New Breakfast and Lunch Program

Dearborn Public Schools is overhauling its school menu this year!  Students are in for a more diverse menu, more options every day, more fresh produce, and more made-from-scratch meals.

Parents will see menus that are easier to find and understand – right down to being able to look up possible allergens and even carb counts online for every dish.

The changes come after the district hired Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE) to help oversee the food service program.  The company has provided nutritionists and chefs to help transition the district to a program with a much more expansive and fresh from scratch menu, including training the District staff on how to cook these meals.  In addition, SFE will help improve food service operational, procurement and financial tracking systems and reinforce nutritional and safety protocols.  SFE works in 150 school districts around the country offering several employee management models.  In Dearborn, District employees will continue to run and staff our kitchens, working in close partnership with SFE.

Students will see dramatic differences in this year’s menu, staring with more made from scratch meals, promised Joshua Bain, SFE senior general manager of food service. 

“The district has been doing a lot of heat-and-eat because it was easy,” Bain said.  Now, everything will be handmade, down to the sandwiches.

“We will actually spread peanut butter on bread,” Bain assured.  More than 75 percent of SFE’s offerings are fresh-from-scratch.

The first short week of school shows the changes.  Students will be offered orange chicken with rice, Thai veggie stir fry, and beef tacos.  Elementary schools will offer at least three entrée items each day, middle schools four to six, and high schools six to eight.  In previous years, elementary schools offered only one other option, the same vegetarian second choice for the entire week.

All the meat served in Dearborn will now be halal.  Before some schools offered all halal, while other had a mix, which contributed to confusion about which menu was being served at which school.

Parents of picky eaters should not panic – the menu still includes kid favorites like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.  Children will also have a chance to sample new things.

“Every single K-12 school will have an option for fruit and vegetable bars,” Bain said.  The bars will be included in the lunch, instead of a separate a la carte item as it was at some schools.

The district is hiring more staff to help with the cooking, and employees spent four days training on the new menus.  Kitchen equipment was also upgraded with more knives, cutting boards, measuring cups and mixing bowls so staff in every kitchen could cook from scratch, Bain said.  One of the biggest additions is immersion blenders so staff can make items like smoothies and eventually hummus.

Even the breakfast options will now include handmade elements like yogurt parfaits, in addition to the familiar cereal boxes and fruit.

Last school year, Dearborn Public Schools began offering free lunch and breakfast to all kindergarten through 12th grade students across the district. The meals were provided through a special community qualification program offered through the U.S.D.A. school lunch program.  Dearborn served 2,050,258 school lunches last school year, up from 1.8 million the previous year.  Breakfasts increased to 684,049, up from 646,901 the previous year.

Dearborn Public Schools has about 20,700 students.

Bain said for the first few months this year, the menu will reflect was SFE knows works in other districts across the country.  As information comes back on what Dearborn students prefer, the menu will be tweaked.  His chefs will also be working on items that might be popular locally, such as fresh from scratch hummus.

Menus will be available through the Nutrislice software.  Nutrislice also offers an app so parents can check what meal is being offered and see nutrition information for each meal.  The links include details like calories, protein, and potential allergens such as dairy, wheat and more.  The first menus are already posted at https://dearbornschools.nutrislice.com/menu/.

Parents should be reassured that the lunches still meet stringent federal nutritional requirements.  Meals must meet regulations for items such as dairy, whole grains, total calories and certain nutrients.

“Fat is regulated, and sodium is regulated.  Flavor is not,” Bain said.

Meeting those complex requirements, while trying to serve a variety of flavorful food, is part of what lead the district to bring in an outside food service company to share its expertise. SFE’s fees, and all other food service costs, are paid for from meal sales and federal reimbursements.  General fund dollars are not used for food service.

Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said improving the menu offerings was often requested by his Student Advisory Council.   Improving the menu became even more significant with last year’s switch to free meals across the District.

The first day of school, Monday, August 26, is a half day of school. The first bell to enter the building will sound at 8:35 AM with the tardy bell sounding at 8:40 AM. Dismissal for all half days is 11:45 AM. Tuesday, August 27th will be a full day of school for students in grades 1-5. Regular dismissal time is 3:35 PM. Please make a note of the school office phone: 313-827-6750. It is important to call the school every time your child is going to be absent, tardy, or needs an early dismissal from class so that unnecessary calls to you may be avoided. If your student arrives after 8:40 a.m. (9:40 a.m. on late start days) you must come into the office to sign in your student. Students may enter the building after 8:10 for breakfast only, there is no supervision prior to that.

