Students are at school for the majority of the day five times a week, working hard to learn and demonstrate the skills needed to ensure their success academically and, ultimately, professionally. There are multiple factors that aid student success as they work throughout the school day; one of the largest is nutrition. Without proper nutrition, students’ brains and bodies cannot work effectively to learn and grow. At Madison Local Schools, we are committed to providing our students with nutritious food options for meals as needed and desired to help ensure they are as successful as possible at school.
The Nutrition Services Department works to provide nutritious food to students while adhering to USDA guidelines. Currently, students are able to buy both breakfast and lunch at the Madison buildings.
“We are always looking to provide new food items on the menu that students can relate to,” says Director Erin Kvach. “We are constantly looking at food trends outside the cafeteria that will draw kids into participating in the school breakfast and lunch programs.”
During COVID, students were provided breakfast and lunch at no charge through the state via the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. Unfortunately, the USDA waivers that governed these regulations expired on June 30, 2022.
“Having to charge students for meals again has been a challenge, but we have been working through it diligently,” adds Ms. Kvach. “This has inspired our main goal for the 2022-23 school year, which is to provide nutritious meals to students and increase participation.”
“Madison’s food service staff work tirelessly to maintain the nutritional quality of students’ food, as well as to generate excitement about nutrition and eating well,” says Angela Smith, Superintendent. “I can’t thank this staff enough for their dedication to our students on a daily basis.”
In addition to ensuring all students are fed nutritious meals that enhance their education, food services staff is also required to be flexible. They are expected to problem-solve each and every day to feed students with and without allergies, prepare for field trips, and adapt to inclement weather, to name a few challenges. It can be a huge challenge to balance all these various needs and changes, but the staff does a great job, mostly because they are so committed to keeping our students healthy.
“We know that we are a vital part of a child learning and having the energy to get through a day,” finishes Ms. Kvach. “There is nothing more empowering than providing food to a hungry child.”
The next time you see one of our incredible food services staff, give them a big thank you!