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If all the sweets and tempting treats over the holidays have you thinking about better nutrition in the New Year, you're not alone. On today's episode of the Supercast, Jordan School District Dietitian, Katie Bastian shares some simple tips for getting kids excited about eating healthy again - snacks that are fun and easy to prepare for parents on the go.

We also visit with elementary school students who spill the beans on their favorite snacks and cottage cheese doesn't make the cut.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we're talking nutrition, starting with students at Hayden Peak Elementary School, where they spill the beans on their favorite snacks, and we find out if cottage cheese makes the cut. We're cooking up some fun with kids. Then Jordan School District Dietician, Katie Bastian joins us in studio to talk about getting back on track with better nutrition in the new year for students and families. First, let's check in with our friends at Hayden Peak. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Shannon.

Superintendent:
Shannon. What is your favorite food?

Student:
I would have to say it's kind of weird, but I love carrots. I love their baby carrots with ranch dressing.

Superintendent:
Baby carrots with ranch dressing is not weird. What's your name?

Student:
Sierra.

Superintendent:
Sierra. Tell me some of your favorite foods.

Student:
Mac and Cheese.

Superintendent:
Okay. What type of Mac and Cheese? Do you like it with the fluorescent orange powder whipped into a cream sauce?

Student:
Normally, my family just buys a Velveeta Brand Mac and Cheese.

Superintendent:
Velveeta Mac and Cheese is definitely next level. I love Velveeta Mac and Cheese. It's kind of like gold being poured over your pasta?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
What do you not like? What foods do you definitely not like?

Student:
I hate green beans.

Superintendent:
You hate green beans. Did they do something bad to you?

Student:
No, I just don't like them.

Superintendent:
You just don't like them. Okay. You don't like them. Hate is kind of a strong word if they haven't ever hurt you. Is it because they're kind of fuzzy?

Student:
No, it tastes bad to me.

Superintendent:
What's your name?

Student:
My name's Kylie.

Superintendent:
What do you like for snacks? I like to eat talkies.

(02:10):
Hockey's those are hot. Not for me. Not for you. We bought this big multipack of chips and I was the one that was in charge of eating the talkies because no one else could stand them.

(02:22):
Yeah. I love them. I had snack.

(02:25):
Okay. I admire you. Tell me your name. Ellie. Ellie. What food do you like? Chicken legs. You like chicken legs on or off the chicken? Either way. Either way, whatever happens. Okay. Um, I like it. So you like chicken? What do you not like melted cheese? You don't like melted cheese. What is it about the melted cheese that you don't like?

(02:53):
It has a weird after taste and it's like greasy.

(02:57):
That's exactly why I like it. Tell me your name. Miles. Miles. What snacks do you eat? Yeah.

(03:04):
Hot Cheetos. Normal Cheetos, hot Funyuns, normal Funyuns,

(03:11):
Hot Funyuns. Now wait a second. I was unaware that there was such a thing as hot Funyuns. I've been known to devour an entire family sized bag of Funyuns in one sitting. And I don't even know that there are hot Funyuns. How hot are they?

(03:26):
Well, some people say they're hot, but I don't think they're all.

(03:30):
Okay. I can see that you and I are a snack friends here. Um, what, what foods do you not like?

(03:38):
I kinda don't really like fish. I just think it has weird taste, but I like catching fish, but I just don't like eating it. What's your name? My name is

(03:47):
What's next. Do you like?

(03:52):
Uh, I like cereal. I don't know.

(03:56):
Ooh. I love to have cereal as a snack. What are your favorite types of cereal?

(04:00):
Um, cocoa puffs, cinnamon toast crunch and cookie crunch. Cookie.

(04:06):
I was about your age when cinnamon toast crunch came out and it was a wondrous thing. It was absolutely beautiful. I like every single one of those. And I love how the cocoa puffs turned. The milk chocolate. It tastes good. What foods do you not like? I don't make any beans. Any beans? Garbanzo, Lima, Navy. You're against them all? Yes. I'm against the wall. Okay. Fair enough. At least you're an equal opportunity being hater. All right. Thank you. What's your name?

