Community Connections ProjectMy quest to learn more about the food in and around Toki Middle School and Meadowood Neighborhood Courtney Moser
FOOD IN THE SCHOOL I first wanted to learn more about the food that the students at Toki MiddleSchool eat. What do they eat and what programs are in place surrounding school Akira Toki provided food?
Breakfast & Lunch menu *There is a wide variety of food available to students for lunch. The school also provides breakfast for the students. I am curious about the regulations around what they can serve, the nutrition of this food, and how much it costs. This impacts parents and students and math is involved in determining these answers.
The MMSD Food Program“The MMSD Eatery believes that Good Nutrition is a Key toLearning” In general, parents and the community want the children in their school to be learning and thriving. One key component of this is making sure that students are receiving nutritious meals. How nutritious are the meals the students are eating and what does it cost parents and the community? This cost is mathematically calculated. “All of our menus in the USDA program are designed to meet USDA nutritional standards...Meeting these targets ensures that our meals provide students with one third of their dietary requirements for lunch and one fourth for breakfast.”
USDA Standards Each meal must be analyzed to ensure it meets these requirements. I noticed that sodium, cholesterol, etc. consumption is not accounted for in the standards. When I looked up the nutritional information of the food, I noticed that the school food did not have healthy levels of sodium or cholesterol. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/nutritionstandards.htm
How nutritious are the meals? The recommended total daily intake for sodium is 1500 mg. The chicken potato gravy bowl has 2248.95 mg of sodium alone! That is 748.95mg more than the recommended daily allowance of sodium. http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssodium/
Opinions on school lunch FROM A STUDENT “The pizza is too greasy. When you peel the plastic wrapper off (the pizza comes in a plastic bag), the cheese comes off with it.” “The lunch here at the middle school is healthier than the elementary school, though. My brother and sister say the french fries there are soggy and greasy.” “We have half an hour for lunch. 15 minutes for eating and 15 minutes for recess.” “In elementary school, we had fresh fruits and veggies for snack and I really liked that.” FROM MY CT “If kids are supposed to be getting the bulk of their nutrition at school, these kids are not getting it.” “This food is ‘slop.’ It is absolutely horrifying. Everything is prepackaged.” “The food doesn’t satiate them. I always hear kids saying they are still hungry.”
Are they really “nutritious?” So... this is interesting. According to the USDA standards, the meals are nutritious. However, the students don’t find them particularly appetizing and my CT doesn’t think the meals are nutritious at all. Why has the school chosen to go with mostly prepackaged meals? My guess is cost. The school must calculate the cost of serving the food and find ways to still make it affordable for the school.
What is the cost of the meals? USDA BREAKFAST Reduced & Free....no charge Middle School Full Pay....$1.50 USDA LUNCH Reduced.....$0.40 Middle School Full Pay....$2.90 https://foodsvcweb.madison.k12.wi.us/mealpayplus
Free and Reduced LunchIf families are underneath these cutoffs in terms of income, they may be eligible for freeand reduced lunch. They must fill out a form requiring them to calculate the income ofeach person in the household. So, math must be used in order to apply for the free and reduced lunch program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/iegs.htm
The school actually loses money for each meal it serves. To offset this cost, schools provide other food items a la carte that students can pay extra for. This food is often unhealthy foods, so that students will want to buy them. It makes sense, then, that schools would want to use food that is cheap in order to minimize the net loss. These revenues come from parent payments and USDA & DPI reimbursement for lunches that are provided at that free and reduced costs. foodsvcweb.madison.k12.wi.us Financials Fact SheetNet loss of $.09 (2.89-2.80) Net loss of $.09 (1.70-1.79)
The community cares! The Madison community cares about the food their children are eating. One group, among many, has formed called “Madison Families For Better Nutrition” with the slogan “Dump the Junk. Feed the Brain.” On their website, they proclaim: “We, the undersigned, believe the Madison Metropolitan School District must provide food choices to students that underscore good nutrition, utilizing fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. The Madison Metropolitan School District will close the achievement gap by providing the building blocks for a healthy mind and body. In short, we demand good food for great kids.”There is a relationship between achievement and nutrition! http://dumpthejunknow.wordpress.com/category/letters/
How many students at Toki qualify for free and reduced lunch? In 2011-12, 48.9% of students were classified as economically disadvantaged and 51.1% were classified as not economically disadvantaged From this graph, you can see the number of students who are classified as economically disadvantaged at Toki has been increasing over the past ten years.a.dpi.state.wi.us/data/GroupEnroll.aspx?GraphFile=GROUPS&SCounty=47&SAthleticConf=45&SCESA=05&FULLKEY=023269040620&SN=Toki+Mid&DN=Madison+Metropolitan&OrgLevel=sc&Qquad=demographics.asp
The way that the percentages of students whoare and are not economically disadvantagedare determined is by looking at the percentagesof students who get free and reduced meals.So, 48.9% of students at Toki received freeand reduced lunch prices. This means that thecommunity around Toki is composed of manyfamilies who benefit from this program. Manyof these families rely on the school to beproviding nutritious and filling food for theirchildren.
