D211 Summer School Meals, Seamless Summer Program Information

This summer the District 211 food service department will be serving both breakfast and lunch during summer school.

As in previous years, breakfast, lunch, and a la carte options are available to all students attending summer school. A complimentary breakfast will be available to all students daily. Additionally, Hoffman Estates and Palatine High Schools qualify for the USDA’s Seamless Summer meal program, which allows these schools to offer a free breakfast and lunch to all students attending both high schools’ summer school programs, as well as any child under the age of 18 in the community.

“Our summer feeding programs allow us an additional opportunity to provide our students and children in the community access to nutritious meals,” said Stacy Lenihan, director of Food Service at District 211.

Both schools will have summer breakfast and lunch hours for the community posted on their website during summer school, which operates May 31 through July 18. Meals will be available to all students in the cafeteria during the duration of summer school. At Palatine High School, community breakfast will be served from 8:15 – 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be served from 12:30 – 12:45 p.m. Hoffman Estates High School will serve breakfast from 7:15 – 7:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Although the Seamless Summer Program is not available at Fremd and Conant High Schools, students will have the opportunity to receive a free breakfast before the start of the school day and have access to lunch options available at regular rates. Schaumburg High School will not operate a summer school program or offer meal service this summer.

Last summer, over 50,000 meals were served in the District. A free lunch includes the option of an entrée item, one cup of fruit, one cup of vegetables, and low-fat milk. A free breakfast included the option of an entrée, a cup of fruit, and low-fat milk. In addition to breakfast and lunch options, a la carte options and items in the vending machines are also available for purchase.

For more information about the summer meal programs, please contact the District 211 Food Service Department at (847) 755-6680.




District 211 Celebrates 1 Million Meals Served This School Year

HEHS freshman Jett Dennis was surprised to be a part of the District’s food service department celebration of its 1-millionth meal served during this school year.

A lucky student helped High School District 211 reach an impressive milestone on May 18.

As he stood in the Hoffman Estates High School cafeteria food line, little did freshman student Jett Dennis know he would be a part of the District’s food service department celebrating its 1-millionth meal served during this school year.

“I was very surprised,” said Jett after the announcement during lunch. “It is nice how the school provides us with a good lunch that we can eat and enjoy every day.”

Jett went to purchase his lunch when the milestone celebration kicked off. The marching band played songs and food service staff and administrators presented him with a certificate and balloons. Students in the cafeteria during Jett’s lunch period also joined in the celebration by receiving free cookies and apple slices. As part of the celebration, the HEHS food service staff will prepare and serve a special meal for Jett and seven of his friends, which includes pizza and brownies, on Monday, May 22.

Director of Food Service at District 211 Stacy Lenihan (right) and Food Service Manager at Hoffman Estates High School Betty Youmans present Jett Dennis with a certificate and balloons.

The food service department has made it a priority to provide and serve delicious, well-balanced meals. District 211 increased total meals served during a single school year from approximately 800,000 to over 1,000,000 meals since 2011-2012. This is a 25 percent increase in complete meals served in the past five years.  Each school offers 12-15 different entrée choices daily, which can be built into a complete meal by adding fruit, vegetables, and milk. 

Many of the menu items offered are made from scratch by the District’s cooks and bakers, including soups, French bread, granola, biscuits, and main entrées.

“We are proud of achieving this milestone, as our programs have undergone significant changes due to the new USDA guidelines,” said Stacy Lenihan, District 211 director of food service. “This success can be attributed to the department’s focus on serving our customers appetizing and nutritious meal options.”

 

For more information about school meals, please visit the D211 Food Service website here.

Watch the video below: 

 




District 211 Summer Feeding Program Provides Nutritious Meals for Students, Community

Food Service 1This summer the District 211 food service department implemented another successful summer feeding program to its students and the community. Meals were available to all students in the cafeteria during the duration of summer school with a variety of options available for breakfast and lunch daily. During the 2016 summer, an average of 2,700 meals were served daily in District 211.

