Original Date: 08/08/1994
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : School Nutrition Services
Several practices used by the Stafford County Schools Nutrition Services have helped the school system to efficiently enhance its services, accountability, and public image. These practices include using a special software program to track student accounts and food inventory, unique applications of its catering program, instituting a breakfast program for students, and using Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software to assist the director and cafeteria manager with staffing levels.
A software program called the School Nutrition Accountability Program helps Stafford County track student accounts and food inventory. Each student is issued a card with an account number that is electronically read at a terminal in the lunch line. The terminals are connected to a computer in the central manager's office that transmits daily information to the School Nutrition central office computer. A student's purchases are recorded, and the account balance is adjusted. If the account balance is low or insufficient for purchases, the student receives a notification to pay on the account.
The use of the student cards provides several benefits including data collection. The quantity of food items purchased helps the cafeteria manager plan for future meals as well as track inventory. As the federal government mandates nutrient requirements for the student meals, the computer tracking can accommodate individual components such as fat and carbohydrate content to be recorded and verified as needed. With this program, students are not required to carry cash for food purchases; those students on the free or reduced lunch program can maintain anonymity; and parents can request a printout on student purchases at any time.
A second program instituted by Stafford County Schools Nutrition Services is its catering program. The Nutrition Services frequently caters large school functions such as building dedications and proms, and personnel are selected from across the school system to assist in their individually skilled areas. This practice distributes the burden, as well as utilizes workers with special talents such as cake decorating. In addition, catering these activities with school personnel has enhanced the public image of the school nutrition services.
Stafford County Public Schools have also initiated a breakfast program for students who normally do not have an opportunity to eat a breakfast. Students who qualify for this program because of family income now receive a nutritious meal before beginning classes. This effort by the School Nutrition Services has resulted in a reportedly increased student productivity level.
The School Nutrition Services uses Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software to assist the director and cafeteria manager with staffing levels. Previously, items purchased a-la-carte were not reflected in meals purchased -- a critical component for determining staffing requirements. However, using a spreadsheet allowed these figures to be credited with equivalent meals. By entering the cash income, staffing requirements are determined assuming a given number of meals per hour are to be served.
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