Parent, Student, Employee Feedback...
I tried commenting on this page last year but had trouble from my home computer, but have been wanting to extend my thanks for really shaping up the quality of the food that you've provided for my kids. My kids have been attending D11 schools for approximately the last 5 years and it is only when I learned that you were serving meat from Ranch Foods did I allow them to eat the school foods. I have purchased our meat from Ranch Foods for many years and had always been concerned about the quality of meat being served in the cafeterias (ALL public school cafeterias throughout the US, not just D11's.) Thus, my kids always brought "home lunch". We also eat organic fruits/veg's/grains/milks, and minimally processed bread products. I realize it would be too expensive for you to serve organic, but as a parent, I greatly appreciate the efforts your team has made to serve the best quality food that you can. I allow them to eat the meals at school when they want, and they have always said they're "really good." Keep up the good work! I have my 9 yo read out loud to me the kid-focused newsletters that you send out with the recipes. We are going to try the beet recipe soon! Thanks again and just know that there are people out there that really appreciate the strides you've made in the quality of food served to the kids! I do not do facebook, otherwise I'd "like" you! I also do not request a response. This was "just to let you know..."
Vicki - a parent
My family relocated to Colorado Springs from North Carolina at the beginning of this school year. I have three children in D11 schools, one in elementary, one in middle and one in high school. While living in North Caroline only my oldest child, the one in high school, bought lunch at school. This was primarily because it wasn't "cool" to bring lunch from home. Since we've lived in Colorado Springs all of my children buy lunch at school. I am so impressed with the D11 lunch program and the variety of food choices available to my children. I like that vegetarian options are included, the pizzas are made with whole wheat crust, and that so many items are made fresh daily or made to order. Not only are you providing healthy meals but you're teaching children how to make good choices about food and what a huge variety of food is available. The lunch program in D11 is so different from what was available in North Carolina. Thank you so much for creating a school nutrition program I can be comfortable with and know my children are able to make healthy choices and have healthy options for lunch.
I just want to say “THANKS!!!” for making these wonderful changes to our food service program.
I am 46 years old and have recently begun to be so thankful to my mom for feeding me right when I was a kid—it makes such a difference in my health now, when most of my friends are having trouble with their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, kidney stones, etc.—and I don’t have any of that (and don’t intend to, either)!
Kids need to be fed healthy food, not just have it shown to them on the food pyramid or the pages of a book. Now when they grow up they will know HOW to eat healthy, whether their parents have fed them well or not, because you and your staff gave them GOOD food!
Thank you for all these great ideas and everything you’re doing...and the new lunches cooking smell great in the hallway, too! J
October 6th, 2011
I wanted to send an email to express my gratitude, as a parent of two children in D11 schools, for all of the changes you have made in school lunches. I am amazed at what you have been able to accomplish! In all honesty, I never would have thought it was possible to upgrade the quality of food the students are getting to the extent that you have. I have strong beliefs that solid nutrition is essential for students if we really want them to be able to sit in a classroom and “digest” all the potential learning that takes place and offering them nutritionally solid meals is a great start.
Thank you so much!
Rogers Elementary School
Special Education Teacher
October 2, 2011
Dear Superintendent Gledich and Director Hughes,
My name is Jeff Bakke and I am a graduate student at UCCS studying health promotion. As a future professional in the field of education, health, physical fitness, and nutrition, I have a vested interest in the well-being of our country’s next generation. As a result, I find it troubling to read about the ever-increasing epidemic of childhood obesity plaguing the United States.
I am writing to thank you for emerging as a leader in K-12 school food and nutrition service providers. The D11 Good Food Project is a magnificent benefit that students in your school district benefit from daily. By making a commitment to serving “good food,” free of artificial preservatives, growth hormones, and added sugars, you are not only fueling healthier minds and bodies but also teaching parents and their children about the value of nutrition.
Furthermore, your commitment to buying local food is a tremendous boost to the regional economy and an important step in ensuring a more sustainable world. I am especially impressed by your decision to remove chocolate milk from elementary and middle schools. Coupled with the adoption of stricter a la carte standards, it is clear that you are making great efforts to improve the overall health of your students.
