Special Events Planner Nicole Bean has always been an organizer at heart, and that’s how she approaches scheduling and planning events in HISD’s catering department Houston Eats.
Bean is responsible for planning and overseeing events and creating the orders for them. Her attention to detail and ability to accommodate the needs of Houston Eats’ customers has proven to be an asset in her role.
“If you have 30 schools that want something all at the same time, it’s physically hard to be at all those places,” Bean said. “We only have so many delivery vans, so we have to be really creative in how we schedule. We also offer pickups. We really do try to accommodate everybody.”
Growing up during the late 1970s and 1980s in Houston’s South Park neighborhood, Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and his childhood friends could never tell that anyone around them was going without or in need.
It wasn’t until he was an adult, he said, that he came to understand more about some of the choices that his family had to make — like always cooking at home and never eating out — to stay within their budget.
“There are a lot of families that go without food during the holidays,” Busby said. “It’s important for us to do what we can do address their needs, especially during the holiday season.”
The meals served to HISD students undertake a unique journey before arriving at school cafeterias, and Research and Development Chef Christopher Keegan is an essential part of that process.
Keegan is responsible for producing tasty creations that are nutritious, cost-effective, easy to prepare at the school level, and have accessible ingredients.
“I enjoy coming up with dishes that don’t look like school food,” said Keegan, who works for HISD’s Nutrition Services. “I’m constantly looking through magazines and cookbooks. We’re starting to do more international dishes, and we’re also looking at some vegan recipes.”
Visitors from Pittsburgh Public Schools toured DeBakey High School for Health Professions recently to learn more about the state-of-the-art campus and Nutrition Services.
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent’s Chief of Staff Errika Fearbry Jones said their district’s strategic plan includes adding another science-based school and incorporating scratch cooking into its food services.
“Houston is cutting-edge, so we’re coming here to kill two birds with one stone,” Jones said. “You’ve got to bring people along if you want them to buy in.”
Parents flooded the Lantrip Elementary School cafeteria Thursday as they joined their children — clad in pilgrim hats, white bonnets, and colorful turkey headbands — for a nutritious Thanksgiving lunch.
The annual celebration hosted by HISD’s Nutrition Services has attracted thousands of families to school cafeterias for more than 50 years. This year’s menu included roasted turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, a fresh fruit medley, and ice cream.
“We get a ton of volunteers, but it takes everyone,” Lantrip Principal Magdalena Strickland said, noting that about half of the school’s 700 families participate in the Thanksgiving lunch each year. “When parents know you care for their kids, they’ll go above and beyond.”
Leticia Resendiz spends her weekdays at Seguin Elementary School, carefully preparing and serving wholesome meals to eager students.
A dedicated employee, she carefully reviews the instructions of every recipe and always remembers to follow health and safety regulations.
“I’m happy with this job,” Resendiz said. “I love giving the kids their breakfast and lunch. Everyone is so nice to me.”
Resendiz is one of four food service attendants hired by Nutrition Services in partnership with two transition programs — HISD-HCC Lifeskills and HISD/HEART (Housing, Entrepreneurship, and Readiness Training).
The programs are designed to help HISD special education students who have met all academic and course requirements for graduation but require transition services to complete their Individualized Education Program.
The Houston Independent School District will provide free breakfast and lunch to students for the 2019-2020 school year, but parents will need to fill out a new form to ensure Title I funding for HISD schools.
All HISD schools are qualified to operate under the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Community Eligibility Provision, which allows HISD to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner at no charge to all students, eliminating the need for free and reduced-price meal applications.
While parents will not need to complete and return a free and reduced-price meal application, they will need to complete a socioeconomic form (see below), known as the blue form.
With more than 7,000 employees,
Business Operations is the largest division in HISD. But what exactly do we do?
Before students can ever file
into their classrooms, bus drivers and crossing guards must get them safely to
school. Cafeteria workers must make them a nutritious breakfast. Custodians,
police officers, and construction crews must make sure they have new, clean,
safe spaces in which to learn.
The breadth of our work touches
all facets of the district, and support is at the heart of everything we do. We
help lay the foundation for student success — most of the time behind the
school faculty will soon have the opportunity to show their appreciation to
cafeteria staff during School Lunch Hero Day.
On May 3,
Nutrition Services will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day, a nationwide
celebration that honors school nutrition professionals for the valuable work
they do each day. The observance will allow students and school staff to
celebrate their campus’ cafeteria team.