(04:37):
My name's Connor. And my favorite food is rainbow jello.

(04:44):
Is there whipped cream involved? Yes. That sounds absolutely delicious. What foods do you not like? I absolutely hate butter. Well, you're not just supposed to eat a stick of butter.

(04:56):
Even if anything has like butter on it, just plain butter on it. I will absolutely not eat.

(05:03):
So even if the rainbow jello had butter, you would not eat it? Nope. Do you eat things plain? Like toast?

(05:09):
I usually cook up some Friday eggs and then dip in the year.

(05:14):
Do you, do you cook the eggs yourself? Yes. And you know just how to cook it. So the yolk is just right? Yes. My mom taught me. I admire that. Good job. Tell me your name. Jenna. What? Uh, snacks do you like? I like apples and her. Ooh, that's very good. What foods do you not like cottage. Cheese. How does cheese? Thank you so many people like cottage cheese, and I've never understood it. It's like milk. That started to turn into cheese, but didn't quite get there. I'm with you, Jenna. I agree. 100%. Tell me your name, the last defender. The last defender. That's correct. I like that. You're going by this moniker. Well done, sir. What foods do you like? Hot wings. Hot wings. Do you like it? Bone in bone out both. So do I, I like the bone out because it's not as messy, but I like the bone in when I just want to get crazy with it.

(06:12):
Yeah. So where do you like to have hot wings? Buffalo. Wild wings. Me too. Tuesday nights, bone in Thursday nights, bone out, half price, right? Yeah. This guy knows what is up. He's not just the last defender. He knows what's going on. When it comes to food. What sauce do you get? Ranch or blue cheese? Ranch. Oh, this guy is hitting every note. He's hitting every note. If you and I were at the Buffalo wild wings on the same night at the same time, we'd be ordering the same stuff. Yeah. What's your name? Ashley. What food do you like? Um, I, uh, I, Oh,

(06:51):
It's Italian pasta. It's very shiny because it does have, it has lemon juice. It has, it's a little green cause there's a little bit of, um, I can't remember. There's a lot of garlic and crushed red pepper plate.

(07:08):
Where do you have this dish?

(07:10):
My dad makes it so at home a lot. Most of the time,

(07:13):
I think that's pretty awesome. Your dad can make that my signature dish is hotdogs on the grill. Yeah, I know. It's not very fancy. Well, it works. It does. It works on a Sunday afternoon. They taste pretty good. Now I'm really hungry. So I'm going to go eat lunch. All this talk of treats is making me hungry. So let's head to a break. And when we come back, we're in studio with district dietician, Katie bastion, who shares some tips to get kids excited about healthy eating. And she has me do a little taste, testing myself, stay with us.

(07:52):
How many times do you hear your child ask what's for breakfast or what's for lunch? Find out what's on the menu at your child's Jordan school district school every day by simply downloading the Nutri slice app to your smartphone or desktop. The neutral slice app gives you quick and easy access to daily menus, pictures of meal choices and nutrition information. Along with allergens present in the food. The app also allows students and parents to give feedback on food. Download the neutral slice app today and enjoy school breakfast and lunch in your school. Cafeteria we're back in studio with district registered dietician, Katie bastion. Katie, how are you? Welcome to the show. Thanks. Thank you for having me. So tell me what does a dietician do? I, I suspect people don't even realize we have a district dietician.

(08:59):
Yup, yup. We do. So, um, I do several things, uh, in the district. Um, I work with the, the other ladies in our office and we put together menus that have to meet the federal guidelines. So we, we have nutrition criteria that we have to meet. And we also, when we build a menu, we put together food components. So we have to have fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy. So we have to make sure every meal has all those components to serve to the kids.