As you indicate yourself on your website, you still have a ways to go in providing the healthiest meals possible for your students. Nevertheless, the positive changes you have made are impressive. Other school districts around the country, and our nation’s youth accordingly, would benefit from following the D11 Good Food Project’s model. Thank you again for doing your part to ensure today’s students live healthier lifestyles and our world is a better place!
UCCS Graduate Student-Health Promotion
Assistant Track & Field Coach
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
University Center Athletics Department
August 19, 2011
Bravo! You embarked on a brave initiative and I applaud you. Good nutrition is an equal part of a good education. Keep up the good work. We don't live in D11, but I am envious. I saw your article in the gazette.
Dear Mr. Axworthy, Mr. Gledich, and Mr. Hughes,
Praise to you! I am writing to commend you on the food article that was published in the Gazette. It is about time that food safety measures and student nutrition be a top priority for our children. Since Colorado always scores high for being one of the healthiest states in the nation, it is time for us to set an example and have others follow suit. Teaching students about smart food choices is something that they can carry into their adulthood and pass along to their own children.
As a health and nutrition advocate, I have for many years followed the advice of Dr. Oz and Michael Pollan, and am also a fan of Jamie Oliver. The benefits are substantial. Although I myself do not have any children who attend your district, I just wanted to let you know how important these decisions are NOT ONLY for those directly involved in your school district, but also for those who need to witness what you are doing and make a change for themselves. It's about educating your students, their families, and your staff, one meal at a time.
What you are doing sends the right message to other organizations in our community and I couldn't be more proud of the fine work everyone involved is doing. May the days huge medical bills with high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, etc. be something of the past for innocent, uneducated people. Keep pressing forward and continue on this path, for the future health of everyone depends on it. Sincerely,
Suzanne J. Romero
I am a third grade classroom teacher and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the changes you have made in the district’s food services program! My husband and I work hard to eat healthy and the more we learn the more we realize how important this is for our students. In the past it was so easy to tell which of my particularly active students had chocolate milk with their lunch! Most people have no clue that what children eat greatly impacts their day to day learning, not just their long term health.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I just wanted to let you know from here in the trenches that what you are doing is hugely important and greatly appreciated!
Have a GREAT day!
I just wanted to send you a quick email of appreciation for your work transforming the menu and approach to food and nutrition in D-11 schools. I probably should have been more aware of this previously as a science teacher at Doherty, but I was made especially aware of it after seeing the recent article in the Independent and looking up the Good Food Project on the district's website. As someone who tries to shop, cook, and eat healthily, locally, and organically as much as possible, I applaud your work in moving the district's food services in the right direction. Our first child is entering kindergarten this year and I am very pleased that we will not have to worry quite so much about her seeing processed and unhealthy foods as options at school. Thank you for making meaningful changes...I'm sure it hasn't always been easy. Please keep up the great work!
Doherty High School Physics
Dear Mr. Hughes,
Our current newsletter describes the work you are doing in the Colorado Springs schools (please see attached). Your approach to improving the food in stages is such a wise way to address this issue. I have been involved in school food reform for many years, and find that one of the biggest detriments to improvement is the tendency for advocates to push for too much too soon.
Another common mistake is for advocates to be unaware that when a school improves their food the amount of money they will save can be staggering. Each child who does not need to be in a special ed class will save a system about $10,000, and that's enough to buy a whole lot of good food!
Please see the introductory slide show that discusses this; it can be found at www.School-Lunch.org.
All good wishes,
Pure Facts editor
Love the Good Food Project and I am so proud to be part of a district that believes in good nutrition for all. I just sent a link for the project to people in Pennsylvania who are very interested in what we are doing. Way to go, Rick and FNS!!!
I applaud the changes D-11 has made in it's school meal programs and appreciate it so much as a parent. Keep up the good work! I've had the chance to eat lunch with my daughter a couple of times recently and have been really impressed! Whole wheat, brown rice... Thank you!
Parent Madison Elementary
I am a teacher here in D-11, and I am very, very pleased about the recent changes in our D-11 cafeterias. I, personally, ONLY shop at such stores as Natural Grocers and Sunflower Markets (where I STILL have to read labels, unfortunately), and my family eats very healthily. We have all noticed profound differences in our health & behaviors since we changed our eating habits.
