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Chapter 9
FOOD SERVICE

This chapter reviews the food service operations of Galena Park Independent School District (GPISD) in the following sections:

A. Staff Management and Development
B. Meal Participation
C. Financial Management and Operations

B. MEAL PARTICIPATION

Increasing student meal participation benefits a school district not only because it ensures that students receive properly balanced, nutritious meals to perform well, but also because it increases the amount of federal reimbursements the district receives.

As in many districts, a higher percentage of GPISD students participate in the lunch program than in the breakfast program. In addition to its lunch serving lines, GPISD operates snack bars and sells a la carte items in its elementary and secondary schools.

GPISD receives reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program for student lunch and breakfast costs. The government designated several district schools as severe need schools, making them eligible for severe need breakfast reimbursement. Schools qualify as severe need schools if they serve at least 40 percent of meals to children eligible for free or reduced-price meals. In 2002-03, districts that served 60 percent or more free and reduced-price lunches in 2000-01 receive a 2-cent supplemental lunch reimbursement.

Exhibit 9-12 shows the federal reimbursement rates to participating districts for 2002-03.

Exhibit 9-12
Reimbursement Rates
2002-03

Program Full Price Reduced-Price Free
Reimbursable Lunches $0.20 $1.74 $2.14
Reimbursable Breakfasts $0.22 $0.87 $1.17
Breakfast Severe Needs (additional)   $0.23 $0.23
After school snacks $0.05 $0.29 $0.58
Source: TEA memorandum dated July 8, 2002.

In addition to federal reimbursements, Student Nutrition Services receives revenue from paid student and adult meals. As shown in Exhibit 9-13, GPISD's meal prices compare favorably to those of its peers. GPISD ties with Goose Creek Consolidated for the second lowest student breakfast prices at $0.65, almost one half that of Humble at $1.20. GPISD has the second lowest elementary school lunch price at $1.35 and the lowest secondary student lunch price at $1.45. Humble has the highest elementary student lunch at $1.85 and Pasadena has the highest secondary student lunch price at $2.25 for high school students.

Exhibit 9-13
Meal Price Comparison
GPISD and Peer Districts
2002-03

District GPISD Aldine Goose
Creek
Consolidated
Humble Pasadena
Elementary Student Breakfast $0.65 $0.50 $0.65 $1.20 $1.00
Secondary Student Breakfast $0.65 $0.60 $0.65 $1.25/$1.30* $1.25
Adult Breakfast $1.00 $0.90 $1.00 $1.55 $1.50
Elementary Student Lunch $1.35 $1.25 $1.35 $1.85 $1.75
Secondary Student Lunch $1.45 $1.50 $1.60 $2.00 $2.00/$2.25*
Adult Lunch $2.20 $2.00 $2.25 $2.50 $2.75
Visitor Lunch $2.35 $2.00 $2.50 $2.50 $2.75
Source: GPISD Peer District surveys and GPISD director of Student Nutrition Services.
*High school student prices.

Exhibit 9-14 compares GPISD's annual meal participation rates to its peers for the five-year time period from 1997-98 through 2001-02. In 2001-02, GPISD has the second highest average lunch and breakfast participation rates when compared to its peers. Aldine ISD has the highest participation rates for both lunch and breakfast with rates approximately 5 percent higher for breakfast and 11 percent higher for lunch than GPISD.

GPISD increased its participation rates the most during the five-year period. GPISD's breakfast participation rates increased 5.72 percent and its lunch rates increased 8.77 points. By comparison, Pasadena ISD experienced a negative breakfast and lunch participation rate change.

