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Know Your Farmer, Your Food

It  might surprise some, but even though Oklahoma is in the heart of Midwest, some kids in the city of Tulsa don’t know a great detail about how their food arrives on their dinner plate.

Union’s Child Nutrition Department hopes to open children’s eyes and help them know their food.

“When the popular program featuring Chef Jamie Oliver and his mission of improving school food came out a few years ago, I remember him telling his audience that students did not even know what a potato was, and were shocked to find out that french fries were made from them,” said Lisa Griffin, director of Child Nutrition. “Part of his mission was to help students know where their food comes from and what the food is. I was equally shocked with I heard that even some students at Union did not know about some common foods and their origins, such as a student who did not know that to eat a banana, it needed to be peeled first!”

This realization was the roots of a new program called “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” which she hopes will be a monthly promotion that features a different fruit and vegetable each month on the menus.

“Union Child Nutrition is very passionate about using as much local produce and foods as possible in the meals served to students,” Griffin said.  “There are many advantages to why we would do this.”

Local foods are more nutritious, better tasting and fresher, she said, adding that purchasing local foods reduces the ‘carbon footprint’ by reducing the transportation distances required to get food from the farm to the table. In addition, she said purchasing local foods pumps more dollars into the state economy and supports Oklahoma farmers.

By relying on local farmers, students receive quality food, are exposed to many new and different kinds of foods, -- and, she said, with the help of their new program, students will learn about where foods come from, hopefully establishing healthy nutrition habits that will last a lifetime.

An information board in each school cafeteria will highlight the farmer who supplies Union its monthly produce, as well as recipes. Child Nutrition also hopes to share recipes online, interesting history and tidbits of information, and nutrition information. 

“We will invite the farmers to visit our schools during lunch to talk with students about their produce.  Our chef, Callie Fowler, will develop the recipes, and our dietitians, Libby Anderson and Lauren Bradley, will be providing nutrition information, Griffin said.  “And, of course, our cafeteria staff will be producing and serving the featured recipes.”

Union Public Schools

District Announcement

Happy Holidays

Wishing you Joy and Peace at the Holidays and throughout the New Year.

Union Public Schools will be closed for winter break December 23-January 3, 2020. School will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020.

During the winter break, Union offices will be closed December 24-January 2, 2020.

May Joy and Peace be yours throughout the New Year.

Wishing you Joy and Peace at the Holidays and throughout the New Year.  Union Public Schools will be closed for winter break December 23-January 3, 2020. School will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020.  During the winter break, Union offices will be closed December 24-January 2, 2020.  May Joy and Peace be yours throughout the New Year.

Administrative Changes Announced

Scott Pennington named director of new Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning Department;   Clayton Hucke named interim 7th Grade Principal

Dear Union Parents and Guardians: 

I am excited to announce that Mr. Scott Pennington, principal at the Union 6th & 7th Grade Center, has been asked to lead a new department within Teaching and Learning entitled Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning. As you know, we are in the second year of our five-year district strategic plan. One of the elements of this plan is Union’s Learning Model that focuses on literacy, cognitive capacity, engagement, and social and emotional learning.

As we continuously evaluate our data, and hear from teachers and our site leaders, there continues to be a dominant narrative that more must be done to address the social and emotional development of our students. Collectively speaking, our teachers continue to do amazing work in providing dynamic learning experiences for our students. It is now time for us to articulate a tiered approach to addressing unwanted student behaviors and student trauma – at all grade levels – while also fostering greater hope and confidence in our students’ lives. The idea is that we will be more proactive in our efforts, providing counseling and guidance to address the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students. I firmly believe this will make a positive difference in our students’ lives and in the learning culture of our buildings.

Mr. Pennington’s work as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and principal make him uniquely qualified to lead in this new position. In addition to this change, I am also pleased to announce that Mr. Clay Hucke, assistant principal at Union High School, has been asked to serve as an interim principal at the Sixth & Seventh Grade Center. Mr. Hucke has done an outstanding job at the high school and he looks forward to serving the students, staff, and parents at this site.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Pennington and Mr. Hucke. These moves will become effective January 1, 2020.

Respectfully,

Kirt Hartzler, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Union Public Schools

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Contact Information

Union Public Schools
8506 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
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Phone: 918-357-4321

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