In my classroom, my students have just finished researching and presenting their findings on both rBGH & HFCS. During our research, we found an article about a study done in one of the high schools in Appleton, WI, and the article was quite revealing. One group of 6th graders decided to write to the CEO of Kraft Foods, Inc., and I’m attaching the letter they wrote and sent. I hope you enjoy it, and I just wanted to let you know that I will be eating EACH day in Tesla’s cafeteria next week, and now that we’re improving the quality of food in our cafeterias, I will eat there more frequently. Thanks again!
With all the press going on and on about how bad the food is in our schools, you deserve National recognition for your program. I must say, it is better than the food I make for my son... You are doing a tremendous job and you stand out above the rest. I am a huge proponent of the nutrition programs in schools and I wasn't even aware of your program until a week ago. My son has been saying it right along, I just though he had really bad taste :)Bravo to you and your amazing team. I am going to spread the word!
I just wanted to let you know that I am so impressed with the quality of food served at Palmer HS. You are an example to schools across the country on how to do it right. I hope you are getting the recognition you deserve.
Thank you from a very happy parent.
Heidi Danzig Miller
Thank you SO much for making strides towards upgrading D11's food program to a responsible, sustainable, more nutritious, green food program! I especially appreciate that you are thinking about things like local suppliers and farmers. Keep it up! :)
Melissa Hall (I have a child at Trailblazer)
I am a D-11 parent and wanted to say thanks for working on the menu. I love you are sourcing local food vendors and striving to get good food. My son takes a lunch to school... but we are close to trusting he might get a good meal if he needed to buy one. Either way it is great to see D-11 being aware of truly healthy food.
Last year, my daughter hated the days I asked her to have a hot lunch. This year, she loves the food.
Thank you D11 for taking this positive step for our children.
Ruth, Buena Vista Elementary Parent
Hello Mr. Hughes,
I would first like to say that my family has been impressed with the changes that have occurred in the Dist. 11 menus. It's great to see healthier choices being added!
It's also great to know that the District is trying to buy local produce and hormone, antibiotic free meat as well as cooking with more whole grains!
Is it possible to add organic regular milk to the drink choices and get rid of chocolate and strawberry milk?
I was wondering where the food is prepared before it makes it's way to Chipeta Elementary School?
Dear Mrs. Fairhurst;
The milk we serve is RBST/RBGH free. Strawberry milk is no longer served in District 11 (May 2010). We worked with Sinton dairy to remove High Fructose Corn syrup from the chocolate milk and replace the small amount of sweetener with sucrose, which is a more natural sugar. This reduced the added sugar. We are considering making a change in our chocolate milk offering for elementary grades. “Organic” milk is cost prohibitive at this time. The D11 Good Food Project is costing more in the cost of both food and labor and we must prioritize in order to make this sustainable over the long haul.
A lot of food is prepared on-site at Chipeta, however some food is prepared at the Coronado HS Base Kitchen and delivered to Chipeta almost daily.
Thank you for contacting me.
Rick H. Hughes, Director
Rick, I am VERY impressed with the changes that you, Brian, and Jamie -- along with the rest of the food services team -- are bringing about! Recently, I received letters from students in a fourth grade class at Howbert regarding what they liked most about school. You have to understand that fourth graders are brutally honest. For the first time in MY memory as a principal, school lunch was one of their highlights! That is phenomenal. Historically, students almost always complain about school lunch, so this represents a HUGE turnaround for which you and your department can take credit.
As a principal, I am very pleased with the changes.
On behalf of Howbert students, parents, and staff... THANK YOU!!!
Principal, Howbert Elementary
I love seeing the new food at lunch everyday! Way to go Food Services!
Principal, Columbia Elementary
I just wanted to pass along how thrilled my family is with the new vegetarian choices. I have four children - my oldest is a sophomore at Palmer, my daughter is at North and I have two boys at Steele. We are vegetarians and this is the first time that we have been able to eat a variety of school lunches.
Thank you, and congratulations on a job well done. I am thrilled and delighted that District 11 has listened to feedback, consolidated research, and taken so much action to make school menus healthier! In addition to serving each child better, the many benefits of a transformed food program will resonate throughout society as a whole. You are setting a much-needed example: students, teachers and whole families will be the better for it.
