Recently, we caught up with Debbie Needham, Texas Association of School Nutrition President and Director of Child Nutrition at New Caney Independent School District. New Caney is a small town located on the northern outskirts of Houston, TX, and has been experiencing huge growth in recent years.
Some stats about the New Caney ISD Child Nutrition Program:
- 16 serving sites + 7 concession sites
- 12,000+ students in district
- added 3,000+ students in the past 5 years
- average of 60% free and reduced district-wide
Stephen, Jaren, and I sat down with Debbie to pick her brain about all things school nutrition. Considering taking one or more of your schools off the NSLP? Debbie can talk to that. Active in your state’s nutrition association? Debbie is your woman. Experiencing astronomical growth in your district and struggling to keep up? Debbie’s been through that too! She’s a wealth of knowledge, and it was a pleasure to chat with her.
We’ve pulled out some of the best nuggets from our conversation with her and highlighted them in the post below. We hope that you enjoy our conversation! Also, keep in mind that if multi-tasking is your jam, you can listen to our interview on Episodes #2 and #3 of PEP Talks – our bi-weekly podcast.
Q: Can you talk about taking your high schools off the NSLP and your experience with that?
A: Taking the high schools off the program was quite a challenge. In our area, we are quite limited with restaurants – so to offer a variety – we are very limited under the national nutrition guidelines, especially for high school students. I wanted to open the doors and let them explore some additional items.
We took both high schools off