When collecting, analyzing and reporting data, the district team should connect with diverse stakeholders. Strategize about the best ways to include the entire school community in evaluation efforts, including decision makers, teachers working with students of diverse developmental capabilities, custodial and food service staff, parents and students. Moreover, be clear about the expectations for the collection of any new data and how the data will be used to improve the program.
Engage students, families, staff and the broader public with annual reports that:
- Acknowledge staff, such as through co-workers’ or students’ words of praise;
- Announce positive student outcomes;
- Credit relevant team members, staff or partners with their roles in success; and
- Explain program growth through coordinated quality improvement.
Finally, consider sharing press releases or promotional materials with district leaders, partners and local media outlets to acknowledge successes, generate positive coverage and build enthusiasm.
Evaluation supports a smooth transition
As Meriden Public Schools in Meriden, Conn., transitioned to “grab and go” and vending models, the superintendent and director of food and nutrition services explained to stakeholders that they aimed to:
- Evaluate positive outcomes of increased school breakfast participation;
- Obtain positive and negative feedback regarding participation in, and support of, the program; and
- Determine action steps for improvement.
With a district food services staff member on-site “every day until we were confident the [school-level cafeteria] staff could handle it alone,” they ensured that schools were satisfied with program logistics. Additionally, the district relied on a strong labor-management partnership and surveys of parents, students and teachers to make small changes and accommodate the needs of specific buildings and staff, such as adjusting the location of “grab and go” carts.