As the parent of two District 11 students, and friend to many more, I was sick at heart to think of our children drinking sugar water and buying sweet, fatty, salty, artificial 'treats' that lead to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. It was appalling to think that while kids were supposed to be learning about health, they were eating junk! D-11’s recent changes in its food program have restored my faith in our schools’ integrity. More fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein enable our students to think better; they are what they eat. Now they'll learn more and build healthier bodies, becoming more effective and intelligent citizens as they enjoy real food. And we can all take pride in a district that serves the best interests of its students, and in schools that literally put their money where their mouths are.
Congratulations on taking this important step toward health. (We can still do more: let's work toward offering even more raw, organic, cooperative, sustainable and locally-grown food options. There's plenty of possibilities here!) Thank you all, and keep up the good work.
My husband is an International Olympic Coach ahead of triathlon sports development, he is a nutrition expert and lives by what he speaks. He really, and so do I celebrate what you are doing with D11 nutrition. I now do not have to fix our son’s lunch. I think what you are doing should be commended! Thank you!
Hey, I found out about the showings of food inc and fresh the movie. That's awsome that you guys are setting that up. I'm going to be there at both of them and I want to bring as many people with me as I can. Spreading information is something I'm a bit passionate about, I'm going to college to be a nutritionist too. I don't really have much resources or an organization of my own but I'm good at research. These are some links to other documentaries we could do screenings for in Colorado Springs. The first ones are up and coming documentaries about food, the second group are a bit older but on the same subject, and the greenhorns one at the bottom has not yet been released.
http://www.jennanorwood.com/ "SuperCharge Me"
We are very happy with the change in 'eating' plans that we are seeing as a result of the Good Food Project. Thank you for helping to raise a future generation of healthy eaters! Keep up the good work!
Holmes MS and Howbert Elementary
I just wanted you to know how pleased I am with the new changes that D11 is making to their food services. My daughter is a student at Penrose Elementary, and having school lunch is a once a week treat for her. The reason I have only let her eat school lunch once a week was because it was more like eating out at McDonalds, in other words junk. Now that you have much healthier menu items and a better selection of healthier foods it has been hard for us to pick just one day for her to have school lunch. I'm loving the all natural choices that you are bringing to our children. I think you'll find that if given the right foods to choose from our children will begin to eat healthier, chicken nuggets as a choice for our kids three days a week was a bad idea. So, thank you for finally realizing that our public school food program needed a complete overhaul
Relieved parent of a D11 student
I just received the April Good Food Project newsletter and I just wanted to say....thank you! Thanks for making all the changes and for the changes to come in the future.
I want to send a personal email to let you know how happy I am with these changes to the D-11 menu. Educating our children about where our food comes from and teaching them to choose non-processed local food is so important!!! I hope all schools will follow your lead and change how they feed their students!!! I’m sure it will help students be healthier and do better academically.
We have been making these changes in our home too. We no longer have candy/sugar in our house. I make almost everything from scratch. For example I grind my own wheat and make our own bread, pizza, calzones, etc. I read all labels and do not buy anything with any kind of dyes or preservatives. We eat whole grain everything (ie. flour tortillas, pasta). We are buying A LOT more organic and I just got in touch with a local farm to join a co-op for cage free chickens, eggs, and raw milk. My next step is finding grass fed beef for a reasonable price…do you have any ideas?
Hopefully, through your leadership and good example, we will begin to change how America eats. Then many more people will start demanding better food, thus making it more readily available to us.
I just can’t say how happy I am about these changes!!!!
I just read the lunch insert that came with the April menus. I just wanted to say, thank you! The changes you are making to the lunch program is impressive. My hats are off to you. I might now consider allowing my kids to eat school lunches. Good job on making the necessary changes to nourish kids instead of just feeding them.
Bates Elementary Parent-
I'd like to commend you for your changes to the D-11 school menu. At a former stage in life I was a Registered Dietitian. I've moved on to a different career now and am also a D-11 mom. I've never been 'obsessed' with healthy food, but am VERY pleased with the changes you have made. My kids predominately eat school lunch and I'm happy to know what good choices are available. In particular we're pleased with your use of Ranch Food Direct and other local food purveyors. Keep up the good work and thanks for keeping parents in the loop.
