THE LEARNING CURVE – 84 Cafeteria Staff Bring A Little Extra Along With Nearly 70,000 Meals

THE LEARNING CURVE is a column sponsored by Doug Ibbetson, Jefferson County School Commissioner, spotlighting those in the educational community who make a significant contribution to the success of Jefferson County School System.

It takes many components and many people performing various necessary tasks to make a good learning environment for children. While most of the teaching goes on in the classroom, there are several other people who contribute greatly to a student’s success. Anyone who has ever encountered a hungry child (or adult for that matter) can attest to the importance of breakfast and lunch. In Jefferson County Schools, those student who do not bring lunch from home are fed by 84 hard working cafeteria workers.

Jamie Johnson, who is the coordinator of student nutrition, is proud of the staff and the commitment they have to the students. Johnson says that in addition to preparing numerous meals every month, the cafeteria staff go above and beyond with extra programs. In October a mind boggling 69,879 meals were prepared by the staff. While it might seem impossible to those who have spent any amount of time in the kitchen, somehow those working in the cafeterias across Jefferson County found a way to bring a little something extra to the table. They have hosted a fruit challenge to encourage students to eat more fruit, participated in national food weeks and cooked a feast for Thanksgiving! Johnson says that the “extra” events really let the cafeteria staff connect with the children.

Student nutrition is federally funded and adheres to the USDA guidelines as they are interpreted by the state. Food is ordered every week and breakfast and lunches are planned on a monthly basis. Not surprising, pizza is most loved meal closely followed by chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches.

Cafeteria staff spend many hours on their feet lifting heavy pots and pans. In many ways the task of feeding hungry children is a behind the scenes job. It is, however, a group of people who would be very missed by students, faculty and staff if the food service lines were empty. Thanks to Johnson and the cafeteria staff for keeping things cooking in Jefferson County schools!