St. Paul Schools has an extremely diverse student population with more than 39,000 students speaking over 120 languages and who often come from immigrant families suspicious of food served outside the home and anxious about how their children eat. Parent Night is designed to allay those fears by giving parents an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at the school Nutrition Center (central kitchen) operation.
The program includes a 45-minute tour of the facilities (with translators provided by the Parent Advisory Councils), followed by the serving of an actual school lunch and then a nutrition education session with educators from the Simply Good Eating Program through the University of Minnesota.
In the 2012-13 school year, the department hosted four Parent Nights, each focusing on a different major ethnic population in the city (Karen, Somali, Hmong, Latino), and averaging around 120 participants apiece.
Jean Ronnei, Director
Monica McNaughton, Assistant Director
Angie Gaszak, Nutrition Specialist
Tessa Acker, Dietetic Intern
Nutrition Center Staff:
Joe Byrne, Nutrition Center Production Manager
Geoff Adams, Caron Atkinson, NC Supervisors
Mary Parsons, Rashidat Sowemimo, Debbie Batiste, Cindy Timmers, Sue Rousu, Alan Smith, Linda Puente, Cathy McFadden, Kris McMahon, Angie Latham - Nutrition Services Assistants
Office of Family Engagement & Community Partnerships:
Jackie Turner, Chief of Engagement
Tyrize Cox, Director, Office of Family Engagement & Community Partnerships
Bee Lee, Parent Academy Administrator
Hsajune Dyan, Karen PAC Lead
Pierre Cejudo, Pablo Matamoros, Latino Consent Decree Coordinators
Mohamed Hadi, Somali Culture Specialist
Michael Thao, Hmong PAC Lead
University of MN, Extension, Simply Good Eating Program: