “Children, Parents, and Obesity.” National Affairs. Winter 2011. Web. April 2012.

“Healthy Eating.” Kids Health. Feb. 2012. Web. April 2012.

“Kids Count Data Center.” The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 2008. Web. April 2012.

Knowles, David. “Partners in Slime.” The Daily. Winter 2012. Web. 25 March 2012.

McGray, Douglas. “A Revolution in School Lunches.” Revolution Food Inc. 175.16 (2010): 50-53. Academic Search Complete. Web. March 2012.

Nixon, Ron. “Congress Blocks New Rules on School Lunches”. 15 Nov. 2011. Web. April 2012.

“NSLP Fact Sheet.” USDA. October 2011. Web. March 2012.

“Obesity and Overweight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 21 2010. Web. April 2012.

“School lunch deemed unacceptable.” Fox News. Fox News Channel, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 March 2012.

Suddath, Claire. “School Lunches”. Time Magazine. Oct. 2009. Web. 13 March 2012.

Wood, Sylvia. “Students to see healthier school lunches under new USDA rules”. 25 Jan. 2012. Web. March 2012.

Wootan, Margo. “A Landmark Step As The Child Nutrition Bill Is Signed In To Law”. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. 22 Dec. 2010. Web. 25 March 2012.

Zelman, Kathleen. “The Many Benefits of Breakfast” Healthy Eating and Diet. Web MD, Summer 2007. Web. 26 April 2012.

Cambria-Friesland School District The Heart and Future of the Community – Wordware School Lunch Software


The High School Awards Banquet is being held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the Farmers & Merchants Union Bank Auditorium.  A light dinner will be served.  All family and community members are invited and encouraged to attend.

Scholarships and high school awards, including forensics, high honor roll, perfect attendance, and play participation will be presented after the light dinner.

Please join us in honoring our students.

End-of-Year Reminders

Are lunch balances up-to-date?  Outstanding class debts?

Is all sports equipment turned in?

Does your child have any library books that need to be returned?

Is your child missing clothing, shoes, boots, etc.?  Check the lost and found area near the offices.


The school’s student software program, PowerSchool, upgraded the Parent Portal over Thanksgiving break. To access your child(ren)’s grades, attendance, etc., you will need to sign in with your current school issued ID and password at Then select the “create an account” tab, from there you will need to select “create an account” again on the bottom right.  You will be asked to create a new user name and password. Then you will enter your child(ren)’s name and YOUR OLD user name and password for each student. This will now allow you to have one user name and password for all of your children.

Once you sign in the first time with your new user name and password, on the left side you will need to go to email notifications and there will be a box that you will need to check to receive weekly emails.

Please feel free to contact Pam Hendrickson at 920-348-5135, ext.158 if you do not know your ID and password, have any questions, or if you are not successful in updating your account.

NEW District YouTube Channel
See Link at bottom left

Brook Valley School – New on – line payment option for families will be available beginning

Brook Valley School is pleased to introduce a new program :e-Funds For Schools. This program offers various options for parents/guardians who choose to make payments on-line and is extremely user friendly. You will
have the ability have lunch payments electronically withdrawn from your checking account or charged to your credit card, you also have the flexibility to make a payment at any time through the school’s website. The e-Funds For Schools service is offered to you by a third party service
provider and they charge for processing your payment(s), similar to other on-line banking services. The district does not request or keep records of family checking or credit card account information. The e-Funds For Schools electronic payment service is provided to the school by a third party service provider. The service provider has a nominal fee for their service.
There is a $1.00 transaction convenience fee for each electronic checking
payment that you make. The system carries a Non -Sufficient Funds (NSF) charge if the payment is “bad”. For payments made by credit
or debit card, there is a convenience fee of $2.45 per each $100 increment in the transaction. When you set up your account, please review your options carefully.You are in full control of your account and can make a payment at any time that is convenient for you. No payments will be allowed without your knowledge and authorization through this secure payment system.
By providing your home and/or work email address, an email notification informing you of the student’s name, purpose of the payment, and the amount of the item will be sent to you each time that a payment is to be processed. The e-Funds For School site is secure and uses industry standard data encryption. The link below will take you to the
ESU #3 log in page: How does e-Funds for Schools work? Families set up and maintain their own logins, passwords, and payment preferences. Your account information is retained in a password-protected file.oe- Funds For Schools
will help to eliminate last minute check writing hassles, improve
efficiencies, and help cut costs for both you and the school district
On-line payments will help eliminate the worry that your children could lose or forget the money intended for school items or that it might be spent on other non-school related items.
Payments from a credit card or checking account may easily be set up. Parents/guardians may establish a reoccurring payment or may opt to make a one-timepayment.
The program offers various types of payment to families that include but are not limited to instructional materials, field trip fees, yearbook fees, graduation fees, and of course food service payments. The system may be expanded to include other fees as well.
Your payment history for the year is available with a click of the mouse

