HISD’s Nutrition Services Department was praised recently by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) as a “role model” for other districts after achieving a near-perfect score on an administrative review.
The preliminary review debriefing took place on Feb. 26, and Nutrition Services was praised for its efforts to provide HISD students with the best school meals in the state.
“HISD Nutrition Services is the biggest in Texas,” said TDA Assistant Director for School Operations Nicole Sierra-Notarianni, who oversaw the four-month long review. “We always want to come here and tell others about what you guys are doing. At the national level we can say, ‘Hey, Houston is doing this. They are a role model. Call them.’”
Lianka Soliz, Nutrition Services senior manager of Meal Compliance and Menu Innovation, and her team led the preparation efforts for the assessment.
“We conducted self-audits,” Soliz said. “Throughout the year, the team met regularly to discuss and fix identified deficiencies, develop potential training needs, project progressions, and create timelines for audit documentation gathering and submission.”
The TDA audited Nutrition Services in all areas of its food service processes, such as food production, safety records, field operations, student eligibility, and finances. It commended district employees and leadership for communicating precise processes and procedures from the central offices to the schools.
“You have some rock stars out in the schools,” noted TDA Lead Monitor Cathy Brady. “Lee High School’s kitchen is a well-oiled machine.”
The administrative review ensures that Nutrition Services meets all state and federal regulations when implementing the various school meal programs HISD operates.