(09:28):
So our food components, what we used to call food groups in the seventies, is there still a pyramid? There's not a pyramid anymore. There's a more pyramid. My plate, my plate. So tell me about the place.

(09:40):
So my plate is just a visual representation that USDA has put out.

(09:45):
My plate is usually a visual representation of menu item number two in the drive through, but don't tell me what my plate is supposed to be

(09:53):
Sure you've seen it, but it's just a plate broken up into, it shows like half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. And then the other half of it, you know, in smaller portions, you've got your meat and your grains and then dairies are, you know, off to the side for our program. Um, our dairy has to be our fluid milk. So that covers the foods. And then of course, fats and oils don't really have a section anymore, but they're, they're in there sparingly. So,

(10:20):
Okay. So we know that fats and oils are part of the equation. They don't get their own section. That seems right. Yeah. So tell me, what are some of the requirements in terms of the menu you have to set up that parents might not be aware of where people may not have realized?

(10:38):
Yeah, so we, like I said, we have to make sure we have all the food components for each meal, so the kid can choose to have all of them. Um, and then when we're looking at the nutrition criteria, we have to make sure it meets a certain calorie range, average over the course of a week. And we're also watching sodium levels and saturated fat levels.

(10:58):
Those are three things I do not watch. So I'm glad that you're watching it for the children of Jordan school district. Are there foods that we used to offer that we can't offer any more that we wish we could offer? What are some of those rules, uh, changing what we used to order years ago,

(11:17):
The way things like some of the favorites we've just adapted them. So, you know, we've always made our bread from scratch here in Jordan school district. And so, you know, those lovely white rolls that you used to see, well, we make them from scratch. So now everything needs to be whole grain rich. So now we add the whole wheat flour and so they're a whole grain rich version and they're still lovely, lovely rolls, but they are now a whole grain weight.

(11:44):
I can smell it now. Yes.

(11:46):
When you, if you go out to the schools, you can bring rich. Yes.

(11:50):
Okay. And are there other things that been, uh, adapted as you said recently?

(11:56):
Yeah, definitely. A lot of our, we make, um, like our ranch condiments from scratch. So we're using lighter options of Mayo and that type of thing for condiments, um, with the sodium sodium levels, being watched a lot of the things that we purchase and make ourselves the levels have decreased over the years from what they were. So we try and use other spices and stuff, you know, to flavor things. I mean, we still have have salt, but those levels are lower than what they were. Yeah. And then the fat is always something, but fat is always been something that I think those national school lunch program there's always been limits on that and the calories, but sure. Yeah. So of course we got to have food. The kids like to,

(12:45):
Right. What are some of the most popular items?

(12:48):
Oh, you know what the kids, as far as things we make, the kids love the Mac and cheese. Like, I don't know the kids like the school's Mac and cheese better than my Mac and cheese, but it's um, they also, of course, some of the kids' favorite things are going to be pizza and chicken nuggets, like elementary school kids. I'm sure you will. You'll hear that. So we just try and have healthier alternatives of, you know, we don't have any fryers nothing's the fries or the chicken nuggets or anything like that. Isn't fried it's, it's all baked and steamed and stuff. So it's healthier alternatives, whole grain breading, lower fat cheese. So yeah.

(13:27):
So the pizza's popular, the chicken nuggets are property.

(13:30):
Yeah. Yup, yup. But yeah, Mac and cheese. Let's see. What are some other ones? Oh yes. Mandarin orange. Yeah. The Asian foods right now are really big. Teriyaki chicken and rice. Mandarin, orange chicken Kung Pao chicken. Yeah. Those are really big right now, too.

(13:47):
If you're not getting hungry, listening to this podcast, I'm shocked. Think about that. Kids are missing out if they're not getting that multigrain rich. Is that what you said? Multigrain rich rolls made from scratch made from scratch ranch sounds fantastic. Yeah, it's delicious. So are there some things we've experimented with food wise that have not worked out or some, what are some of the failed experiments in school lunch?