Brookings Schools Child Nutrition – Wordware School Lunch Software

Our goal at the Brookings School District is to provide high quality, nutritious meals to students in our district.  Breakfast and lunch are offered at all of our schools.

 Child Nutrition Director
Laura Duba – 696-4713
     Dakota Prairie
Becky Hanson –
Marge Benoit – 696-4178
Child Nutrition Assistant
Penny Eliason- 696-4722
Dawn McCarthy – 696-4508
Nicole Covrig – 696-4370
Becky Hanson – 696-4445
Dawn Waldner – 696-4610

WordWare Letter to Parents

Special Diet Prescription for Meals form must be submitted to the School Nutrition Office at the School Administration Offices to ensure implementation of special meal substitutions for your child when eating school lunch. Food substitutions will be made for students with food allergies only.

Special Diet Prescription for Meals form is used for students with a disability and a major life activity that must be affected by this disability.  This form must be completely filled out and signed by a physician.

The form for Special Diet Prescription for Meals will be kept on file while the student is enrolled in the Brookings School District. If your child’s food allergies should change, a new Special Diet Prescription for Meals must be submitted to the School Nutrition Office.

Special Diet Prescription for Meals form is available at the School Administration Office, 2130 8th Street South, or at all school websites under Food Service.  Contact the School Nutrition Office at 696-4713 if you have questions.

We self-serve fruits and vegetables in all schools.  If you feel that your child’s food allergy might be triggered by possible cross-contamination, we will make sure that their tray is dished seperately.  Please contact the School Nutrition Office 605-696-4713 to let us know.


Brook Valley School – Lunch Program Question Answers

How do I enroll my student at Brook Valley School?

You will need to contact your local school district. Students are referred and placed at Brook Valley School by their local school district.


What school district is Brook Valley in?

We are not in any local school district.
We are part of the special education services offered by ESU #3 to the school districts in Washington, Cass, Douglas and Sarpy counties.


What services does Brook Valley School provide?

We offer the following direct educational services- individualized education plan with a strong behavior management component, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, counseling services, behavioral consultation, nursing services, assistive technology services, vision services and autism consultation services.


Where is Brook Valley located?

We are located at 6960 South 110th Street in La Vista.


How do we know if the school is closing for bad weather?

If Millard Public Schools have cancelled classes, Brook Valley will be closed. Brook Valley will NOT be listed separately.


What are the student hours?

Our students’ school day is from 9am to 2pm.


Who takes care of the transportation?

All transportation arrangements are handled by your local school district.


Whose school calendar do you follow?

Brook Valley’s calendar is unique due to the training of staff. However, it closely follows the Millard Public School district calendar.


What kind of lunches do you have?

Hot lunches are contracted through Millard Public Schools.


Do you have free/reduced lunches?

To participate in the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program, you must complete a Free or Reduced Meal Application at your home/resident school district office each year. All free/reduced forms must be filled out every year and returned to Brook Valley by the first of September to prevent your previous year’s benefits from expiring. You will be notified of your status. Any checks sent for lunch money must be made out to ESU #3.


Bridgeport Public Schools – Elementary School Lunch Menu

Elementary School Menu**

May Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

April Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

March Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

February Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

January Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

December Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

November Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

October Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

August / September Breakfast & Lunch Menu    (Nutritionals)

Breakfast Menu Items  (Elementary & High School Nutritionals)

* Although the menus are the same for each Elementary school, some schools are peanut free and do not serve peanut products.