Exhibit 9-14
Average Annual Meal Participation Rates
GPISD and Peer Districts
1997-98 through 2001-02

District GPISD Aldine Goose
Creek
Consolidated
Humble Pasadena
Breakfast Participation Rates
1997-98 24.17% 29.95% 24.70% 5.87% 24.51%
1998-99 24.42% 36.60% 25.03% 6.07% 22.48%
1999-2000 25.38% 36.93% 25.42% 6.78% 23.75%
2000-01 29.83% 35.70% 26.87% 7.04% 22.11%
2001-02 29.89% 35.39% 27.84% 6.89% 21.65%
Percent Change (1997-98 to 2001-02) 5.72% 5.44% 3.14% 1.02% (2.86%)
Lunch Participation Rates
1997-98 56.29% 55.71% 51.08% 30.57% 52.24%
1998-99 57.16% 74.22% 55.14% 33.80% 48.72%
1999-2000 59.67% 77.47% 57.06% 34.75% 53.22%
2000-01 63.81% 77.19% 58.22% 33.67% 50.98%
2001-02 65.06% 76.87% 59.40% 33.50% 51.86%
Percent Change1997-98 to 2001-02) 8.77% 21.16% 8.32% 2.93% (0.38%)
Source: TEA, Child Nutrition Programs District Profile Reports for GPISD and peer districts, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Exhibit 9-15 displays GPISD participation rates by school for 2001-02.GPISD has the highest lunch participation rates at its elementary schools with most schools above 70 percent. Lunch participation drops significantly from elementary to middle and high school. High school lunch participation rates range from approximately 37 percent at Galena Park and North Shore High Schools to 41.2 percent at North Shore Senior High School. Woodland Acres Middle School has the highest middle school lunch participation rate at 66.3 percent followed by Cobb at 57.2 percent. Cunningham and North Shore Middle Schools have lunch participation rates at 46.7 and 45.6 percent respectively. Breakfast participation rates at all schools are significantly lower than lunch participation rates and vary significantly from 9.4 percent at North Shore High School to 78 percent at Pyburn Elementary.

Exhibit 9-15
GPISD Meal Participation Rates by School
August 2001 through May 2002

School Annual
Breakfast
Attendance
(95 Percent ADA)
Annual
Breakfasts
Claimed
Breakfast
Participation
Rate
Annual
Lunch
Attendance
(95 Percent ADA)
Annual
Lunches
Claimed
Lunch
Participation
Rate
Cimarron Elementary 179,096 55,414 30.9% 179,106 145,262 81.1%
Cloverleaf Elementary 179,445 67,584 37.7% 179,445 166,886 93.0%
Cobb Sixth Grade Campus 175,506 77,973 44.4% 173,502 99,266 57.2%
Cunningham Middle * 163,321 55,819 34.2% 161,325 75,291 46.7%
Galena Park Elementary 121,108 34,008 28.1% 121,117 99,970 82.5%
Galena Park High 268,446 27,081 10.1% 265,485 99,199 37.4%
Galena Park Middle 168,635 46,394 27.5% 166,739 93,813 56.3%
Green Valley Elementary 150,298 43,080 28.7% 148,615 108,715 73.2%
Havard Elementary 161,821 43,631 27.0% 160,928 106,020 65.9%
Jacinto City Elementary 139,541 55,594 39.8% 137,963 115,986 84.1%
MacArthur Elementary 109,720 35,376 32.2% 108,484 87,815 80.9%
North Shore Elementary 153,377 50,754 33.1% 153,392 129,361 84.3%
North Shore High ** 350,245 33,079 9.4% 346,422 129,134 37.3%
North Shore Middle 193,167 43,515 22.5% 190,987 87,040 45.6%
North Shore Senior High 273,649 36,540 13.4% 270,682 111,624 41.2%
Purple Sage Elementary 139,734 34,565 24.7% 138,150 108,065 78.2%
Pyburn Elementary 116,130 90,583 78.0% 115,464 86,176 74.6%
Tice Elementary 141,042 61,312 43.5% 139,485 108,407 77.7%
Woodland Acres Elementary 65,874 24,812 37.7% 65,140 59,130 90.8%
Woodland Acres Middle 73,204 30,578 41.8% 72,395 48,029 66.3%
Totals 3,323,359 947,692 28.5% 3,294,826 2,065,189 62.7%
Source: GPISD PCS Revenue Control Systems Inc. Breakfast and Lunch Edit Check Reports, August 2001-May 2002.
*High Point High School meals and attendance are included in Cunningham Middle School since it provides High Point's meals.
**ACE meals and attendance are included in North Shore High School since it provides ACE's meals.
Note: Participation rates do not include snack bar and a la carte sales. The district adjusted attendance to reflect a 95 percent Average Daily Attendance (ADA) rate that occurred in 2001-02.