(14:16):
Um, a lot of times. So we do have a menu committee that we meet with, um, some elementary managers who meet with us on a monthly basis and then a secondary menu committee of secondary managers, like five or six of them. And we meet with them and we go over, what's not working and try new recipes. So they'll be our pilot schools that will go out and sample new recipes. So a lot of times what we're going for with those many committees is things that people are seeing popular in the, um, you know, like when they're going out to restaurants. Um, and then we're always trying to keep our culture here in Jordan is we try and make as much as we can from scratch. So we're always trying scratch recipes or, or, you know, something that's a little bit more homemade than your typical, I don't know, processed items that kids love.

(15:05):
But, um, I guess I could tell you about the, um, Shepherd's pie. Oh, it was great. And you know, the teachers and we got a lot of great feedback that the teachers loved it and staff loved it. It was not a big hit with the kids, but so actual shepherds. I, yeah, I don't know. She and I, I don't know, but yeah, it didn't, it didn't go over big. So, you know, we'll try it on a menu cycle. We'll give it a few times. Cause once, twice, you know, that doesn't give you a good indication, but after several times through the menu cycle, if they're still not like, you know, they were like, Oh man, we gotta let this one go.

(15:42):
Menu cycle for me is how many times I've ordered in a day and I'm not going to give you a number. So, uh, that's very interesting. So the Shepherd's pie feedback, I guess, has a different connotation when you're talking about food in the cafeteria. But yeah. So the feedback that you've had on Shepherd's pie was positive from the adults, but the kids not so much.

(16:04):
Right? Yeah. I don't know if it's, you know, like kind of food that's touching each other and it makes together or just maybe adults are much more familiar with it. They just grew up with it. And everyone has their mom's own version of Shepherd's pie that they made. But I don't, maybe I don't think kids are seeing it as much now. Yeah.

(16:22):
Right. Foods touching each other is an issue for kids. And that is one of the charms of the cafeteria lunch tray that it has a separate compartment for everything so that you can keep it in. Yeah.

(16:32):
Yep. It doesn't run together.

(16:34):
You brought a couple along here and I have to tell you, it's bringing back memories.

(16:40):
That's old school,

(16:41):
Plastic trays. It is old school. Yes, indeed. Yup. Are you saying I am old school, correct? Yes. But these trays do bring back some memories. We're going to be back with Katie and just a few moments to talk about how your kids can maintain a healthy diet at home. Stay with us.

(17:02):
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan school district? Maybe see your child or a friend featured in a school story. Check out our website@jordandistrict.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Jordan district. Let's connect today.

(17:25):
And we're back with Katie bastion, the registered dietician for Jordan school district. Katie, before we go into some tips for parents, let's just talk about the scope of what you do. We've talked about menu items, school launch, how that's changed, trying new items in the menu. Remarkably. I didn't realize the extent to which we make things from scratch. Yeah. That's incredible. It is.

(17:50):
Yeah. We, we are. We're proud of what we do. It's it is like you say remarkable.

(17:54):
It's better for kids when it's made from scratch. Yeah.

(17:56):
Yeah. We have more control over the ingredients and,

(17:59):
And it tastes better. Yeah. I've tried making Doritos from scratch because they might be healthier for me that failed. And I just went back to the cool ranch bag and it's just, it's just easier that way. So I don't know. Maybe I'll try some other time, but in the meantime, just to give parents an idea of what you're up to every day. Yeah. Your choices, you and the committee, the menu choices. How many kids are served at the lunches every day in Jordan school district?

(18:29):
So in Jordan school district, we serve about 33,000 lunches every single day through all of our schools,

(18:35):
33,000 lunches a day.

(18:38):
Yep. And that's not even counting. Breakfast is a lot of the schools do breakfast meals too.

(18:44):
Wow. That's 10, 10,000 times the number of meals. Uh, the average family is preparing everything. Yeah.