Peanut Free Schools

High School Menu**

May High School Menu

March High School Menu

February High School Menu

January High School Menu

December High School Menu

November High School Menu

October High School Menu

August / September High School Menu

** Menu Subject To Change

School District Dumps Federal Lunch Program Because It Wants To Keep Its Pizza

  • Joseph Erbentraut Senior Reporter, The Huffington Post


    The board of a suburban Chicago school district voted unanimously on Thursday to drop out of the National School Lunch Program because it claims being forced to stop serving popular but unhealthy lunch options like pizza and fries will cause the district to lose revenue.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that the Township High School District 214 school district in Arlington Heights, Illinois, will forgo $900,000 in federal funding that subsidizes the school’s free and reduced-price lunch program in order to continue to offer foods that would not be allowed under the federal Smart Snacks in School policy starting July 1.

    The USDA’s junk food-limiting Smart Snacks in Schools standards require that any food sold in schools, including in vending machines, either be a “whole grain-rich” grain product, be mainly comprised of fruit or vegetable, or list a protein food or dairy product as its first ingredient. Snacks may have no more than 200 calories and entrees may have no more than 350 calories, and fat, sodium and sugar limits have also been set. The policy is endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

    The Arlington Heights district doesn’t believe healthier options that adhere to the new standards will be able to compete with cafeteria classics like pizza and the fast food available just off campus near school grounds.

    “What we saw based on those menus is that students simply will not choose the food,” Cathy Johnson, the district’s associate superintendent, said of the decision, according to ABC Chicago.

    The district said it will come up with their own healthy lunch menu options by working with their own nutritionist, the Tribune reports. The district will also still continue to offer free and reduced-priced meals to students who qualify, though it hasn’t yet revealed exactly how it plans to do that with the loss of federal funding.

    The Chicago-area district is not the first to abandon the federal lunch program. The board of the Waterford School District in southeastern Wisconsin also voted this year to drop the program citing concerns over losing revenue and a belief that “the federal government’s having too much influence or control in that area of school programming,” the Racine Journal Times reported.

From preschool to high school, programs aim to close Minnesota’s STEM achievement gap

Hands-on educational experiences are exposing low-income students in Minnesota to the concepts and opportunities found in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Jacob Wascalus | Community Development Project Manager

Published January 30, 2015   |  January 2015 issue

To better prepare low-income students for the future, some educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies in Minnesota are implementing programs that are intended to kindle a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning, from preschool onward. (Illustration by Ann Macarayan)As the industries fueling the global economy grow more technical and complex, the educational foundation of the U.S. workforce—particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)— plays an ever more central role in our nation’s competitive position and the employability of U.S. workers themselves.

In Minnesota, the educational pipeline supplying part of this workforce has sprung a leak: Many low-income children, who account for 38 percent of the state’s K-12 public school population, are underachieving in STEM.[1] In fact, compared to other states that lie entirely within the Ninth Federal Reserve District, Minnesota holds the dubious distinction of having the largest discrepancy between low-income students and their higher-income peers in several measures of STEM-related academic performance.[2]

To better prepare these students for the future, some educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies in Minnesota are implementing programs that are intended to kindle a passion for STEM learning, from preschool onward, and help close the state’s STEM achievement gap.

Measuring the gap

Gaps in academic achievement in math and science between the state’s low-income students and their higher-income peers emerge early and persist through high school, according to Minnesota Compass, a social-indicator project of St. Paul-based Wilder Research. Over the 2012–2014 period, 41 percent of low-income students achieved the fifth grade science standards established by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), compared to 75 percent of their higher-income peers. A similar gap appears in eighth grade math performance over roughly the same period (2011–2014): 39 percent of low-income students met the state standards, compared to 71 percent of higher-income students. And in another measure, 24 percent of low-income high school students in 2012 tested as “able” in STEM subjects, compared to 45 percent of higher-income students.[3], [4] Despite this gap in academic achievement, low-income elementary and high school students reported a greater interest in science or STEM in general than their higher-income peers.

“We have this paradox of low-income kids having an interest in STEM subjects, but we’re just not able to turn that interest into achievement,” says Allison Liuzzi, a research scientist at Wilder Research.

The achievement gap could leave low-income students unprepared to enter the workforce, especially in STEM careers. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minnesota had approximately 340,000 STEM jobs in in 2012, or roughly 12 percent of all jobs in the state. DEED projects that by 2022, employers will need enough STEM workers to fill approximately 108,000 replacement and new jobs.[5] While that figure equates to only about one-ninth of the approximately 900,000 total replacement and new jobs it projects for Minnesota by 2022, DEED expects employers will still require workers who display problem-solving abilities and other qualities associated with STEM work, even if the jobs they fill don’t fit the STEM definition that DEED used in its analysis.[6]

“There’s a concern that we’re not actually generating the number of people we need who are qualified in STEM, or even preparing those who have an interest in STEM to be able to pursue STEM careers,” says Liuzzi.

