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Get Schools Cooking

Get Schools Cooking is an intensive three-year assessment and strategic planning program that provides public K-12 schools with the operational knowledge to transition from a heat and serve to scratch-cooking operational model.

The 2024 application will open on August 1, 2024.

Get Schools Cooking

Get Schools Cooking is an intensive three-year assessment and strategic planning program that provides public K-12 schools with the operational knowledge to transition from a heat and serve to scratch-cooking operational model.

The 2024 application will open on August 1, 2024.

For many students across the country, a school meal can be the most nutritious meal of the entire day, but too often these meals are highly-processed. Schools might not have the operational knowledge or experience required to prepare fresh, healthy, and delicious food in a cook-from-scratch operation.

Get Schools Cooking offers school districts comprehensive support throughout their school food transition from a heat & serve or processed model to one rooted in scratch cooking using whole, fresh ingredients.

Get Schools Cooking is open to school districts across the country thanks to generous support from our partners, including Whole Kids Foundation and the Rachael Ray Foundation.

For many students across the country, a school meal can be the most nutritious meal of the entire day, but too often these meals are highly-processed. Schools might not have the operational knowledge or experience required to prepare fresh, healthy, and delicious food in a cook-from-scratch operation.

Get Schools Cooking offers school districts comprehensive support throughout their school food transition from a heat & serve or processed model to one rooted in scratch cooking using whole, fresh ingredients.

Get Schools Cooking is open to school districts across the country thanks to generous support from our partners, including Whole Kids Foundation and the Rachael Ray Foundation.

GSC offers:

  • Onsite assessment to identify barriers and provide recommended actions in five key areas of school food service: Food, Finance, Facilities, Human Resources, and Marketing.
  • Individualized, onsite technical assistance in shifting from a heat & serve to scratch cooking model.
  • Strategic planning to create a structured framework to overcome identified barriers and achieve recommended outcomes.
  • System improvement grants to provide districts with the resources necessary to transition to a scratch-cooking operational model.
75,788

children

241

schools

75,788

children

241

schools

Program Targeted Outcomes

1

Increase knowledge surrounding scratch cooking

2

Assist with implementing operational changes to support scratch cooking

3

Support districts working towards a scratch cooked meal program centered around fresh, whole foods

Program Details

Once selected for Get Schools Cooking, districts will complete the following steps over a three year period:

Workshop

Districts attend a two-day workshop at a Chef Ann Foundation partner district. Workshop sessions review the foundational strategies for successful school food reform, what being apart of the Get Schools Cooking program entails, and includes visits to kitchens and cafeterias to see scratch cooking operations first-hand.


School Food Institute Courses

Each district selected for the program receives two Gold Certificates to Chef Ann Foundation’s virtual School Food Institute. Each Gold Certificate represents 8 courses, selected from the 11 available courses, including School Food Procurement, Recipes & Menu Development and Salad Bars in Schools. Each course is self-paced and meets USDA professional standards learning objectives.


On-site Assessment

Chef Ann Foundation personnel who specialize in school food operations observe all aspects of the current practices in action and collect key operational data to provide recommended actions for improvement in day-to-day activities.


Assessment Report

An assessment report of recommendations is provided to the district as a guide for next steps, working with both district leadership and the school community. Research partners will conduct a baseline procurement assessment and provide a baseline score of the healthfulness of the school meals served. 


Strategic Planning

School food experts provide key district leadership with a strategic plan to review the recommendations from the assessment report, and the necessary actions the district would need to take in order to achieve the desired changes necessary for a successful scratch cooking model.


Technical Assistance

The Chef Ann Foundation will provide districts both on-site and one-on-one virtual technical assistance support in areas identified in the assessment report. Areas include, but are not limited to: culinary skills, kitchen efficiency, budget development, staffing plan, recipe development, or marketing.


Connect and Reflect

Connect and Reflect provides peer-to-peer support sessions for districts to discuss current school food topics, share information, and keep up to date with what other districts are doing across Cohorts.


Support

Chef Ann Foundation personnel work closely with districts to track the progress in addressing recommendations outlined in the strategic plan by develop goals, timelines, and next steps for continued systems change.


Systems Assistance Grant

Districts are given the opportunity to apply for a one-time systems assistance grant that is designed to support the identified needs and goals of their program.