(18:50):
Yeah. It's it's, it's a lot, it's a large scope.

(18:53):
Yeah. Yeah. That's a big deal. So parents of kids who are picky eaters, I'm sure there are one or two out there. Oh yeah. So I have a niece who I think she has lived on two foods, her entire life, chicken fingers and grapes. And I think that's it. And my son is not much better. He eats five or six things, but it's really hard to get him to try something new. Right. So do you have some advice for parents on how they can help their kids eat a wider variety of foods?

(19:27):
Yeah, definitely. So I think if they start, when the kids are younger, just keep introducing them to new foods, new foods. And if they don't want to eat it, don't force them to eat it. But you know, encourage them to take a bite. And if that's all they want that's okay. Cause maybe after trying carrots and curates are popular, kids like carrots, but you know, whatever the food is maybe after trying it, you know, five, six, seven, eight, nine times. Maybe after a couple of years, it'll be like, Oh, you know, I like this. I tell my kids, we have to keep trying things because our tastes chains, you know, I didn't like tomatoes when I'm little when I was little, but I like tomatoes now. So we have to keep trying things. So we, we know if we like them or not, our tastes do change. That's true. I think

(20:12):
When you said that, that kind of resonated because there are things you used to like that you don't like anymore. Yeah. The idea is that people get to keep is that you continue to give your kids a chance to try different foods.

(20:24):
Right? Right. Yeah. You, your, uh, job as a parent is to give your kids the opportunity to try all these different foods and you know, just keep introducing them, whatever you're having for dinner that night, make sure everyone has some of it on their plate. Even if they don't like it.

(20:41):
We've all been in the situation where we've been told to clean your plate. And I know you told us not to force kids to eat a certain food that they don't like continue to give them the opportunity, but don't force them. Right. How about just quantity where we're frustrated. We know they're going to be hungry in another 30 minutes. If they don't finish what's in front of them, how do you handle that?

(21:04):
Um, so just we encourage, you know, set up set meal times, you know, like if your family can eat together, that's great. There are so many benefits of eating meals together as a family. And so if your kids, kids are all about routine, if they know that when they eat, you know, they sit down and they're going to have their certain meals of the day. And if they sit down and they're going to have, you know, there are certain set snacks and they're just not snacking all day. They'll know, you know, I need to eat while I'm here. And then that encourages them. You know, like if they're hungry later, okay, we're going to eat. And just a little bit, you know, like kids need snacks too, you know, if they can't make it in between meals sets, you know, they're they're little. And so yeah, definitely just encourage them to, Hey, you know, we're, this is where we're eating and you know, you talk, you eat you. But yeah, we, I, um, it's hard because kids tell you they're hungry all the time, but if you let them snack all the time, are they ever going to get really full or they're just always going to be hungry and snacking. So

(22:04):
They're just going to be grazing all the time. So you set meal times partially, so you can be together, but partially, so it's predictable. And then you try to set snack times as well. Yeah,

(22:14):
Yeah. Yep. So they know, you know, when we're sitting down here together at the table where we're eating and, and they know to expect, I will be eating again, you know, like they're not scared that they're not going to be fed or, or whatnot, but yeah. And then like, as far as clearing their plates go, kids are incredible. Like kids have the best sense of, um, knowing when they are full, like as adults that gets, you know, a little skew because we have so many other things going on, we're so busy. You know, you have these, uh, behavioral choices that you make. You know, when we're getting, when we get together, we have cookies and milk or, you know, these, these set rhythms, but kids are really good at knowing when they're hungry and when to stop eating, you know, babies are the very best at it when they're done, they're done. Right. But, um, so kids have a really good sense of that. And you know what, really, if they don't eat everything on their plate, we always say our house, you know what? You can save it for later.

(23:12):
Let's talk about allergies and how you handle that in schools, because it seems like more and more there are allergies or sensitivities to certain foods. What are some of those sensitivities that we deal with and how do we help students in that situation? Because I'm sure there are some listeners, uh, whose kids are dealing with that circumstance.