Levels and roles

Each level of Minnesota’s K-12 educational infrastructure—the MDE, the school districts, and the teachers—influences STEM instruction in distinct but connected ways. The MDE, which sets academic standards and credit requirements for all students enrolled in public K-12 schools in Minnesota, is enhancing STEM instruction by including more technical subject matter in the academic standards it sets for each grade, such as the requirement that students use geospatial technologies in social studies. That could mean, for instance, that an eleventh grader studying U.S. history would have to use mapping software such as ArcGIS or Google Earth to generate complementary analysis for a report.

“We’ve done this with all five major subjects—math, science, English language arts, social studies, and the arts,” says Doug Paulson, STEM integration specialist for the MDE.

Schools then take the academic standards set by MDE and create curricula in order to convey the lessons, skills, and knowledge necessary for students to progress from one grade to the next. The teachers, who instruct students in these courses, then design classes to best convey the subject matter.

“The curriculum is the roadmap for getting students from what they are thinking now to what we want them to master by the end of that grade level,” says Paulson, adding that there has been a recent shift in instruction toward integrating seemingly discrete subjects so students can begin to make connections between disciplines. “Schools and teachers can enhance STEM learning as they create this roadmap and develop lesson plans.”

STEM at three stages

As of 2011, nearly 100 nonprofit organizations, for-profit corporations, university departments, and school districts offered or underwrote programs to enhance STEM instruction in Minnesota, from preschool through high school.[7] While most of these programs are available to the general student population, some are directed toward students from low-income families. Described below are three STEM programs that reach or cater to low-income students at three different age levels: pre-kindergarten, elementary school, and high school.

Starting STEM education early in life

Starting in 2012, Minneapolis Public Schools, through its Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) programming, began offering a course designed to help three- to five-year-olds exercise their problem-solving skills through exploration, discovery, and play. Called “Preschool STEM,” the 19-week course explores each of the STEM subjects through age-appropriate activities, such as investigating different shapes and patterns to sharpen skills of prediction; using Legos, blocks, and ramps to build, evaluate, and improve models; and experimenting with tools like scissors, crayons, and tape.

But what makes this course unique is its inclusion of parents in the classroom. For the first hour of each weekly, two-hour class, parents engage in the STEM activities alongside their children. The aim of the parental involvement is to enrich the kids’ experience while helping parents develop ideas of STEM-oriented activities to follow at home. During the second hour of class, the kids continue to play and learn, under the supervision of a licensed early childhood teacher, while the parents split off to participate in a facilitated child-development discussion with a licensed parent educator.[8]

“Little children are born problem solvers,” says Maureen J. Seiwert, executive director of early childhood education for Minneapolis Public Schools. “They’re always investigating and trying to figure out how something works. This class gives us the opportunity, in a more formal way, to really help develop these cognitive skills and to answer some of the questions parents may have about helping their kids at home.”

All ECFE courses, including the Preschool STEM course, are available on a sliding fee scale to residents of Minneapolis, and no families are turned away because of an inability to pay. Approximately 80 children were enrolled in the course in its debut year, when it was offered at three sites. Last year and this year, ECFE has offered the course at two sites and the enrollment has stood at 50–60 children. Across all ECFE courses, a majority of children—54 percent—were from low-income families.

Exploring STEM through “real world” engineering

STARBASE Minnesota, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, promotes STEM skills by presenting a challenge to elementary school students: engineer a human mission to Mars. Working in small teams at STARBASE Minnesota’s technology-rich facility, fourth and fifth graders participate in a five-day, progressive curriculum that guides them through a range of STEM-based lessons. The students apply science and engineering concepts, integrated with math, as they use technology such as robotics, vacuum pumps, wind tunnels, engineering-design software, and 3-D printers. Licensed STARBASE instructors, who specialize in STEM, guide students through the problem solving needed to get their rockets through the Mars atmosphere, land their rovers safely, design and power their Mars colonies, and test their prototypes, all while linking the students’ work to a wide range of STEM careers. Scientists and engineers from 17 local STEM-oriented corporations that partner with STARBASE also participate by giving interactive demonstrations of how STEM is used in their industries.

