Chicago public schools update

When I revealed myself on October 5th, the day my book was published, I received a friendly email from nutrition services of Chicago public schools, reaching out to me and suggesting a meeting. I replied immediately that I would love to meet and chat about school lunch in the district.

We finally coordinated all our schedules to meet this week at “Central Office,” the ominous-sounding name most teachers call downtown HQ. The meeting went very well. Much of the time I spent listening to the initiatives that Chicago public schools (CPS) is already working on that I had no idea about and learning about the steps the district is taking towards wellness. In the future I hope to share more about what CPS is doing already –and where they are headed.

One of the many challenges working for a large district is that there is a huge void between central office and the schools. Additionally, there are big differences between schools themselves, even when they are just blocks apart. I wish best practices could find their way into the collective consciousness! At least we made headway during our meeting as many ideas and lots of information was shared in just an hour. All of us agreed that meeting regularly would be beneficial. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 Responses to Chicago public schools update

  1. Stepshep December 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Awesomesauce.

  2. Andrew @ Eating Rules December 9, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Nice! Who else was in the meeting?

    Also, looks like we need to start yet another blog… http://www.schoolfoodbestpractices.com. 😉

  3. DC December 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    According to this article, we should also be taking into account how the foods are prepared, not just what foods are used:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2011/12/08/why-calorie-counts-are-wrong-cooked-food-provides-a-lot-more-energy/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+discovercrux+%28The+Crux%29

    Cooking food actually changes its nutritional content in a way that most food providers do not consider. This should also start to be considered when we provide meals for growing children.

  4. @ClassroomSooth December 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    “One of the many challenges working for a large district is that there is a huge void between central office and the schools. Additionally, there are big differences between schools themselves, even when they are just blocks apart.”

    You hit the nail on the head, and in a city as segregated as Chicago, this leads to racial and socio-economic disparities and inequalities in education. That “huge void” you speak of is clearly demarcated by having a school board appointed by a mayor, managed by the Academy of Urban School Leadership (Vitale), and spoken for by the Eli Broad Foundation (Brizard).

    The Board is planning to close “failing schools” in neighborhoods of high property value, and high poverty. The students will be expected to go to charter schools, or other neighborhood schools, leading to their closure or turnaround the following year. AUSL gets no-bid city contracts, and school workers: teachers, principals, FOOD SERVICE, security (people who live in those communities!) all loose their jobs.

    How is this a solution? How is instead, talking about a “longer school day” going to make anything better? I am especially concerned with students health in the longer school day considering students are not allowed to eat at all except in the lunch rooms
    (new state law re: peanut allergies). *stomach growling (among other things)

  5. -MAARIT- December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    So neat the nutrition services invited you to have inside information. As I described in my guest blog from Finland, school foods negative image can become as result of vicious cycle and that image can have long term effect what kids find acceptable to eat in the school canteen.

    Todays American Dietetic Association tip for the day states:

    “School nutrition programs do best when lots of students and staff enjoy their meals. If you have not visited a school meals program in a school in the last 5 years take time and make arrangements to check one out. It is not your mother’s school lunch anymore.

    ………….it is not nutrition for our kids unless they actually eat it. School Nutrition programs and the RDs and others that work in these programs are making terrific strides in the area of nutrition offerings on breakfast and lunch trays each day. Changing children’s eating behaviors will take time — we did not get where we are today over night, and it will take time for dietary (and physical activity) behavioral change to really occur.”
    http://www.eatright.org/Media/Blog.aspx?id=4294970819&blogid=269

Site Meter