BUCKFIELD — School Nutrition Director Jeanne LaPointe told the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors Monday that the district will use a federal grant to make more meals from scratch to promote healthy eating.

She called it “a deep priority here at RSU 10.”

The $117,000 Healthy Meals Incentives grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Ultimately $50,000 of that includes equipment that will go into the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School kitchen and some into Hartford-Sumner Elementary School” nutrition program, LaPointe said. “That will include a tilting skillet; its like a big frying pan that you can make French toast on, you can cook pasta in it, a new convection oven steamer, which is a very efficient piece of equipment, and another combination steamer and a microwave steamer that will be housed at (the Sumner school) to prepare small batches of food.”

Other purchases are an immersion blender and another food processor.

“So we’re very excited and we’re honored to receive the grant,” LaPointe said. “We’re one of 10 school districts in the state of Maine to receive this grant, of 250 grants across the country.”


The district is also partnering with AmeriCorps, an independent agency of the U.S. government that engages more than five million Americans in service through a variety of volunteer work programs, with stipends, in many sectors.

It is also partnering with FoodCorps, an American nonprofit organization whose mission is to work with communities to connect children to healthy food in school, according to its website. FoodCorps specialist Chef John Glaus attended Monday’s meeting at the Buckfield high school.

Glaus will collaborate with kitchen staff to bring recipe food samplings to schools for students to try and provide feedback to the school nutrition staff, LaPointe said.

“It’s a process and we’re looking to survey our students and our parents and all of our stakeholders,” she said. “We’re not just feeding children; we’re feeding families, really, when it comes right down to it.”

In other business, Superintendent Deb Alden said the district has three full-time Special Education teaching positions and one part-time Special Education position available. There are also openings for an art teacher at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, seven educational technicians across the seven-town district, two bus driver/custodians and one part-time bus driver, she said.

Other staff needs are a part-time nutrition worker, a teacher at the Western Foothills Regional Program in Rumford and a director for the after-school Western Foothills Regional Program, Alden said.

Even with these vacancies, the district is “quite a bit better” than a year ago, she said.

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