STARBASE’s aim is for students to complete the program with a feeling of success in STEM, a strong understanding of what it’s like to be a scientist or engineer, and the motivation to pursue more STEM learning.

“We want to inspire kids in STEM by providing them with engaging and immersive experiences that would be difficult to replicate in the classroom,” says Kim Van Wie, executive director of STARBASE Minnesota.

Approximately 3,500 students from six school districts across the Minneapolis-St. Paul region attend STARBASE Minnesota each year; since its founding in 1993, the organization has served more than 49,000 students. And although the program is open to all, the organization’s target demographic is students from underserved backgrounds. Last year, 63 percent of students who attended STARBASE Minnesota were from low-income families. Historically, the average is 79 percent.

“Many students come to us with a limited view of the possibilities in STEM, especially engineering,” Van Wie says, noting that the STARBASE Minnesota program is free to schools. “Our goal is to help students see how successful they can be in STEM by conducting the exciting work of real scientists and engineers. We hope to inspire students to pursue more STEM throughout their middle school, high school, and post-secondary years and to realize the vast opportunities in STEM that await them in the future.”

On-the-job STEM learning

What’s the best way to jumpstart a young adult’s career in the information technology (IT) field? To Genesys Works, a national nonprofit organization that operates an office out of St. Paul, the answer is clear: with a job.

Genesys Works trains minority and low-income twelfth graders in the basics of IT and then places them at local businesses to complete a paid, year-long internship in a role that requires problem solving and interpersonal communication, such as PC deployment, desktop support, or help desk operations. The program provides students with an employment record; exposes them to soft skills necessary to successfully work in a professional environment; and, critically, teaches them essentials of the technical know-how that a career in IT requires—skills like the fundamentals of hardware, software, networks, and information security.

“We’ve found that the experience of succeeding in a professional work environment really helps our students feel that there is a future for them in this type of work,” says Jeff Tollefson, executive director of the Twin Cities office of Genesys Works. “They begin to connect the dots to see that in order to get one of those jobs full-time, they need to take the appropriate steps after high school.”

According to Tollefson, 95 percent of their interns attend some form of post-secondary school. Over the course of their senior year, they all convene biweekly to discuss their post-high school plans with Genesys Works’ counselors. During these meetings, the counselors talk to students about how to choose the right college and also provide help in filling out financing and scholarship applications.

Since its Twin Cities operation opened in 2008, Genesys Works has grown from placing an initial class of 11 student interns to placing 220 in 2014; historically, 90 percent of these students come from low-income families. Each intern works about 20 hours per week and earns $9,000–$10,000 for the year. The roster of businesses that employ interns from Genesys Works—47 to date—includes companies such as Target, 3M, and UnitedHealth Group.

“When we find students who have motivation and we connect them with meaningful opportunities, we see that magic can happen,” says Tollefson. “A lot of the people in the STEM pipeline might come from families whose parents are already working in a STEM field. But not our students. This job is a pretty life-changing opportunity for them.”

Not just a matter of equity

According to Wilder Research’s Liuzzi, the inquisitiveness that lends itself to a STEM career must be nurtured throughout the educational experience, for all students. Doing so is not just a matter of equity but is imperative for the future competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

“We know that there is a lot of opportunity in STEM, particularly as we look at occupational projections over the next decade or so,” she says. “We’re going to have a lot of positions to fill, and if we don’t close those gaps in achievement now, we’re not preparing ourselves to fill the jobs that we know we’re going to have down the road.”

STE(A)M for all

In many school districts, STEM-intensive programs are only available through optional enrichment classes or specialized magnet schools. But in one Minnesota district, STEM-intensive instruction is now a stage in every student’s K-12 career. In 2013, Austin Public Schools in Austin, Minn., opened I.J. Holton Intermediate School, a STEAM school (the “A” stands for “arts”) for all of the fifth and sixth graders in the system. In addition to teaching the core academic standards established by the Minnesota Department of Education, instructors at Holton follow a STEAM-heavy curriculum that challenges students to approach their schoolwork as an engineer would: with creativity, persistence, collaboration, systems thinking, communication, and ethical considerations.

“These are all habits of mind inherent in engineers,” says John Alberts, executive director of educational services for Austin Public Schools, “and they are very much STEM ways of thinking.”

