October Edi-bles harvestfest

(Tidbits from the Edison kitchen)

We are off to a great start this year. There is so much that could be covered, but I think it best to take this month’s newsletter to thank some people.

First – the students! On the first day of school I had a chance to talk with each class and explain some of our changes this year. I asked for their patience, respect, and kindness, and they have been wonderful. While we hope the district is providing an excellent meal, we also understand that it is an enormous amount of change to which our students are being asked to adjust. This is not always easy, but they have handled it with enthusiasm and kindness.

Second – the teachers. Whatever change the students experience, our teachers experience it to the 30th power. Their support, encouragement and participation have been remarkable and immensely helpful.

Third – the parents. This is my first autumn working at a school, and so my first time to deal with beginning of the year issues. As a result, many times I am learning right along with you. I have been trying hard to update you on your student’s account, and the quirks, hiccups, and confusion that go with starting the year. Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding.

Next – please APPRECIATE YOUR LOCAL SONIA!!! If you spend any time at Edison, you no doubt know Sonia Barnes. She is an Educational Assistant who helps every day in the cafeteria during lunch. It would be impossible to describe the level of commitment, energy, resourcefulness, and flexibility she contributes to Edison lunch. Every single day she comes flying down the stairs (with walking feet, of course) at 11:13 and sings out, “Ok, what do I need to know today, Ray?” She gets two minutes to adjust and receive information while automatically taking care of whatever has been forgotten or hasn’t been taken care of yet. Every single day the system is being tweaked and adjusted, and she adjusts immediately and always with a smile. Then she serves, stocks, cleans and welcomes our students with a remarkable amount of energy.

When we were making plans for changes to our meal presentation this year, all of our advantages and limitations had to be taken into account. I can say with complete honesty that if I had not known that I would have Sonia’s assistance every day, we simply could not do this system as it exists. We would have had to make other decisions, and lunch as we know it at this point would not exist. We are light-years ahead of where we would be without her, and will be able to continue to push forward and make adjustments and advancements because of her.

Please, if you get a chance, thank Sonia for her effort and commitment to lunch at Edison.

Lunch at Edison also requires an enormous commitment from 4J. My bosses work behind the scenes to make sure we can continue to see where this program can lead. I have had a boss show up at six in the morning to fix my computer so that nothing in that day’s service would be interrupted. I have had a boss show up at 7 am with twenty pounds of oatmeal in one arm and twenty pounds of granola in the other because new

vendors had been secured and she wanted us to have them for breakfast that day. I have had four separate bosses drop everything and assign themselves to help serve at Edison because each felt it was necessary on that day. The commitment to this program and its’ success is proven every day.

We have completed one month in our new system. It is not perfect, and we will not stop working to improve and refine. As I wrote before the school year, it is just the starting line, and there is no finish line. We have celebrated Harvest Lunch, honored our 1st grade Souper Heroes, and welcomed our victorious Toucans back from Jog-a- Thon. We have limitations in our equipment that challenge our abilities to keep hot things hot, cold things cold, and everything fresh, vibrant, and nutritious. The month of October will be spent in heavy analysis of what can be done and needs to be done to improve and stabilize the program now that we have a baseline month to compare to.

Because of all of this, it would be impossible to describe how important volunteer help would be in the kitchen at this point. It is not that we need mountains of volunteer hours – just some strategically placed extra hands and smiles. We are slowly trying to build the map for how lunch can possibly be at Edison, and anyone with time or interest would help tremendously in allowing that process to continue. If anyone in interested in volunteering at any time, please contact Ray in the kitchen.