As a mom who is a strong proponent in eating healthy, made from scratch, not processed meals. I'm so excited to see the School District making changes for the better. Thank you, thank you for incorporating good, healthy and less processed food into the hot lunch menu. I'm so impressed by your menu additions, changes and exclusions. I appreciate it greatly.
Thank you again!
Just a quick thank you for the change in the school lunch program. I imagine with all the budget cuts this isn't an easy task, but thank you for making it a priority.
I am the mom of a first grader at Steele Elementary. I received your letter dated February 1 about the Good Food Project. I just wanted to send a quick note saying thanks. I really support and appreciate this project and the ideas behind it. As a scientist, I am very aware of the chemicals that are in our food and how this contrasts with our nutritional needs. Keep up the good work!
Aimee Stephenson, PhD
"I'm so thrilled to see the changes to less processed foods. My kids eat school lunches only 2-4 times per month, but this was partly because I considered most of the entrees quite unhealthy. I love the direction
you're going with the food selections! I've always felt kids will eat healthy food if it's prepared and presented properly, and they aren't tempted by unhealthy choices."
"Michele Mukatis shared information about the good work you're doing with the food project and I wanted to write and express my appreciation. Serving healthy food to our children is one of the most important things we can do for their well being and I'm glad to see this finally being implemented in our schools."
The REv. Dr. Ellen Johnson-Fay
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
"You have no idea that the newsletter home today made my day. My husband and I both try very hard to eat healthy and DO NOT support factory farming. We recently watched the move Food Inc which opens your eyes in many ways. I do not want my child to have a death sentence for eating food that is beyond processed w/ hormones, antibiotics ect. Considering those food cause things such as E-coli - this is a HUGE step in the
right direction. Everyone has the right to real food - and not diabetes's or other illnesses. BRAVO!"
"Thank You so much! Our kids bodies will appreciate it and they may even do better in school. Is this also going to be proposed for the middle and high schools?"
Absolutely, this has already begun to trickle into the MS and HS menus. We made drastic changes in the High School menu a few years ago with bringing Ranch Foods Direct Hamburger Patties, Chick-fil-a style chicken sandwiches, tenders, and nuggets, and the implementation of our Fusion concept featuring foods, trivia, and music from around the world (to teach students about different cultures) into our program. All of these changes have been highly successful with a 63% meal participation increase experienced at the High School level since these changes were implemented in SY2006.
Our primary focus will now (SY2009) be at the elementary level to begin the process and all changes their will permeate the menus in the upper grade levels effective immediately.
D11 Food & Nutrition Services Director
"I just wanted to say thank you for the direction you are taking the school lunch program. It might be a thankless and uphill road to take, but thank you for taking it. The kids are all the better for it, and it is much appreciated by people who share your passion for fresh and local foods.
"Fantastic to hear of D11's Good Food Project - our family so believes in healthy foods - wonderful - I'll register my daughter via your online meal payment system to support this great step forward in D11's foodservice program - thank you!"
"My name is Mary Gronberg, mother of 3 with one student at Keller this year. I am writing to tell you how pleased I am for your interest in wholesome, nutritious food for the school system. I majored in nutrition but work as an RN and see the direct result of poor nutrition in repeatedly sick children in the ER. I believe diet is first and foremost in building a strong immune system. With the worst possible food being the cheapest these days, so many kids don't have a choice but to eat whatever their parents can afford. At least at school some of them may now be able to have the intake they deserve as far as less processed and convenient foods. I am so glad to have learned of your new mission as I had big concerns about my kindergartners choice to eat hot lunch every day at school. I ask her everyday what she ate for lunch and make sure I round out her diet with the rest of food choices in the evening. I sincerely support your efforts!!!"
"One of the students said to me today, Boy am I glad you have real food now! Instead of chicken nuggets and pizza all the time."
Bates Elementary Kitchen Manager
"I am just thrilled and excited by your attitude on good food. The next step I hope for the school district is total organic in all the schools at all levels. I realize that there is probably a cost issue with this at this time. I hope that as the demand for organic and local foods that prices will decrease making good food that is good for us common place.