Nearly 60 percent of the students who attend Austin Public Schools are from low-income families. For the stakeholders who championed the construction of Holton, access for all students was a top priority.

“Because of the demographic makeup of our student body, we felt it was important for all students to be exposed to this curriculum,” says Alberts. “We didn’t want it to be a school of choice or a choice program within the school itself. Ultimately, every fifth and sixth grade student who goes to public school in Austin will be exposed to the STEAM curriculum.”

A one-stop shop for STEM online

Parents, students, teachers, and businesses can learn more about Minnesota-based STEM educational resources by visiting, a newly launched web site created by the Minnesota Department of Education, Boston Scientific, and the Minnesota High Tech Association. The online information portal aims to be a one-stop shop for all things STEM education, providing content such as profiles of STEM enrichment programs and information on connecting teachers who have STEM resource requirements with businesses that can meet those needs.

[1] Throughout this article and its sidebars, students are considered low-income if they are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the eligibility threshold for free school lunch for the 2014–2015 school year for a family of four is a household income of $23,850 or less; for reduced-price lunch, the income threshold is $44,123.

[2] The National Center for Educational Statistics provides state-level data on students’ performance in the National Assessment of Educational Progress. See more at

[3] “Able” students were those who met science and math benchmarks, as established by ACT, Inc., the organization that develops the ACT college readiness assessment. ACT, Inc., considers students to be lower-income if they have a self-reported family income of less than $50,000, a threshold that captures all of the students eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch but possibly includes some students who are not eligible.

[4] For more information about the academic achievement gap in STEM, visit

[5] DEED uses the Workforce Information Council’s definition of STEM jobs, which categorizes them as “Core” occupations or “Health Care” occupations. For more on this, visit

[6] DEED employment outlook projections can be viewed at

[7] To learn more about the programs available in Minnesota, visit and click on “STEM Inventory of Local Programs.”

[8] For more information about ECFE and its STEM course, visit

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

SFSP 2016 v2During the school year, over 312,000 Minnesota children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, when the school year ends for the summer, these children may not have access to the nutritious meals they need.

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 and under to fill this gap.

Looking for a free meal near you?

SFSP Find a Summer Meal Site
Finding Free Summer Meals for Kids Is EasyUse the Summer Meal Map to find a free meal site near you, or call or text 612.516.3663 for locations!


Para información sobre las comidas de verano para niños, visite el sitio de internet, llame al 612.516.3663, o envíe un mensaje de texto con la dirección de su hohar al 612.516.3663.


Wixii akhbaar la xiriirta cuduntada lacag la’aanta ah ee caruurta loogu talagalay ee dugsiyada xiliga xagaaga waxaad ka eegtaa, ama soo wac 612.516.3663, ama cinwaanka aad ku nooshahay fariin ahaan ugu soo dir lambarkaan 612.516.3663.


Yog xav paub txog kev noj mov dawb thaum lub caij ntuj so rau cov me nyuam, mus saib rau ntawm, hu 612.516.3663, los sis sau koj qhov chaw nyob hauv xov tooj xa mus rau 612.516.3663.

Interested in starting or expanding an SFSP?

Catch a MealBecoming a sponsor of the Summer Food Service Program allows you to make a difference in your community and provide free meals to kids.



SFSP sponsor grants

Thanks to our partners and supporters, Second Harvest Heartland is thrilled to be able to offer grant funding to new and experienced SFSP sponsors. Although Second Harvest Heartland’s 2016 grant application is now closed, please check back in spring 2017 for summer 2017 funding opportunities. With questions on the grant application or process, contact Child Hunger staff at 651.403.6060.

Best Practices & Tips for Sponsors

In an effort to support sponsors, Second Harvest Heartland has compiled a list of resources to facilitate a SFSP sponsorship. Click here to find creative ways in which previous sponsors have used grant funding, as well as links to futher information on best practices

Outreach materials

Second Harvest Heartland has outreach materials available for distribution in order to increase the participation at meal sites in your community. Outreach materials do not have year specific information and can be distributed multiple summers. To request or see outreach materials available, click on the link below.

Outreach poster

Second Harvest Heartland has an 11″x17″ poster available for download. (Note: Download the pdf file to the computer and print poster from file source in order to print in the correct size and dimensions.)

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; Fax: (202) 690-7442; or Email:

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