The number of students eating school meals, including breakfasts and lunches, from the Washoe County School District has risen dramatically in the past three years, and District officials credit a number of reasons for the results.
"Our Nutrition Services Department has had remarkable success the past two years as a result of three factors: 1) amazing employees; 2) outstanding leadership, specifically Director Tony Cook and Assistant Directors Maryann Weller and Geri Casey; and 3) a strong and dynamic partnership with ARAMARK," said Rick Harris, WCSD chief logistics and operations officer. "The District works hard to make sure kids have more access to a wide variety of nutritious foods. These efforts are resulting in healthier students who have a better chance of success in school, simply because we have helped them address some basic needs in their lives."
Between 2010 and 2012, the percentage of students who eat lunches provided by WCSD increased by more than 13 percent, while the number of students who eat District-provided breakfasts has skyrocketed by 53 percent.
Among other highlights: The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program will expand from 14 schools to 34 schools in 2012-2013, funded by a federal grant, and nutrition services staff members are partnering with vending machine companies to assure they are complying with wellness policies and are providing schools with healthy fundraising and celebration alternatives.
Additionally, the District is making significant efforts to improve technology and logistics management. This year, for the first time, parents and students can complete and submit their Free and Reduced Lunch applications online at http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/parents/nutrition-services
The WCSD Nutrition Services Department is also streamlining logistics by automating inventory management and delivery processes, enabling the department to improve food quality and cost controls.