Important Reminder

New this school year, ALL student emergency cards are to be updated online through Parent Connect. You can access Parent Connect through the Dearborn Schools Website (dearbornschools.org) Parent Portal.

River Oaks will be open on Tuesday, August 20th from 12:30pm – 3pm for any parent that would like to stop by and use a computer. Staff will be available to assist with updating emergency cards. You cannot do updates on a cell phone or IPad.

PTA Planning Meeting

Please join Mr. Martin at the planning meeting with the River Oaks PTA on Tuesday August 20, 2019. The meeting is at 1:00 p.m. Please come and help plan this school year with fun events. Please pass this information on to everyone who would like to come plan this years events.

School Bond

Dearborn Schools seeking November bond vote
Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education recently approved language to be placed on a November 5th,
2019 ballot asking residents to approve a $240 million bond proposal for the district.
The $240 million is the amount of money that can be added to the current bond debt without increasing the
current millage rate of 4.82. If the bond is passed, residents would not pay more in taxes as the debt millage rate
will stay the same, but the district would be able to make many much needed infrastructure repairs and updates,
improve security and safety, and address other areas such as capacity.
The district has dubbed the bond BRICS for the areas it will target – Buildings, Renovations, Infrastructure,
Capacity and Safety. The main focus will be infrastructure including boilers and related equipment, restrooms,
roofs, exterior doors and windows, LED lighting, paving and sidewalks, and technology infrastructure. Some
buses and technology needs will also be purchased.
These focus areas were identified during several months of work by the Citizens Infrastructure Task Force.
The group presented its findings to the Board of Education in October 2018. The task force reported that
infrastructure, capacity, and safety most needed to be addressed, but it also included air conditioning as a separate
item for consideration.
Under the bond, capacity would include additions at a few elementary level buildings, renovating and creating
classroom space, and constructing special education classrooms. The district is also looking at acquiring two
buildings on the Henry Ford College campus, an ideal site to accommodate the expanding Early College programs
and the growing Adult Education program. The Early College programs also help relieve overcrowding at the
traditional high schools.
Security and safety changes in the bond proposal include improving how visitors can access schools. In some
cases that may mean remodeling or moving the main office closer to the front doors for better control and
monitoring of who enters the building during the school day.
Every school building would see some improvement if the bond is approved. On average, each elementary
school would get $4 million in work, middle schools $8 million, and high schools $15 million.
The official language approved by the board in July says, in part,: “In the opinion of this Board it is necessary
and expedient to ask voters whether to approve a bond project consisting of erecting, furnishing, and equipping
additions to and remodeling, furnishing, and equipping and re-equipping existing school buildings and other
facilities; purchasing school buildings and related sites; acquiring and installing instructional technology in school
buildings; purchasing school buses; and erecting, furnishing, equipping, preparing, developing, and improving
playgrounds, playfields, athletic fields and facilities, and sites.”
The bonds would be issued in two sets. The first series would provide about $86 million in the first three
years. The second series would provide $154 million in years four through six. If the bond is approved
November 5 th , construction on the first projects could begin in the spring of 2020. The bond is expected to be the
only question on the November ballot.
Dearborn Public Schools includes 34 buildings and 3.2 million square feet of building space. The district has
20,700 students.
For more information about the bond, residents are encouraged to visit the District’s bond site at
https://iblog.dearbornschools.org/bond/. Information on the site will be updated as it becomes available. District
officials also plan to host a series of meetings at schools and with community groups this fall to inform residents
about the bond. A schedule of those meetings will also be available on the site as the dates are finalized.

2019-20 Kindergarten Soft Start & No School Days

Kindergarten Soft Start:

Half days – Monday, August 26 – Thursday, August 2

(No school Friday, August 30th or Monday, September 2 – Labor Day Break)

Kindergartners attend half day sessions the first week of school This half day schedule allows for a gradual transition to school and will include lunch on the 27th – 29th.