FINDING

Several of the district's elementary schools have a unique method of encouraging good behavior and maintaining discipline in the cafeterias. The review team observed one elementary school using conduct cups to encourage good cafeteria behavior. Staff places the conduct cups, three different-colored plastic cups, on the end of each cafeteria table. At one of the cafeterias the review team visited, the blue cup represented appropriate and acceptable behavior, while the red and yellow cups represented unacceptable actions or behaviors. If the table keeps a blue conduct cup for one week, the class will receive a treat at the end of the week, such as eating lunch in the classroom with the teacher and watching a video.

With this method, the school holds an entire class accountable for the behavior of its members. At the cafeterias that used conduct cups, the students were well-behaved and showed appropriate cafeteria behavior. Students sat at their tables and ate their lunches until they were dismissed. The review team observed no unruly behavior, and the staff maintained discipline in the cafeteria. In addition to the direct observation, the review team conducted surveys about GPISD food service. The survey asked teachers to respond to the statement, Discipline and order are maintained in the cafeteria. A majority of the respondents, 82.3 percent, either agreed or strongly agreed to the statement.

COMMENDATION

GPISD's use of conduct cups encourages good cafeteria behavior.

FINDING

GPISD implemented a free breakfast in the classroom program at one of its elementary schools that increased the school's breakfast participation. In August 1999, GPISD implemented Pyburn Elementary's program, Breakfast for All. Breakfast for All serves students breakfast both in the cafeteria and in the classroom. The cafeteria sends breakfasts for grades 3 through 5 to the classroom where students eat, while it serves the remaining students in the cafeteria.

At Pyburn Elementary, the faculty is cooperative and committed to the breakfast in the classroom program. Each day, a designated student for each class in grades 3 through 5, goes to the cafeteria to pick up the breakfast for his or her class. An insulated carrier contains hot items and an ice chest with wheels contains the milk and juice. When students finish breakfast, they return the carriers and ice chests to the cafeteria with the unused food, milk and juice. They also return a marked roster, signed by the teacher that identifies the students who received a breakfast. Using the roster, the cashier rings up the meals in the POS system.

Student Nutrition Services made changes to its initial program design to address problems with trash, spills and food temperature. For example, the department stopped serving items like pancakes and waffles in favor or doughnuts, buns and pigs in a blanket that generate less mess. The cafeteria staff worked with teachers to ensure they understood the 'offer versus serve' concept and that a student took all items required for a reimbursable meal before it was recorded on the roster. Teachers receive a free meal for their assistance in recording the reimbursable meals. Because milk and juice sometimes leaked out of trash bags, the department purchased trash barrels on wheels to prevent leakage when collecting classroom trash. The department purchased insulated carriers and ice chests to maintain appropriate food temperatures.

As a result of this program, Pyburn Elementary had the highest elementary school breakfast participation rates in 2001-02 with 78 percent participation. This is almost twice as much as the elementary school with the next highest participation rate: Tice at 43.5 percent.

COMMENDATION

GPISD's free breakfast in the classroom program increased student meal participation at Pyburn Elementary.

FINDING

The district has not extensively implemented free breakfast in the classroom programs to increase elementary student breakfast participation. The district allows cafeteria managers to offer a free breakfast to all students one day a year, and it serves free breakfast to all students at Pyburn Elementary and to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Tice Elementary. In addition, Pyburn Elementary serves breakfast both in the cafeteria and in the classroom. Tice Elementary serves breakfasts to all students in its cafeterias.

As a result of these programs, these two schools had the highest elementary school breakfast participation rates in 2001-02 with 78 percent for Pyburn and 43.5 percent for Tice (Exhibit 9-15). Breakfast participation rates for other elementary schools ranged from 24.7 percent at Purple Sage to 39.8 percent at Jacinto City.

The director of Student Nutrition Services said that staff and faculty commitment is key to making a free breakfast for all program work. The director also said that each school makes the decision to offer free lunches or breakfast to all students. For the breakfast program, Student Nutrition Services requires that all children be offered a breakfast, not just those who show up in the morning before school. Student Nutrition Services has offered free breakfast to kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students at all elementary schools if the principal has the students go to the cafeteria after other classes have eaten. Most principals have not taken advantage of the offer.

