It’s a bird, it’s a plane- no, it’s the Frazer Eagle Café! - the first of its kind in the 28-building urban district- and its kids are soaring over the awesome new “café”. Colorful, healthy food and activity choice “artwork” decorates the cafeteria walls and menu boards feature daily lunch offerings as students are invited to enter the café; The re-designed lunch line entices students to choose the healthier entrée, the creatively named vegetables, the fresh fruit layered in tiered baskets, and the super-chilled milk featuring the white milk front and center.
Annette Marchbanks, Assistant Food Service Director for the Syracuse City School District eagerly embraced the idea of piloting the Smarter Lunchroom Makeover (SLM) in the SCSD four middle schools when CCE Onondaga Nutrition educators approached her with the team from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in 2012. Annette attended the SLR training course armed with the tools and motivation to enact change. One year later, she spearheaded the makeover for Frazer Elementary Cafeteria with administration, teachers and students working together to create a welcoming, colorful and very progressive “café” to replace the former lunchroom.
Annette plans to tackle a few schools in the district each year until ALL Syracuse City Schools are transformed into Smarter Lunchrooms. Under the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all of the 20,000 plus district students may receive both breakfast and lunch at no cost, regardless of income. As such, it is critical to enact changes to increase the amount of nutritious food that was consumed and enjoyed and to reduce plate waste.
The Frazer Elementary team led by the School’s Lunch Manager, Susan Rodriquez, quickly realized that a comprehensive makeover that incorporated key components from the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement research was the best approach to success. They formed a 32-member SNAC team (Student Nutrition Advisory Council) featuring youth from the K-5 “Say Yes to Education” after-school program. With help from student interns and support from the American Cancer Society student interns: