As you may be aware, the administration at Grant Park School District has been evaluating the current food options offered at both Grant Park Middle School and Grant Park High School for the past four months. Currently, the elementary school offers a “traditional” menu (hot lunch tray) and the middle and high school students are offered an “ala carte” menu which includes a variety of choices, some nutritional and others not. During this time, I had the opportunity to participate in several conversations with our students, staff, parents, and Board of Education regarding future options for our cafeteria and the students we serve. The clear majority of these conversations involved a positive reaction to serving a “hot lunch” at the MS and HS.
Our options are quite simple. We could leave the current menu status the same as in the past or transition to a traditional menu (district wide). Of course, a transition to a traditional (hot lunch tray) menu at the MS and HS would require time, additional planning, and a change from our current system. Of course, if students do not participate, the district could face additional deficit spending in the Cafeteria Fund.
Frankly, I felt very strong that the move to a traditional menu would be in the best interests of our students. During the April meeting, the recommendation was made and the Board of Education unanimously supported the transition to a traditional (hot tray) menu district wide, beginning for the 2012-13 school year. With this in mind, our MS and HS students/parents will have similar options to the elementary, including selection from a developed menu.
The benefits of this transition, in our belief, are enormous. First, our students will be served a traditional hot tray menu that offers better nutrition and more food. Second, our parents will now have the opportunity to have a consistent purchase price (for the tray meal) at a better value. Parents will also know that the non-nutritional menu items will be eliminated, as a ala-carte alternative will consists of healthy selections. Lastly, during these difficult financial times, students whose families qualify for reduced priced or free lunch will also have the opportunity to be served a hot lunch and the school can receive financial assistance.
Your input on this matter has been truly appreciated. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. John Palan