Many school districts significantly increased their breakfast participation by offering alternatives such as a free breakfast for all or breakfast in the classroom programs. For example, Midland ISD implemented the Breakfast Express program that is almost identical to Pyburn's breakfast in the classroom program. In the initial pilot program period, the district tripled the number of breakfasts served from an average of 8,000 to 25,000. Midland teachers say that the breakfast program improves their students' learning and decreases tardiness.

Mercedes ISD (MISD) conducts another similar program, Breakfast in the Classroom. The USDA awarded the program a 2001 Best Practice Award in the Promoting a School Breakfast Program category. After surveying students, MISD found that many would rather spend time with their friends or were not awake enough to eat breakfast in the cafeteria. To address this, the district staff developed its Breakfast in the Classroom program and piloted it in 1997 at one of its elementary schools. The district now offers breakfast in the classroom at all schools. Its overall participation has increased from 44.5 percent in 1995 to 88.3 percent in 2002.

El Paso ISD implemented breakfast in the classroom in five elementary schools. In addition, EPISD instituted a universal free breakfast in all schools on a pilot basis for three weeks in March 2000. Average daily participation increased 27 percent for the month.

Recommendation 49:

Develop and implement a free breakfast in the classroom program at all elementary schools to increase student breakfast participation.

The director of Student Nutrition Services should establish a committee composed of principals, cafeteria managers, custodial staff and teachers to develop the breakfast in the classroom program. The committee should use the Pyburn Elementary school program as a model and customize the program to each school.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The director of Student Nutrition Services solicits interest in the program by contacting elementary principals and speaking at site-based decision-making and Parent Teacher Association meetings to promote the benefits of the program based on the experience at Pyburn Elementary. April-May 2003
2. The director of Student Nutrition Services establishes a committee of school principals, the elementary field supervisor, cafeteria managers, teachers and custodial staff to design a free breakfast in the classroom program for elementary schools. May 2003
3. The director of Student Nutrition Services and the committee review the Pyburn Elementary program to identify lessons learned during implementation and to customize the programs for implementation at other elementary schools. August - September 2003
4. The committee develops a plan to implement the free breakfast in the classroom program beginning in January 2004. October 2003
5. The committee presents the free breakfast in the classroom program implementation plan to the superintendent and board for approval. November 2003
6. The committee develops handouts and letters and sends them to parents to notify them of the program. November - December 2003
7. The director of Student Nutrition Services implements the program. January 2004
8. The director of Student Nutrition Services and the committee evaluate success of the program. April - May 2004
9. The director of Student Nutrition Services works with the committee to modify program based on evaluation results. August 2004
10. The director of Student Nutrition Services monitors program success and reports results to principals, the superintendent and the board. Quarterly

FISCAL IMPACT

This fiscal impact calculation assumes the district can achieve a target of 55 percent breakfast participation at all elementary schools without a breakfast in the classroom program. The review team excluded Pyburn Elementary participation from the calculation since its participation rate exceeds 55 percent, at 78 percent. In 2001-02, the district's other elementary schools had a combined average breakfast participation rate of approximately 32.8 percent and had average daily attendance (ADA) of 1,541,056.

By achieving the 55 percent target, the district can increase its annual revenues by $81,265 beginning in 2003-04. With a 55 percent participation rate, the district will increase the number of meals served annually by 341,451 [(1,541,056 ADA x .55 targeted participation rate)-(1,541,056 ADA x .3284306 current participation rate) = 341,451].

In 2001-02 the federal government reimbursed GPISD $1,127,768 for the 947,692 breakfasts it served that year. GPISD received an average of $1.19 in federal reimbursements for each breakfast it served ($1,127,768 divided by 947,692 = $1.19). This figure includes the additional reimbursement given to severe need campuses.

The review team multiplied the average reimbursement by the number of additional breakfasts served to calculate that the increased breakfast participation would earn GPISD additional gross annual revenues of $406,327 (341,451 x $1.19). The review team estimates that 80 percent of the gross revenues-$325,062-will be spent on additional food and labor costs ($406,327 x .80). After the district subtracts these costs from the gross revenue, it will realize a net profit of $81,265 ($406,327 additional revenue - $325,062 additional food and labor costs).

Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Develop and implement a free breakfast in the classroom program at all elementary schools to increase student breakfast participation. $81,265 $81,265 $81,265 $81,265 $81,265

FINDING

The district does not use alternative breakfast service methods to increase participation rates at its high schools. The district only offers breakfast at serving lines in its high schools. It does not offer alternate methods such as "grab-and-go," extended or additional breakfast periods or breakfast in the classroom delivery. As a result, the district's breakfast participation rate at its high schools remains very low. In 2001-02, Galena Park High School's participation rate was 10.1 percent, North Shore High was 9.4 percent and North Shore Senior High was 13.4 percent.

Many school districts significantly increased their breakfast participation by offering alternatives to the cafeteria breakfast. Three of the four peer districts selected by GPISD for this review-Aldine, Pasadena and Goose Creek-offer a "grab-and-go" delivery for breakfast.

Mount Pleasant ISD implemented a second breakfast program during its morning activity period. This program increased revenues and allows students who arrive late to school another opportunity to eat breakfast.

El Paso ISD started "grab-and-go" breakfasts in four high schools. The wider variety of menu items, expansion of meal service hours, extensive training and emphasis on customer relations increased these schools' breakfast participation rates.

Water Valley ISD has an innovative breakfast program. Each morning, the superintendent delivers breakfast burritos to the high school, which sell out each morning. The popular program gives the students an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with the superintendent while increasing participation and revenues.

Recommendation 50:

Design and implement programs to increase high school breakfast participation.

The director of Student Nutrition Services should establish a working group composed of principals, teachers, students and cafeteria managers to develop programs and various strategies to increase high school breakfast participation. The committee should solicit student input to understand why students are not eating breakfast, establish breakfast participation targets and develop alternatives to meet the targets. The alternatives could range from implementing "grab and go" service from carts to additional breakfast periods or full-service breakfast in the classroom programs.

For each alternative proposed, the working group should identify issues associated with implementing the alternative and develop a plan with customized strategies that meet the unique needs of each school. The committee should ask other districts with successful alternative breakfast programs to share their experiences. The district should pilot test the alternatives at selected schools and evaluate the results. The district can use the lessons it learns in the pilot schools to improve the program before it starts it in all high schools.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The director of Student Nutrition Services establishes a working group of school principals, teachers, students and cafeteria managers to identify target breakfast participation rates and to develop alternatives to meet these target rates. April 2003
2. The working group solicits student feedback to identify why students are not eating breakfast and how various alternatives would improve participation. April - October 2003
3. The director of Student Nutrition Services contacts other school districts with alternative delivery programs to obtain implementation and participation information. May 2003
4. The working group meets to review the experiences of other school districts. June 2003
5. The working group develops a plan that includes strategies for each school and presents the plan to the superintendent and board for approval. July 2003
6. The director of Student Nutrition Services implements strategies identified in the plan at pilot schools. August 2003
7. The director of Student Nutrition Services and the working group evaluate the success of the programs in the pilot schools. November 2003
8. The director of Student Nutrition Services modifies strategies based on evaluation results and prepares to implement strategies at all high schools. December 2003
9. Student Nutrition Services staff implement strategies at all high schools. January 2004
10. The director of Student Nutrition Services monitors program success and reports results to principals, the superintendent and the board. Quarterly

FISCAL IMPACT

This fiscal impact calculation assumes the district can achieve a combined target of 25 percent breakfast participation at Galena Park, North Shore, ACE, High Point and North Shore Senior High Schools. In 2001-02, these schools had a combined average breakfast participation rate of approximately 11.6 percent. They served 105,316 meals and had average daily attendance of 905,803. The district can increase its annual revenues by $26,427 beginning in 2004-05 by raising breakfast participation to 25 percent. To do this, the district will increase the number of meals served annually by 121,135 [(905,803 x .25)-(905,803 x .116268).