As a family we have been "organic" for many years now and can tell the difference in the way we feel. Our immune systems are stronger, on the occasions that we do get sick we seem to bounce back quicker. Since reading the news letter I feel better about my daughter eating breakfast and lunch at school. She is currently at Taylor Elementary and will by heading off to Middle school next year.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication. My family votes FARM!!!!!!"
Sincerely, Alisa Lockwood
"My son usually takes a lunch to school, but on the days when he wants to have a school lunch, I want him to be able to have good food choices like he does at home!"
"I'm so glad to hear about the changes you're making to the school lunches. Our daughter goes to Divine Redeemer School and they serve the D-11 lunches. It's nice to know the kids will be getting healthier meals. Way to go!"
Donna and Gary Welch
"I am so excited that District 11 is gearing towards more healthy lunch choices. My son currently eats hot lunch at his school only a couple
times a week because we eat mostly organic, unprocessed food in our home, and I want to limit his intake of processed foods. If the menu became more wholesome I would definitely allow my son to eat hot lunch everyday. I think learning to eat healthy is a VERY important skill that kids really need in today's society of fast food and junk food eating. I am 100% supportive of more wholesome lunches, even if it raises the price. I believe children act up when they are filled with sugar, fats, dyes, and preservatives. I notice a huge difference in my son's behavior when he eats these ingredients. I feel the change to healthier lunches will result in giving children the gift of enjoying
healthy foods, and maybe the schools will notice better behavior all around!"
"I was thrilled to read about the "Good Food" idea in District 11. I support it 110% and I'm so happy to be in a district that knows what's best for our children. Our family follows the checklist of "Characteristics of Good Food" and I'm glad the school will be attempting this too.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I hope other schools in the nation take District 11's lead."
"I very much agree with this change! I have a picky eater who prefers all of the typical "kid foods" (chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, pizza) but likes the natural and organic versions! It would be great knowing my efforts at home were being continued at school! Let me know how I can be of assistance to this program."
"I love hearing this. Thanks for your efforts to move in this direction!"
"Hello, I'm the content manager for PikesPeakParent.com. I just wanted to let you know that I believe what you are doing at D11 Food Services is the single most important issue for parents in the Pikes Peak region.
Here's something they can actually do to make life better for their children. I'm behind you all the way. I intend to link to your Good Food page and the February letter to parents.
I encourage you or someone involved with what you are doing to join our site and post information and news from this effort.
Thanks for all that you are doing!
Pikes Peak Parent Magazine
"I am so thrilled that you and the District 11 school are implementing the D-11 Good Food Project standards!! I completely agree with your letter to the parents and the kids about this program. Loved the sentence "Foods that come from the earth like those that come from a "farm" or "ranch" are far better for you than foods that come from a scientist's laboratory or factory"! At home we purchase organic meats and produce and try to grow as much as we can in our own gardens."
Thank you for providing this education and making the right choice in breakfast and lunches for our children!"
Chipeta Elementary School Parent
"My wife (a D11 teacher) and I both want to thank the D11 FNS for their efforts to provide quality meals and food to our children. We have recently switched over to provide our children with take to school meals from home. However, we feel that all children benefit from good food. We are discouraged to read about some districts in our nation that follow a far lower set of priorities concern the feeding of our children. Those priorities need to be re-examined. It is shameful to not place the highest priority on providing quality food to children.
Your effort to emphasize fruits and vegetables, unprocessed and local foods is to be applauded and supported. Keep up the good work. One more reason we are proud to have our children attend D11 schools! Thank you."
Taylor Elementary, Palmer HS
"We're interested in the health of ALL children and the health of the planet. The Good Food program looks promising. I would add that a characteristic of good food is also NO genetically-modified food, and organic whenever possible."
Sabin Middle School
"Although not part of D11, CMCA is a part of D11's lunch program and I have to say that I am SO pleased! Thank you, Mr. Hughes, for your efforts in helping our kids eat a healthier and more natural diet. You are to be applauded! I appreciate your conveying this information to us parents as we strive to create a healthier environment for our kids."
Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy