Tom Lewis, FaHN VISTA, recently visited the Broome-Tioga BOCES Food Service office in Endicott, NY to speak with Ray Denniston, Special Projects Coordinator, and Julie Raway, MPH, RDN, CDN, SNS, and the Rock on Café Registered Dietitian, to learn more about their organization and the many exciting projects they are currently working on.
Broome-Tioga BOCES Food Service’s mission is “to enrich the educational process by providing a quality child nutrition program” and their vision is “to be nationally recognized as a premier child nutrition program.” Their role as the food service provider for Broome and Tioga County began when the public schools were all individually managed by their own separate directors. BOCES’ role expanded when instead of hiring a new director after another one left, they instead merged with BOCES so they could have shared services. Currently all 15 school districts in Broome and Tioga County are part of the BT-BOCES management program. According to their website their services to districts include: menu planning, purchasing, staff supervision, budgeting, and much more. A unique feature of their setup is that they manage the school district’s programs as far as procurement and training, but the programs themselves are still individually owned by each school district.
What is each of your positions in BT-BOCES and what are some of the programs you both work on?
Julie: I’m a registered dietitian and work with the school nutrition programs in all the districts. I lead the menu development team, which is comprised of food service directors and managers. I also lead a recipe development team that works on recipes for new menu items. In addition to the menu, there are many other aspects of my job. Some include presentations and workshops with students, media organization including having our menus read on the TV and the radio, community events and health promotions, and working with our many partners. Essentially, half of my job is food service and the other half is community. The food service piece is working on menus, recipes, and nutrient analysis. The other part is working with community partners to bring the wellness component into our programs and connecting food service, health, community, and hunger. Basically, bringing them all together.
Ray: I do a lot with the purchasing, bidding, specifications, and working directly with Julie. I look at price and Julie looks at nutrition and then if it’s a go, Julie takes it for taste testing, to look at acceptability. On the other side of that, I also work with the community as well. I work with the Broome County Child Hunger Coalition, the Broome County Health Department, Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS), Albany Farm to School, staff training, and anything we can do to emphasize and promote the program and its importance. Mark Bordeau who is the Senior Food Service Director (Mark was recently named Food Service Director of the year by the School Nutrition Association. You can read more about him here.), really oversees the whole program and brings in a lot of our philosophies. The staff created the mission statement. We worked with them in groups until they came up with their scope of where they wanted to take the program. Continue reading