(23:34):
Definitely. Yeah. So that's another big part of my job is kids who have allergies or intolerances to the major allergens, you know, we and eggs and dairy fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, those major things. If they are allergic to them or have intolerances to them, um, you know, they can go through the paperwork and get a doctor's note. And from there, my job is helping. How can we make accommodations to our mills? So if they want to eat occasionally and have, you know, do something different, other than lunch from home, we can make that possible for them. So how can we make this, this smell dairy free or, you know, gluten-free, or that type of thing. We make a lot of accommodations for kids here in the district. So if they want to eat, you know, with the rest of the student population, we'll, we'll, we'll do what we can to, to make those accommodations for them to use.

(24:25):
That's cool. Which really is remarkable, especially considering, as you mentioned earlier, tens of thousands of meals served every day that you're able to specialize and individualized to that extent.

(24:36):
Yeah. And I talk with every, you know, every paperwork that comes in, I talk to every parent individually, and I have to give a lot of credit to the kitchens too, because they're the ones on the front lines when they're making, you know, 1400 meals, that's a lot of meals, you know, like at some of our middle schools and high schools. And then to make sure that when they're making these special diets, it takes time. You know, they're making sure that they don't cross contaminate and you know, they're being careful about it. So I have to give the credit, you know, to the frontline, cause they're the ones actually making those meals, you know, I help set them up, but they, they get it done. So the kitchen, the kitchens and the staff there should really be commended as well. Cause it's, that's pretty good.

(25:17):
I should mention too, that we've had, uh, we've talked with inspectors who inspect kitchens and restaurants throughout the state. Yes. The health inspectors. And what I've heard is they have said our cafeteria kitchens are the envy of the industry and any restaurant would love to have our scores and have the kitchens as clean and well maintained as ours. Yeah.

(25:43):
Yes. We do have really clean kitchens. Even if the school is older, we try and make sure that their equipment is up to date and the kitchens are clean. They're organized. Like you say, stuff is working. We do really have well-maintained kids.

(25:59):
It's a particular aspect of our operations as a district that just blows me away. It's just, um, I have difficulty following the instructions on instant oatmeal and to make 30,000 meals a day from scratch. And it's just, it's really astounding. And I love that. We're so deliberate through your work and the work of the committees in what those meals are made up of. And that it's a complete nutritional package for, for kids because it's so important, not just to their health and wellness, but to their learning that they have, that they are well fed.

(26:34):
If a kid, I mean you and I know that if you're at work and are doing anything, if you're hungry, your mind is wandering. What's the next I'm going to eat, or you're grazing, you're finding something to you. So if kids are fed, it's one less thing that they have to think about or worry about. And the behavioral problems, you know, is a whole different thing. But you know, if kids are fed, they're just going to do better all around.

(26:58):
I'm not sure if the Mike has been picking it up. Okay. I am definitely, uh, my stomach is growling with all of this food talk and you have brought some samples along. So let's talk about what you have here. It's very colorful.

(27:12):
So we, um, brought just some healthy snack ideas, you know, as a parent, if you can go to the grocery store and buy these these items and make it and have it in the fridge, show it, your kids can just grab it. Cause your kids are not going to get a cucumber out of the fridge, wash it and peel it and slice it. Not ever going to happen, but if you can buy, so here we have cups that have yogurt in them, peanut butter, and then ranch, right?