Cafeteria revenues depend on the number of free, reduced-price and paid meals served. In 2001-02, 73.6 percent of the students participating were eligible for free meals, 6.6 percent were eligible for reduced-price meals and 19.8 percent were paid in full. The number of increased free meals would be 89,155 (73.6 percent x 121,135 meals), the number of increased reduced-price meals would be 7,995 (6.6 percent x 121,135 meals) and the number of increased paid meals would be 23,985 (19.8 percent x 121,135).

Higher participation will increase the districts revenue from School Breakfast Program (SBP) reimbursements and from paid meals. SBP reimburses districts at rates of $1.17 for free, $.87 for reduced-price and $.22 for paid meals. The review team estimates that SBP reimbursements will increase by $116,544. This is the sum of reimbursements for all meals: $104,311 for free ($1.17 x 89,155 meals = $104,311) plus $6,956 for reduced-price ($.87 x 7,995 meals) plus $5,277 for paid meals ($.22 x 23,985 meals).

The district will see increased revenues from paid meals also. The review team calculates an increase of $15,590 by multiplying the secondary student breakfast price of 65 cents by the increase in paid meals ($.65 x 23,985 meals).

By adding revenues from SBP reimbursements and paid meals, the district will realize additional gross revenues of $132,134 ($116,544 + $15,590).

The review team estimates that 80 percent-$105,707-of the increased revenue will be spent on additional food and labor costs. ($132,134 x .80 = $105,707). After subtracting the increased costs from the increased revenue, the district will realize profits of $26,427 ($132,134 additional revenue - $105,707 additional food and labor costs = $26,427).

In the first year the district would only be able to capture one-half of the savings because the implementation will not begin until January. The full implementation will begin in 2004-05.

Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Design and implement programs to increase high school breakfast participation. $13,214 $26,427 $26,427 $26,427 $26,427

FINDING

Student Nutrition Services does not routinely conduct a formal survey of students and staff to gain feedback to improve its operations. The last student surveys the district conducted were at Tice Elementary in 2000-01 and before the opening of North Shore Senior High School. However, the director of Student Nutrition Services said that cafeteria managers and field supervisors informally talk with students on a daily basis to gain information about what they like and don't like. The district prefers soliciting feedback from students individually because it feels that students don't take surveys seriously. The department does receive formal feedback from parents about food quality and service. Each month, members of the parent advisory committee complete survey forms.

Student Nutrition Services conducts food-tasting events to gain student feedback about a particular product. The district held a pizza taste testing at North Shore Senior High School; tried a calcium-fortified fruit juice at three middle schools; and hosted a taco and chalupa taste test at Jacinto Elementary School.

The review team surveyed parents, teachers, principals and students with questions about food quality, service and environment. As shown in Exhibit 9-16, approximately 40 percent of parents and teachers and 35.8 percent of students rated the cafeteria food presentation and taste favorably. More than 80 percent of teachers and parents, 67 percent of students and more than 70 percent of principals rated cafeteria staff helpfulness and friendliness positively. More than 80 percent of parents, principals and teachers agreed or strongly agreed that the cafeteria facilities were clean and sanitary. Approximately 58 percent of students rated cafeteria cleanliness positively.

Students, teachers and parents disagreed strongly about serving times. Almost half of the parents and teachers and more than 70 percent of principals agreed that students did not wait in line longer than 10 minutes. However, just 25 percent of students agreed with this statement. When asked if students had enough time to eat, approximately 60 percent of parents and 80 percent of principals agreed, while just 25 percent of students agreed.

Exhibit 9-16
Food Service Survey Results
September 2002

Survey Question Strongly
Agree
Agree No
Opinion
Disagree Strongly
Disagree
The cafeteria's food looks and tastes good.
Teachers 7.4% 33.8% 17.6% 30.9% 10.3%
Students 7.5% 28.3% 19.2% 20.0% 25.0%
Parents 12.1% 27.3% 30.4% 24.2% 3.0%
Principals 12.9% 58.1% 12.9% 12.9% 3.2%
Food is served warm.
Teacher 16.2% 39.7% 11.8% 23.5% 8.8%
Students 11.7% 35.0% 25.8% 14.2% 12.5%
Parents 15.2% 51.5% 15.2% 12.1% 3.0%
Principals 19.4% 64.5% 3.2% 12.9% 0.0%
Students have enough time to eat.
Teacher N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Students 5.8% 19.2% 10.9% 22.5% 40.8%
Parents 18.2% 42.4% 0.0% 24.2% 12.1%
Principals 25.8% 61.3% 0.0% 12.9% 0.0%
Students wait in food lines no longer than ten minutes.
Teacher 13.2% 35.3% 10.3% 30.9% 10.3%
Students 9.2% 15.8% 14.2% 28.3% 31.7%
Parents 15.2% 39.4% 12.1% 15.2% 12.1%
Principals 41.9% 35.5% 3.2% 19.4% 0.0%
Cafeteria staff is helpful and friendly.
Teacher 30.9% 51.5% 5.9% 8.8% 2.9%
Students 20.8% 45.8% 21.8% 8.3% 2.5%
Parents 15.2% 66.7% 9.1% 3.0% 3.0%
Principals 38.7% 35.5% 3.2% 19.4% 3.2%
Cafeteria facilities are sanitary and neat.
Teacher 27.9% 60.3% 2.9% 7.4% 1.5%
Students 11.7% 45.8% 25.0% 9.2% 7.5%
Parents 24.2% 51.5% 18.2% 3.0% 0.0%
Principals 38.7% 58.1% 0.0% 3.2% 0.0%
Source: GPISD TSPR Surveys. Note: Percentages may not add to 100 percent because of rounding and "no responses."

Regular surveys allow school food service directors to gain feedback and identify areas for improvement. Without survey information, food service directors do not have the information needed to address areas that affect student interest and participation such as menu choices, food quality and price.

All of the peer districts selected by GPISD for this review use some form of student survey. Goose Creek Consolidated ISD surveys students at random elementary schools in menu planning meetings or at student council meetings. Humble ISD does an end-of-the-year survey at its high schools. Students receive a cookie for completing and returning the surveys. Aldine ISD does surveys at individual schools for specific food items and Pasadena ISD surveys a cross section of the student population twice a year.

Tyler ISD prepared and circulated a questionnaire to solicit feedback from students and faculty on the acceptability of lunch and breakfast meals. Cafeteria staff made changes, and breakfast and lunch participation increased by 13 percent and 9 percent respectively in the first two years of implementation. Since then, meal participation grew 1 percent in 1997-98 and 3 percent in 1998-99.

Falls City ISD (FCISD) Food Service program has achieved success with its menus by using surveys. The Falls City English Honors Class conducted a study in February 2001 reviewing FCISD food service menus. Their study recorded students' least and most favorite meal preferences. Cafeterias used the survey results to adjust menus.

Recommendation 51:

Survey students to gain feedback to improve food service operations.

The director of Student Nutrition Services should develop and conduct annual districtwide student surveys. The director of Student Nutrition Services could work with elementary and secondary teachers to get students involved in developing and administering the survey as a class project to encourage student involvement and minimize costs. The surveys could be paper-based as well as Web-based to facilitate responses. To encourage completion and return of the surveys, the department could offer cookies or a small treat. The director of Student Nutrition Services should review the survey results and use them to work with cafeteria managers to implement changes to improve operations.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The director of Student Nutrition Services identifies and contacts teachers to work jointly on developing a student survey as a class project. April 2003
2. The director of Student Nutrition Services works with designated teachers to develop surveys as a class project for the upcoming year and to identify a timeline for conducting surveys. April - May 2003
3. The director of Student Nutrition Services works with cafeteria managers to identify and develop a promotion for the surveys. August - September 2003
4. Cafeteria managers promote the surveys with prizes or food items for completing and returning the surveys. October - November 2003
5. Designated classes conduct surveys during cafeteria promotion and compile results. November -December 2003
6. The director of Student Nutrition Services reviews the survey results with cafeteria managers. January 2004
7. The director of Student Nutrition Services publishes survey results. January 2004
8. The director of Student Nutrition Services meets with cafeteria managers to develop strategies to address findings and issues identified by the surveys. February - March 2004
9. The director of Student Nutrition Services and cafeteria managers implement strategies. April 2004 and Ongoing
10. The director of Student Nutrition Services updates survey findings. Annually

FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.