Montpelier Public Schools district is one of just three school systems in Vermont chosen by the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education to receive a grant to implement the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model for learning and health. The WSCC model focuses its attention on the child, emphasizes a school-wide approach, and acknowledges learning, health, and the school as being a part and reflection of the local community.

The team includes members of our community representing all aspects of school health: administrators, health education teachers, students, healthcare professionals, employee wellness, positive behavior support, school counseling, building/maintenance, teachers, parents, physical education teacher and community members. In addition to the District-wide team, each school has its own Coordinated School Health Team as recommended in the VT Education Quality Standards.

In our next edition of the Bulletin we will share our new blog as a clearinghouse for all the health and wellness initiatives happening in MPS. Join in the fun and become a Health and Wellness Champion!

Liliane Savard

Montpelier Health and Wellness Coordinator

Thursday, February 8, 2018

School Nutrition_MPS Food Service Committee

Montpelier Food Service Committee
Here's what the Food Service Committee is charged with, by the Board: 
1. Develop goals for food service that reflect community input and the school health indices. In addition to nutrition goals, attention should be paid to connecting the school food service to the local farm/food economy, and to curriculum integration.
2. Support the Food Service Director in implementing evidence-based best practices, some of which have already been identified by the Wellness Committee, to increase food acceptance. 
3. Develop budget recommendations for the FY19 budget that will help implement the best practices and work to achieve the goals. 
Committee Members and Meeting Dates
S. Burlington






MPS Board





Doe Axelrod

Overview of Findings
One of the critical themes presented over the past few meetings was the fact that the Food Service department operated independently from the Montpelier Public Schools Operating budget, which is approved by Montpelier Residents.  

The Montpelier Food Service department operates an annual $485,000 budget (FY17) that employs 12-part time staff.  These staff are mostly paid minimum wage and not eligible for benefits (healthcare, paid or sick time) which adversely affects employee recruitment and retention.

We discussed the importance of maintaining a strong, well-trained and well-supported workforce that has a low rate of turnover and high moral.  The hypothesis is this would lead to more consistency in the cafeterias and for the Director to focuses her time on menu planning, sourcing local foods and supporting nutrition education at the schools.  

If we focus our energy on building a solid workforce and providing a career path that has a competitive wage with potential benefits, then we can layer in options for building the business plan, increased revenue and creating opportunities for additional locally sourced foods.  
This priority may increase the annual budget associated with Montpelier School District Food Department, and we want to ensure we are simultaneously developing ways to increase revenue associated with the Food Service Department. The Montpelier Food Department already has a catering service and increasing the food production capacity will naturally increase catering potential.  We also see potential for expanding the food department as a driving force in our regional food economy, as the first step in the establishment of a food hub. There is revenue potential associated with offering small local business access to a commercial kitchen and food storage. There is also significant potential to increase curriculum around a food hub, and to expand educational opportunities to the general public.

Other objectives that we discussed are, to create a communications plan to share with our community that highlights the work that has already been done, locally sourced foods, opportunities for continuous, annual feedback from school staff, parents and students, etc.

As we move into Phase 2, we developed an action plan.   

The group decided to focus on these immediate next steps.  

Action Item
Notes/Support Needed
Research and analysis on what other Vermont school districts compensate their staff (full/part time, hourly, benefits)
1.      Determine where to find this information and/or how to collect it.
Heather Torrey
Misse Doe Axelrod
The goal of this exercise is to build a case to the Montpelier School Board and community that a supplemental budget line be considered to cover these additional costs, not currently available through the food service budget.  

To build a sustainable, trained workforce with a career ladder and to reduce turnover rates in food service.  This would lead to more consistent customer service and focus on menu planning and outreach for additional locally sources foods.  
Seek a partner who can provide the committee with pro bono expertise in development of a financial analysis based on the research
1.      Once the research is conducted, we seek a person who can analyze the data and potential future revenue streams (catering, rental, increase sales) to develop a financial report to present to the community and MPS School Board
Do any committee members know someone who can help in this capacity?
Develop a series of surveys to be conducted annually
1.      Survey Audiences
a.       Food Service Staff
b.      Parents
c.       Students
d.      Staff
2.      Annually to seek input on food service operations, food served and opportunities to improve
3.      Connect with Wellness Committee at each school to seek opportunities to distribute surveys to appropriate audiences
1.      Adrienne will reach out the wellness committee at each school.
2.      Vic will provide support in distribution and collection of surveys
3.      Heather will send along any survey templates we can use to build our surveys
4.      We need a group to help develop the surveys. We need a total of 3 (staff, parents, students).  
Send out surveys by March 1, 2018
Communications Plan
1.      Request to present at parents group meeting to provide an update on the committee work
2.      Develop a plan to share results of survey and next steps
3.      Develop plan to share successes, challenges to community regarding food service at MPS.
1.      Adrienne will send an email to the parent’s groups.  
2.      Do any committee members have expertise in development of communication plans?