 

Kindergarten No School Days 2019-20

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Friday, February 7, 2020

All Young Five and Kindergarten teachers will participate in professional learning on these dates during the 2019-20 school year.

Content is based on state curriculum and includes language arts, math, science and social studies. Additional areas of focus will be on social-emotional development, assessment and core values.

Dearborn School 2019-20 calendar updates

Dearborn Schools updates 2019-20 calendar

 

Dearborn Schools has updated next year’s calendar, making spring break 2020 a day shorter due to state testing schedules, but ending the school year a day earlier.

Spring break next year will now run from April 6 to 10.  The following Monday, April 13, will now be a regular day of school, instead of an additional day off.  This is because juniors and some seniors across the state will take the required SAT test on April 14.  The District felt it prudent to get students settled back into school for a day before this important exam.  SAT is used to measure student growth and as a college entrance exam.

Since spring break was shortened, the last day of school was also moved up a day to Thursday, June 11, 2020.

The Dearborn Federation of Teachers approved the calendar updates on June 6.

All other aspects of the calendar initially released in January are still the same.  That includes starting school on August 26, 2019 with a half day.  Students and staff will have both Friday and Monday off for a long Labor Day weekend.  The District will also be closed for a full week Feb. 17 to 21 for Midwinter Break.  Eid al-Fitr will also be days off, but that coincides with Memorial Day weekend in 2020, which was already four days off for the District.

Many factors go into determining the school calendar including a state requirement for 180 days of school, a countywide common calendar, community needs, and professional development obligations.  The administration and the Dearborn Federation of Teachers spend many hours working together on the various details that need to be considered before a final calendar is approved.

The 2019-2020 calendar is only the second time the Dearborn Public Schools has had to follow a change in state law requiring schools to provide 180 days of instruction.  That change added five days for the current school year.  Another state law requires that school start after Labor Day, but in recent years districts have been allowed to request a waiver to start earlier.  Next year will be the second time since 2006 Dearborn Schools has started before Labor Day.

The county common calendar sets the dates for winter break, spring break, Good Friday, and Presidents Day.  The school calendar also must also reflect the needs of the local community, which for Dearborn means days off around the Eid holidays. Districts lose some state funding if attendance falls below 75 percent at any building.

The 2019-2020 District calendar once again includes late start dates that will be used for professional development and school improvement planning.  The late start dates have been extremely helpful in providing teachers and principals with time to meet, collaborate with colleagues, work on school improvement goals, and improve student instruction.  The first of the seven late start dates will occur on Wednesday, September 25.  Late starts will continue on various Wednesdays throughout the year.

The 2019-2020 calendar is be posted on the District’s website and can be accessed by visiting https://dearbornschools.org/services/district-calendars/. Visitors will be able to download a PDF version or view an online calendar.  Parents are reminded to check with their child’s school for important events and activities unique to their school and not appearing on the District calendar

Preschool & Kindergarten Registration

Preschool registration is open for enrollment for any child that is 4 years old by December 1st. Please stop by the office to pick up a registration packet. Must live in the River Oaks boundaries.

 

Kindergarten registration is also open for enrollment you child must be 5 by September 1st. Please stop by the office to pick up a registration packet. You must live in the River Oaks boundaries.

 

 

Read by Third Grade

Parents, community members invited to Read by Third Grade task force

Dearborn Public Schools is creating a parent and community task force to look at the Read by Third Grade law scheduledPR 21 Read by 3rd grade Maples students to take effect next year.  Under the law, any third grader who is considered more than a year behind in reading must be recommended to repeat the grade.

The task force will allow the community to learn more about the complicated law and offer input on how the district addresses it.

“The goal is to strengthen the planning process and to ensure that the community is informed and engaged in the success of every student,” said Jill Chochol, Executive Director of Student Achievement for the Edsel Ford Feeder Track.  She is also spearheading the district’s Read by Third Grade initiative.

Community members who are interested in participating on the committee are encouraged to sign up here. The district has also created a Read by Third Grade blog, where information will be posted as it becomes available.  Visitors can subscribe to the blog to stay up to date.

The current second graders are the first students who will be retained under the law.

Click here to read the full Read by Third Grade article.

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