Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pasco’s Outstanding Volunteers for 2009-2010

While all of this year’s 23,000 registered volunteers in Pasco schools are outstanding, three were selected as Most Outstanding for 2009-2010: Youth: Tashyana Plantilla, a senior at River Ridge High School, volunteers at Moon Lake Elementary and River Ridge Middle Schools, is Key Club Treasurer and National Honor Society Vice-President, organizes annual charities, tutors students, and is a community volunteer. Adult: Mari Blank was PTA President for two years at Sand Pine Elementary School, mentored the PTA at Double Branch Elementary School, served on the Pasco Council PTA, started a Reading Buddy program, and serves on the District Vision Committee. Senior: Ronald Bechdolt volunteers at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School (MPLES) where his granddaughter attends. After dropping her off, Ron volunteers every day helping students and teachers. Ron is a valued part of the MPLES family. Congratulations and a sincere THANK YOU to Tashyana, Mari, and Ronald for their dedication to others!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Food Safety is Top Priority

Food and Nutrition Services considers food safety a top priority. All food service employees are asked to complete the 10-hour food safety and sanitiation course during their first year of employment, and the refresher course once every three years. Although it is not a requirement for school food service managers to obtain a national-level food safety manager certification, Pasco County FNS is proud to announce that our school food service managers and many of our assistant managers take the initiative to obtain this honor. We would like to congratulate the food service managers, assistant managers, internship graduates, and current interns who recently took their national ServSafe exam. Now, 100% of our food service managers and most of our assistant managers have their national-level food safety certification. Congratulations to Renae Artlip, Evelyn Babilonia, Thomas Delfel, Brenda Francis, Barbara Grusse, Crystal Hadley, Karen Hatfield, Wendy Howard, Louise Hoyle, Linda Hudson, Robin Ladig, Vonnie Maples, Anthony David Martin, Lisa Morin, Linda Osuba, Suzanne Pawelek, Jan Popp, Kim Sanders, Kim Ungerer, Helen Venezia, Tammy Vincent, Michele Weibley, and Nicole Westmoreland.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Honoring Food and Nutrition Employees

Food and Nutrition Services would like to congratulate our employees that were recognized at the Pasco Education Foundation's Education Celebration on Saturday, January 30th at the Pasco Schools Center for the Arts at River Ridge High School. The event honors teachers, school related personnel, noninstructional nonbargaining employees and administrators of the year from throughout Pasco County. Congratulations to the following Food and Nutrition Services noninstructional nonbargaining employee and school related personnel and of the year: Pamela Zundel, FNS Manager at Wiregrass Ranch High School (NNB of the Year finalist); Janet Camilleri, FNS Assistant at Bayonet Point Middle School; Phyllis Higgins, FNS Assistant at Crews Lake Middle School; Jeannette McKinney, FNS Assistant at Lake Myrtle Elementary School; Vittoria Price, FNS Production Assistant at Dr. John Long Middle School; Georgette Hayner, FNS Assistant at Pasco High School; Edele Graham, FNS Production Assistant at Pasco Middle School; Brenda Ransford, FNS Assistant at San Antonio Elementary School; Connie Key, FNS Assistant at Sand Pine Elementary School; Lisa Thompson, FNS Production Assistant at Schrader Elementary School; Diana Kosik-Caldwell, FNS Production Assistant at Seven Springs Middle School; Elizabeth Hull, FNS Assistant at Shady Hills Elementary School; Lisa Dennison, FNS Production Assistant at Sunlake High School; Leigh Wilcox, FNS Assistant at Veterans Elementary School; and Marilyn Morra, FNS Assistant at Zephyrhills High School. Thank you to each of you for being a great role model. We are proud to have you on our FNS team!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Watergrass Elementary School Recognized With Top Environmental Status

The District School Board of Pasco County is delighted to announce that Watergrass Elementary School has recently earned the prestigious Gold LEED certification. “LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.” This is the most recent in a lengthy list of honors the District School Board of Pasco County has received for its eco-friendly operations. The District has a long-standing commitment to environmental education, energy and water conservation, green cleaning practices and recycling. The District’s sustainable conservation methods and energy efficient operations have yielded significant savings of financial and environmental resources. By meeting the high standards of Gold LEED certification, the District has made yet another long-term investment in energy efficiency that will continue to benefit students and the environment for many years to come. “We are thrilled to be developing healthy, efficient and productive learning environments for our students,” stated Superintendent Heather Fiorentino. “Our efforts extend beyond the design of this specific school, as our entire team is also committed to equipping our future generation with an understanding of how they can protect and preserve our precious natural resources. We look forward to using this same eco-friendly design as we address future facility needs,” she added.

Vending Program and Machines Get a New Look

Vending machines throughout Pasco County Schools are getting a new look! Recently, the Food and Nutrition Services Department received a grant from the Dairy Council of Florida to help launch the District’s new healthy vending program. The Food and Nutrition Services Department purchased 60 new vending machines for secondary schools. The vending machines will be installed the first week of February, and should be available for use the following week. This is just one of the District’s many approaches to provide healthier snacks and a healthier school environment for our students. Thirty of the new vending machines were purchased with assistance from the Dairy Council of Florida. These vending machines are refrigerated and will be easy to identify, sporting the dairy council’s classic “got milk” cow pattern. The other 30 Nutrition Zone vending machines will feature a new matrix-style design, highlighting healthy messages and images. Each middle and high school will be receiving a pair of the new vending machines. The machines will be located in areas where school meals are either sold or eaten. The Food & Nutrition Services Department is planning to stock the refrigerated cow-patterned vending machines with organic items; nutrition and sports bars; fresh fruit and vegetables; lowfat milk and dairy selections, such as yogurt and cheese sticks; fresh sandwiches; bagels with cream cheese; soymilk; bottled beverages and more. The Nutrition Zone vending machines allow students a more convenient and faster way to purchase healthy snack favorites, such as low fat and whole-grain chips, pretzels, and other non-refrigerated items. All vending and snack choices continue to meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation guidelines, which limits the portion sizes and establishes nutritional parameters. The guidelines recommend that snack and beverage choices provide less than 35% calories from fat, less than 10% calories from saturated fat, and no more than 35% sugar by weight. Calories per serving are limited by grade level. As a part of the District’s and the Food and Nutrition Services’ continued efforts to create healthier school environments, the new vending machine program supports the District’s Wellness Policy and Guidelines established by the District Wellness Committee. This is the second year of the tiered implementation schedule of the District’s Wellness Guidelines. Last year, schools were asked to meet the District’s established goal of having 50 percent of the foods and beverages available at any school-based event or activity to meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Guidelines; with a goal of 75 percent of food and beverages offered this year. As the District’s exclusive beverage provider, Coca-Cola agreed that all items provided in the Coca-Cola vending machines would also meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Guidelines. The District’s Wellness Policy and Guidelines are available on the District’s website home page. The District’s Wellness Committee was formed three years ago in compliance with the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act that required all school district’s throughout the United States to have an established district wellness policy and implementation guidelines. The committee consists of members from the community, parents, teachers, school and district administrators, registered dietitians, nurses, and other health professionals. The committee meets regularly and continues to work at establishing wellness policies, procedures, and guidelines that can assist schools in making changes to the school environment and culture. Each year, schools must assess its growth toward creating a healthier school environment and also assess its compliance with the District’s Wellness Policy.

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