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Frisco Independent School District Child Nutrition Programs: the Appeal is in the Approach

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

"To know every student by name and need" is the mission of the Frisco Independent School District (FISD) in Frisco, TX. What so many children in the district need is good, nutritious food.

That's where FISD Child Nutrition Programs Director Debera Tredennick steps in. After working in food service for universities, hospitals, and extended-care facilities throughout the U.S., she realized child nutrition was her calling.

"I discovered making a difference in the health of a child makes in a difference in my life and the lives of my staff," says Tredennick. "The job satisfaction is tremendous!" It's precisely because of her passion and the FISD's belief in the whole-child approach that the FISD Child Nutrition Programs are so successful.

The program's appeal is in the approach. For instance, a "Try-Day, Friday" was recently implemented to introduce students to new foods, such as mangos, quinoa, rainbow carrots, and sunrise smoothies. "We have the new item featured on our menu, but we also portion up small servings for all students to sample," Tredennick says. "We also participate in a Texas-themed harvest of the month that features produce grown in Texas (potatoes, apples, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots)."

Amazingly, each District kitchen is self-contained, meaning there is no central kitchen preparing mass quantities of food to ship to the schools it serves. Tredennick notes, "Frisco café employees bake rolls from 'scratch,' cut fresh vegetables, and make marinara sauce and many other menu items that most school districts purchase 'already made.'"

Serving over 50,000 students spread out in eight high schools, 15 middle schools, 38 elementary schools and three special-programs schools, it's this attention to fresh food with basic ingredients that sets the FISD Child Nutrition Programs apart. The support from the FISD administration and school board is another reason the programs excel.

Parents and students can review all FISD school menus online. Menus also show allergens and nutritional data to help make informed food choices. Vegetarian items are always an option. A registered dietician helps plan menus and is available to discuss any dietary questions or needs, which is a helpful resource for those with special diets.

Eating a variety of healthy whole food provides proper nutrition, which in turn sets the stage for academic achievement. In Texas, the Frisco Independent School District Child Nutrition Programs don't just prepare carrots and quinoa- they prepare students for success.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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