BY LEANN DILBECK –
Cossatot River School District launched a new partnership with K12 Culinary Connection for this school year and hosted a Grand Re-Opening last week, giving parents and guardians an opportunity to eat with their student and see the improvements the program has brought. According to Cossatot River Superintendent Donnie Davis, the success of the program is in the quality of the food and allowing students to make choices.
Davis explained that before their partnership with Culinary Connection, it was difficult to get students to eat lunch provided at school. “We noticed there was a lot of full trays that were just getting thrown out, the kids weren’t eating the food and for many of our students, that may be the only full meal they will receive all day.” Federal health guidelines for school lunches had made some district’s food unpalatable, but with the recipes and training received from Chef Justin Mills, they are noticing that the students are now clearing their trays. Pizza and orange chicken have emerged as the favorites, “The pizzas are a big winner on all our campuses, especially the homemade pizza prepared after Culinary Connection came in and trained our staff,” Davis added.
Each of Cossatot River’s cafeterias on the Vandervoort, Wickes, and Umpire campuses are now equipped salad bars giving students additional choices and encouraging students to make healthy choices.
Davis admitted that having choices has been challenging for the younger students, “The kindergarten kids really struggle with the choices but they are catching on.”
Davis said the district has received many accolades from the parents and guardians who attended the event last week, “We have received a lot of positive comments from the parents who attended the grand re-opening. We feel very positive about the new K12 Culinary Connection.”