The Seamless Summer Program, which is operated under the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, provided complimentary meals to Palatine and Schaumburg High School students. The program also offers community children 18 years and younger a free breakfast and lunch, regardless of what school they normally attend.

“This summer allowed the food service department to continue providing necessary food and nutrition to a large percentage of our students,” said Stacy Lenihan, director of Food Service at District 211.

Although Seamless Summer was not available at Fremd and Conant High Schools, students had the opportunity to receive a free breakfast before the start of the school day and have access to lunch options available at regular rates. Hoffman Estates High School did not operate a summer school program or offer meal service this summer.

This was Schaumburg High School’s first year and Palatine High School’s second year participating in the Seamless Summer program. Between both schools, 13,882 free breakfasts and 36,739 free lunches were served. District 211 saw an 11.6 percent increase in lunches served at the two schools compared to last summer when the program was implemented at Hoffman Estates High School.

A free lunch included the option of an entrée item, one cup of fruit, one cup of vegetables, and low fat milk. A free breakfast included the option of an entrée, a cup of fruit, and low fat milk. In addition to breakfast and lunch options, a la carte options and items in the vending machines were also available for purchase.

For more information about breakfast or lunch programs available in the district, please contact the District 211 Food Service Department at (847) 755-6681.




District 211 ‘Seamless Summer’ Program Provides Meals to Community Youth

 

Food Service 1New this summer, any child under the age of 18 will be eligible to receive a free breakfast and lunch from Palatine or Hoffman Estates High School. The program, called “Seamless Summer,” aims at providing individuals in the community with meals during the summer. All children 18 years and under are eligible to receive meals Monday through Thursday from June 9 through July 22.

“Demographics in District 211 have changed, which demonstrates the need to feed children in our community,” said Mary O’Connor, director of Food Service at District 211. “The Seamless Summer program allows the food service department to reach out to students that are not enrolled in summer school. This program gives children the opportunity to have access to good nutrition throughout the summer.”

At Palatine High School, community breakfast will be served from 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and community lunch will be served from 12:30 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. At Hoffman Estates High School, community breakfast will be served from 7:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and community lunch will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

In addition, all District 211 students currently enrolled in summer school will receive a free breakfast.

For more information about community breakfasts or lunches, please contact the District 211 Food Service Department at (847) 755-6680




Information about District 211’s Food & Nutrition Services

District 211 operates one of the largest school food service programs in Illinois. More than 8,000 students participate in the school lunch and breakfast programs each school day. As a participant in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, District 211 offers a variety of nutritionally balanced meal options to students in order to support adequate growth, development and nutritional well-being.

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the food service department is operating under new regulations as outlined under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. The department has transitioned its meal service to offer more complete “combination” meals and less a la carte meals offering students greater access to more nutritionally balanced meals. This slideshow provides a brief overview of the nutrition standards for meals and healthful procedures for daily food service operations in District 211.

 




District 211 Prepares for Upcoming National School Breakfast Week

breakfast1During National School Breakfast Week, schools help encourage and educate students about why they shouldn’t skip what is considered the most important meal of the day. For many students in the country, including some in District 211, access to a proper breakfast isn’t always possible.

That is why District 211 is participating in National School Breakfast Week outlined by the School Nutrition Association. The week runs from March 3 and continues through March 7, and promotes the importance of breakfast to students and how it’s beneficial not to skip.

