Pleasant Valley Public Schools

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Food Services Program

The Wallingford BOE supports the view that children should learn about food and nutrition and believes that a nutritious school lunch should be part of a comprehensive nutrition education effort in Wallingford.

Food and Beverage Fundraiser Form

Food Service 101 / Brochure for Parents

 

THE WALLINGFORD BOARD OF EDUCATION PARTICIPATES IN THE HEALTHY FOODS CERTIFICATION PROGRAM ( HFC )

Mission

The WPS FSD is committed to providing a variety of appealing nutritious reasonably priced meals. All meals are consistent with the USDA Dietary guidelines for Americans and are made and served in a sanitary environment that is essential for each student's needs. In partnership with families, the community, and our town, our food service strives to provide fuel to learn, assisting students in achieving their maximum potential.

Funding

The School Food Service Department did not receive funding from the district until last year to operate the program. The department relies financially for the most part on revenues from meal sales and à la carte sales. We are helped by the opportunity to buy government commodities at a price below market value. Although we receive 28 cents from the federal government and 4.5cents from the state for every full meal we serve, it is still a tough and challenging job to make ends meet. The revenues must cover expenses for food, paper supplies, labor and fringe benefits (medical, pension plans, etc), capital equipment improvements, equipment repair and kitchen maintenance, and other operating expenses that include items like office supplies, electricity, vehicle upkeep, staff training and development, etc.

Evolution

The Wallingford Food Service Department has been ahead of all the healthy-eating trends for many years. For example, in the early 90’s we revamped our cooking methods to reduce the fat and sodium content in the recipes and even offered tasty vegetarian choices. We purchased fresh fruit from local orchards long before it became a fad. We eliminated whole milk offerings in 1998 because we recognized that low-fat milk delivered the same nutrients but with much less fat. Last year we started a pilot program to offer à la carte organic and soy milk in the cafeterias. Since 1994, employees hired by the department are required to successfully pass a food safety and sanitation course and a nationally recognized test. The health of the students and the safe handling of food products has always been a chief priority of the district. Through our Point of Sale (POS) system in use since 2002, our parents are able to request a record of what their children have been purchasing. In 2007 we added the online component, MealpayPlus, so parents can access their children’s account through the Internet. The POS allows parents to control what their children purchase by putting money in a “meal only” account or the “general” account. This process allows the parent, not the school board, to control their child’s cafeteria purchases.

To ensure that all the employees of the school district know what is expected of them, the district has had a Wellness Policy and an Allergy Plan in place since 2006. Codifying nutrition into these robust guidelines means that the district has an accurate and comprehensive health and nutrition message.

Federal Standards

The Wallingford Food Service Department has been ahead of all the healthy-eating trends for many years. For example, in the early 90’s we revamped our cooking methods to reduce the fat and sodium content in the recipes and even offered tasty vegetarian choices. We purchased fresh fruit from local orchards long before it became a fad. We eliminated whole milk offerings in 1998 because we recognized that low-fat milk delivered the same nutrients but with much less fat. Last year we started a pilot program to offer à la carte organic and soy milk in the cafeterias. Since 1994, employees hired by the department are required to successfully pass a food safety and sanitation course and a nationally recognized test. The health of the students and the safe handling of food products has always been a chief priority of the district. Peanuts were eliminated from all food items we purchase since 1995. Again consideration for student allergies is another important factor in our operation. Through our Point of Sale (POS) system in use since 2002, our parents are able to request a record of what their children have been purchasing. In 2007 we added the online component, MealpayPlus, so parents can access their children’s account through the Internet. The POS allows parents to control what their children purchase by putting money in a “meal only” account or the “general” account. This process allows the parent, not the school board, to control their child’s cafeteria purchases.

To ensure that all the employees of the school district know what is expected of them, the district has had a Wellness Policy and an Allergy Plan in place since 2006. Codifying nutrition into these robust guidelines means that the district has an accurate and comprehensive health and nutrition message.

Nutrition Education

The Food Service Department also engages in classroom and cafeteria nutrition education in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle. One example is the funding of a program to get 4th graders and their parents to be more active. For 3 years, the department distributed a book called “Happy Feet, Healthy Food”. This journal-style book was given to the students to document their physical activities and snacks consumed for a year. It provided the student and the parents with various healthy snack ideas and activities they could do as a family. In addition, the Physical Education and classroom teachers incorporated the book into their curriculum.

In 2007, the department sponsored a 5 month long “Walk Around the World to Get Fit” activity. The purpose was to get students active during the winter months. Students recorded the number of steps they took using pedometers we gave them. The cafeteria served low fat versions of popular food items from countries we “visited” around the globe. At the end of the event we had a big giveaway of sports equipment for students at the school posting the most number of steps.

Two schools in the district participated in the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program from 2006-2008. During that time students at the schools received fresh fruit or vegetable as a snack. In an effort to educate the students, nutritional information was sent out to the schools in conjunction with the fruit or vegetable being served. Every year we promote National School Lunch Week with activities for the students at various schools. This year Stevens school sponsored all the activities. Students in grade 1 and 2 made Food Guide Pyramid hats. Students in grade 3 decorated school lunch trays with healthy meals. Students in grade 4 created a beautiful mural for the school hallway.

Students in grade 5 created posters for the walls of the school. On Wednesday October 14, the students participated in an obstacle course event followed by a healthy fruit snack and water provided by the cafeteria. This was followed by an assembly in the gym with guests from USDA, State Dept of Education, Sheehan High School and Yale University. Mascots from the New Britain Rockcats and the Bridgeport Storm also attended the event.

Throughout the years the department has either participated and/or coordinated many nutritional events in the district. For example, the “Healthy Recipe” contest, “A World of Nutrition” poster contest”, held several hands-on culinary events at the Wallingford library, and participated in the Wallingford Schools Health Fair featuring exhibits on milk, food guide pyramid, and nutritious fish.

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