FOOD INMEADOWOODWhat food is available in theneighborhood where Toki is located?
RestaurantsWhat I noticed when looking at this map is that thereare barely any restaurants within Meadowood or evenslightly beyond.One of my students said there are not really any grocerystores or restaurants around the school in thecommunity. There is only Walgreens and Copps. Hethinks there should be more restaurants and grocerystores. He says there used to be a pizza place nearby,but it is gone now. He thinks it turned into a barbershop.
“Meadowood neighborhood’s popularfruit trees on city’s chopping block” “The city of Madison intends to remove or transplant six fruit trees resident Mark Bauman planted in the terrace of his Lynndale Road home in the Meadowood Neighborhood because they violate an ordinance that prohibits such trees in the city right of way. About 400 people have signed a petition to allow the trees to remain.” Article published October 25, 2012, so this is a very recent issue in the community In the article, it says that the trees have become a part of the Meadowood neighborhood, which “the city recently has declared a ‘food desert’ for lack of easy access to fresh, healthy groceries.” “The Baumans, who have three more fruit trees on their property, would like to keep those on the terrace to continue to provide fresh fruit for their family, neighbors and local children.”ree To me, it seems like the community wants to have fresh fruits available for adults and children alike, but it isn’t readily available and removing the trees would remove one of the few resources they do have. Read more here: http://host.madison.com/news/local/meadowood-neighborhood-s-popular- fruit-trees-on-city-s-chopping/article_870467cc-1e34-11e2-845c-0019bb2963f4.html
Summary of FindingsQ1: What did I learn about the community,mathematics, and how mathematics is used bythe people in the community?Q2: How is what I learned relevant to mystudents?Q3: Why does the particular community whereI did my quest matter? How might theinformation I learned be different if I haddone my quest in another place or context?
What did I learn about the community,mathematics, and how mathematics is usedby the people in the community? Food is an important part of the community and school, even if it there isn’t an abundance of it or if it isn’t always the healthiest food. Some people in the community are lobbying to change the food that is served at school because they believe it is not as healthy as it should be. The cost of food plays a factor in which food is available. The school must calculate which foods they are able to serve in order to minimize the difference between cost and revenue. Almost half of students receive free and reduced lunch. The families must use math to complete the applications. Families also make calculated choices each and every day as to where they will spend their money - rent, electricity, food. The school plays a role in this by provided meals at free and reduced prices. Mathematics can be used to help people (ex: providing free and reduced lunch based on income levels) but also at times does not serve people’s best interests (ex: cost of school meals vs. nutrition of school meals.)
How is what I learned relevant to my students? Students have opinions on the food they are served and notice the availability of food to them. It could be interesting to do a project with students where they analyze the school lunches, calculate the costs, and share their opinions on whether or not they like the food, think it is healthy, and if they believe it is shaping their eating habits. Many of my students receive free and reduced lunch. Our students potentially hear their parents conversations about money and the choices they must make The fruit trees are in their neighborhood. They might have eaten from fruit from those trees or have an opinion on whether or not they should be removed or located
Why does the particular community where I did my questmatter? How might the information I learned be differentif I had done my quest in another place or context? Different communities have different demographics. The amount of students who receive free and reduced lunch would be much different. Even between different schools in Madison, it can vary greatly. The type and quantity of available food differs between places. From the map, I could see that there is an abundance of food in other parts of Madison, while there is not much in the nearby community of Toki. Different school districts handle their school meal programs differently and serve different foods. Even compared to my middle school which is 20 minutes from Toki, the food was different.