“This week gives us a chance to focus on the importance of a nutritious breakfast served in our schools giving students a good start to their day,” said Mary O’Connor, assistant to the Director of Food Services. “Breakfast is so important. Eating breakfast increases the students’ energy and concentration. What a great way to start a day.”

breakfast2National School Breakfast Week was established in 1989 in coordination with the School Nutrition Association.  It provides schools with the opportunity to highlight and promote the importance of school breakfast. Research has shown that students who eat breakfast have improved memory, problem-solving skills, and creative abilities. School breakfast provides daily servings of fruit, whole grains, and low fat and fat free milk as well as meeting federal nutrition guidelines based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Each school has their own campaign to promote eating breakfast. Fremd High School is doing a breakfast with the principal on March 4. Conant High School’s Food Service staff will be wearing specially designed breakfast t-shirts to remind students the importance of eating breakfast. Hoffman Estates High School will be highlighting available Grab and Go breakfast options and posting breakfast fact sheets and information by all cashiers. Palatine High School will have a healthy, hot oatmeal bar with toppings available along with participation drawings on March 4. Lastly, Schaumburg High School will give fresh fruit to all students who purchase a meal, as well as breakfast trivia with prizes during the week at breakfast.

For more information on National School Breakfast Week, please visit the School Nutrition Association’s website.

 




District 211 Participation in Free and Reduced Lunch Program Ensures All Students Receive Healthy Food Options

cafeteriaHigh School District 211 has a diverse student population, and because of this, each school strives to ensure the needs of individual students are met. This is one reason District 211 participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

The program allows the District to provide qualifying students meals at a free or reduced rate based on household income. It’s beneficial for District 211 to participate in the program because it allows every student access to a meal that is nutritionally balanced and meets strict federal requirements.

“The program offers every student a meal choice at an affordable rate, and offers a growing number of students qualifying for free or reduced rate meals access to meals that they may not otherwise receive,” said Lauren Hummel, director of Food Service in District 211. “Additionally, operating this program is cost neutral for District 211.”

The program is governed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the majority of applications are based on two criteria: the total household gross income and the number of people who live in the household. Each July, the USDA releases income criteria for the free and reduced lunch program, and it is based on the United States poverty level.

For the upcoming school year, a family of four would have to make less than $43,568 gross annual income to qualify for reduced meals; which is 185 percent of the Federal poverty level.  Free meal benefits are also available and income guidelines must fall below 130 percent of the poverty level, or be less than $30,615 annually for a family of four.

After the qualifying criteria are released, a mass mailing is sent to everyone in the District towards the end of July. Families complete the application, and if they meet the federal income guidelines, they are approved with income verification occurring throughout the year. There are some other special circumstances that qualify a student for free or reduced lunch, for example, if the student is considered homeless or if the family is already receiving “SNAP” benefits through the government. A qualifying student’s eligibility is kept confidential and is not identifiable at school.

“The District takes great measures to ensure that student confidentiality is protected for those receiving free or reduced rate meals,” Hummel said. “Our students use ID cards to access either meal benefits and/or their prepayment accounts. Because students use their ID cards to access both of these benefits, there is no identification of their eligibility in the serving lines.”

Over the past 10 years, District 211 has seen a rise in the number of students who qualify for the program. In 2003, the District had roughly eight percent of its student population receiving free or reduced lunch. The current qualifying student population is more than 30 percent. The increase in enrollment in the program isn’t unique to District 211 schools, but schools all over the region.

While schools participating in the National School Lunch Program receive government donated foods, District 211 has the ability to request only products that meet their high quality standards.  The District chooses to maximize their government funded support by choosing items such as fresh produce (often produced locally), frozen berries, and whole grain items which allow greater variety in the menus.

“Quality is of great importance to us.  We use many name brand products in school meals that you would find on the shelves in the grocery store,” Hummel said. “Meals also feature homemade breads and soups, fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly prepared salads among other things. It is important for us to offer the same quality of food to all our students.”

Additionally, District 211 undergoes nutritional audits conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education to ensure that their meals meet strict nutritional criteria and offer students the proper nutrients.

“One of the most common questions that I hear is regarding pizza being served as a vegetable in school lunches. District 211 does not consider pizza or anything of the like as a vegetable.  We feel that it is important for a student to have access to fruits and vegetables that they can see, and also choose.  This is our time to educate students outside of the classroom.”

More information about the free and reduced lunch program can be found on the District website. Application information for the upcoming school year will be mailed to District 211 students toward the end of July.