Tuesday, August 31, 2010

PIZZA PI: A delicious slice of the Tipping Point in School Meals

Earlier this week, Tanya Harter, Director of Nutrition Services, sent me the fall secondary menu for Chico (California) Unified School District. The menu came along with several colorful photos of their new (and very popular) Build-Your-Own-Salad Bar, which you can see on School Meals That Rock.

I was reading the menu right around lunchtime and my stomach certainly approved - and so did my nutritionist brain! Sure, there were plenty of typical teen-pleasing options (hamburgers, veggies burgers, tacos, and the like), but there was also Teriyaki Chicken over Veggies and
Brown Rice, a Turkey and Mandarin Wrap, and a Veggie Hoagie. Clearly, these school meals rock!

Then my eyes landed on the words at the very bottom of the menu: Pizza Pi ... and I naturally thought what kind of pizza is that? Well, it's an amazing example of what I am calling the "Tipping Point in School Meals." Here's a slightly edited description in Tanya's own words:

The Pizza PI is a fun new program that we started last spring. With some ARRA funds, we purchased a pizza oven. We spent the winter researching crust, toppings, and recipes to come up with 5 pizzas. Then we went to our 7 secondary school sites, and met with student leadership – pizza samples in hand. We explained the concept, let them try it, and they filled out a survey letting us know what they liked, didn't like, and what should change. At the same time we held a contest to name our pizza, with an iPod Touch as a prize for the student (and his/her teacher) of the winning name. The media got involved with the contest and participation soared. An 8th grader came up with the winning name, Pizza Pi: Intelligence in Every Bite.

All I can add is WOW - Pizza Pi rocks in my book !

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