Evaluations

Following assessment, districts participate in qualitative interviews and submit up-to-date program data to measure their progress in the program. The Chef Ann Foundation and research partners complete a comprehensive evaluation of change management and generate a follow-up procurement assessment to gauge the connection between scratch cooking and value based procurement.

Previous Participants

Previous program participants have:

  • Introduced new scratch-cooked recipes
  • Installed salad bars
  • Added new vendors to procure local products
  • Eliminated highly processed products such as chicken nuggets, pizza and packaged sandwiches 
  • Gained significant community support
  • Introduced raw proteins such as whole muscle chicken, as well as expanded fresh fruit and vegetable procurement and variety
  • Implemented software systems to create program efficiencies

Previous Participants

Previous program participants have:

  • Introduced new scratch-cooked recipes
  • Installed salad bars
  • Added new vendors to procure local products
  • Eliminated highly processed products such as chicken nuggets, pizza and packaged sandwiches 
  • Gained significant community support
  • Introduced raw proteins such as whole muscle chicken, as well as expanded fresh fruit and vegetable procurement and variety
  • Implemented software systems to create program efficiencies

Previous Cohorts

1st Cohort

  • Bellingham Public Schools (Bellingham, WA)
  • Buford City Schools (Buford, GA)
  • Passaic Public Schools (Passaic, NJ)
  • Watertown Public Schools (Watertown, MA)

2nd Cohort​

  • Brewster Central School District (Brewster, NY)
  • Fridley Public Schools (Fridley, MN)
  • Norwood City School District (Norwood, OH)
  • Ocean View School District (Oxnard, CA)
  • Oxford School District (Oxford, MS)
  • Staunton City Schools (Staunton, VA)
  • Tempe Elementary School District (Tempe, AZ)

3rd Cohort

  • Caroline County Public Schools (Denton, MD)
  • Goleta Union School District (Goleta, CA)
  • Marysville Joint Unified School District (Marysville, CA)
  • Napa Valley Unified School District (Napa, CA)

4th Cohort

  • Beaufort County Schools (Washington, NC)
  • Franklin Special School District (Franklin, TN)
  • Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 (Manhattan, KS)
  • South Madison Community School Corporation (Pendleton, IN)
  • Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)

5th Cohort

  • Brownsville Independent School District (Brownsville, TX)
  • Dillingham School District (Dillingham, AK)
  • Ellensburg School District (Ellensburg, WA)
  • Hardin Public Schools (Hardin, MT)
  • Howard-Suamico School District (Green Bay, WI)
  • Lewiston Public Schools (Lewiston, ME)
  • Windham Central Supervisory Union (Townshend, VT)

How to Apply

Eligibility

To apply, school districts must meet the following criteria:

  • Be firmly committed to working towards a scratch-cooked and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs.
  • Demonstrate support for improvement from district leadership.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Run a self-operated food service program.

How to Apply

Eligibility

To apply, school districts must meet the following criteria:

  • Be firmly committed to working towards a scratch-cooked and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs.
  • Demonstrate support for improvement from district leadership.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Run a self-operated food service program.

Application Process

Each district will submit an application that includes detailed information such as district enrollment, average daily participation, and operational model. After reviewing applications, the Chef Ann Foundation will interview a select group of candidates to assess their readiness and ability to participate in the program. Program participants will be chosen from this group of applicants. For questions regarding Get Schools Cooking, please contact us.
 

The Get Schools Cooking application will open on August 1, 2024.

Click here to sign up for GSC news and alerts.

Timeline

  • Application opens: August 1, 2024
  • Application closes: September 30, 2024
  • Selected districts notified: November - December 2024
  • Workshop: February 2025
  • Onsite assessments: March 2025 - November 2025
  • Onsite TA visits: Fall 2025 - Spring 2026
  • Final Evaluation - Spring 2027

Program Flyer

Would you like to post information about the Get Schools Cooking grant program? Download the file now!


Discover More

Salad Bars To Schools

Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) supports schools in expanding their commitment to serving fresh fruits and vegetables by donating salad bars to school districts across the United States.

School Food Institute

The School Food Institute gives school food service professionals and childhood nutrition advocates the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, healthy, and sustainable.

Specialized Programming

The Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) is able to offer specialized programming for school districts to transition their Food and Nutrition Service Departments from a heat-and-serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real and whole ingredients. Specialized programming presents a unique opportunity for a district or multiple districts to receive individualized and direct support for improving their meal programs.

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