New menu options for Gary school menus

DUAB tells Gary schools 'serve your students better food'

Contributed By:The 411 News

District and Sodexo quickly respond to students, parents, and community's concerns

If students, parents and community members thought their voices didn't count, they were wrong. Wednesday in Indianapolis, Gary Community School Corporation officials sat down with its governing body, the Distressed Unit Appeal Board to address them.

On the agenda was a follow up to October's DUAB meeting in Gary that included an hour’s long portion where the public was allowed to comment on the operations of the state-run Gary school district. Poor impressions outweighed the good.

Coming in at the top for complaints were school climate, a communications gap with parents and the public, and student meals.

DUAB panel member Paul Joyce recalled the meeting in Gary where he heard a West Side student's comments about the breakfast he was served. That student, Samuel Coleman told the DUAB he received an "Ultra Bread Slice" for breakfast.

"I agree with him; he does deserve better. They all deserve better," Joyce said, adding students should be fed nourishing meals because food feeds their minds and makes them feel better.

Joyce asked GCSC Manager Paige McNulty, "Are you going to eat Ultra Bread Slice? Is that what you want for your breakfast, for your children?"

Dr. McNulty said Sodexo, the district's food service operator quickly responded to the concerns heard at the DUAB meeting in Gary.

Sodexo has issued a survey asking students what they would like to see on the menu.

More food warmers have been added at the elementary and middle schools so students can have warm breakfasts. More hot choices for breakfast will also be added at West Side. Sodexo has started hosting a parent meeting and will soon allow them to come in and eat with their children so they can see the types of meals served.

Salad and taco bars have been added.

Dr. McNulty said climate has greatly improved. "Security has gotten better at all schools. We've had a great 4-5 weeks that had virtually no issues. Things are going well." Student fights at West Side caused alarms not only with parents and students but with community members.

There are numerous ways for families and the public to engage with school officials, Dr. McNulty said, via public meetings hosted by the district, on the district's scheduled radio shows, and principals' monthly meetings at their schools.

At the October meeting, many in the public criticized Dr. McNulty for not responding to their phone calls and emails seeking answers or meetings.

Joyce asked Dr. McNulty for the district's policy on returning calls and emails. "Like in all school districts, concerns should be directed to the school principal first. If it isn't resolved with the principal, then go to the director of elementary or secondary education," Dr. McNulty said. "If that doesn't work or it's a community concern, certainly I'll get involved."

Each school has a F.A.C.E. (Family and Community Engagement) liaison who can help facilitate concerns and complaints. Also, the district has a form on its website that can be submitted and replied to.

Dr. McNulty said follow-up on the top 3 concerns will be posted on the district's website.

Story Posted:11/20/2021

» Press Release Homepage

Add Comment

Name (Required)  
Comment (Required)  

View Comments