(27:40):
Not all on the same cup. These are different

(27:42):
Separate cut. Yes. Yes. So with the ranch, we have, um, different vegetables. We have carrot, celery, peppers, cucumbers, little tomatoes. Um, let's see, what else do we have with the ranch? I think that's all we have with the ranch, just a little ranch in the bottom. And then the yogurt has, you know, berries in it. Um, Apple slices, uh, let's see. And then the peanut butter is another good one. You can put carrots and celery sticks in that apples crackers. Um, another good ones, cottage cheese. So if you can have snacks in it, and these are cute cups because you know, they look cute. They're easy to make a bunch of them, cover them, put them in their fridge and your kid can grab it out. And it's their afterschool snack. That's great. But anything, if you even just, you know, get a bag of carrots, cut them all up so that it's ready. If you can just have something that's ready for your kid to take it, take it out and eat it. They're going to be much more likely to grab that. You know, that's, you know, when you, they get a bag of chips out of the pantry, it's because, you know, it's, it's there and it's easy.

(28:46):
So convenience is a big component of helping kids.

(28:49):
Yeah. So if you're a parent yeah. Make it a convenient choice for them.

(28:54):
Okay. Yeah. Well, it's very convenient now. So I'm going to grab, let's see. Okay. Let's go with the savory to start with. Yeah. And, uh, I'm going to have a carrot stick and maybe some celery.

(29:07):
Oh, that's great. Yeah.

(29:11):
That's the sound of nature's bounty. Hmm.

(29:15):
Yeah. Yep. Yep. They make the ranch from scratch.

(29:18):
Oh, this is the, from, from scratch ranch. Okay. I just had some very colorful vegetables in some homemade ranch or cafeteria made ranch. That was amazing now. And it was convenient. It's right in front of me. Right. Um,

(29:35):
That goes for adults too. If you can pre, you know, make your food. So it's easy to grab. Your carrots are much likely to go bad in your fridge if you just grab them out and wash them and cut them up.

(29:46):
Unfortunately, the vending machine is also very convenient. So there's competition. Now, these colorful foods, remind me of the adage. I've heard that you're supposed to eat the rainbow every day. Do the colors of your foods matter? Are you supposed to eat a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables? Yeah.

(30:05):
Yeah. The, the colors do matter. Um, I think it's just also the adage, you know, just eat a variety of foods.

(30:13):
I like pres the presentation on this. So convenience and probably presentation helps with

(30:19):
Definitely. Oh yeah. Kids are, you know, they are not different from adults in a lot of ways. If it, you know, we eat with our eyes. So if it looks good. Yeah. And kids are no different than we are when it comes to that. That's for sure.

(30:34):
Okay. I'm going to try a pair paired with yogurt. Let's see. Okay.

(30:43):
Yeah,

(30:44):
No, that's a tasty treat. Yep. That's good. Nicely done. What liquids should kids be having? Okay. So would there be an emphasis on water milk? Is juice a bad thing?

(30:56):
Yeah, definitely not. So, um, kids as well as adults, you know, uh, fluids are very important for us and water should be a big part of, you know, what we all drink every day. Um, milk is great because it's got the dairy calcium nine essential nutrients that can't be found in any other Bedford. So milk is great. Water's great juices, you know, great in, I'd say smaller amounts maybe, but juice isn't necessarily a bad thing, but just smaller amounts. Cause you'd want to be getting, you know, the nutrients that you get from like a hundred percent orange juice, you might just want to eat the orange instead, but in small amounts, that's okay too. Cause kids like is sweet and they like it. Um, as far as, you know, sodas and uh, all that, the other flavored beverages, you know, sparingly is, is probably best. Um, they've got a lot of added sugar in a lot of them. Um, so you know, if you try and focus mainly on, you know, water, milk,

(31:57):
Katie, we end every super cast with two truths and a lie. Okay. And you've told us a lot of truth about foods. What's good for us, what we need to be focused on. Now let's talk about you. Give me two truths in the line. Let's see if I can pick out the lie.

(32:12):
Okay. Um, one I've lived in Alaska. Uh, two, I was originally a blond and three I've climbed the tallest mountain in Utah. There you go. Wow.

(32:31):
I'm going to say you have not climbed the tallest mountain in Utah. Oh Nope. You have. Yeah. Were you blonde when you did it? Oh no, but maybe I would have had more fun if I was blonde. Now this is my worst two truths and a lie yet. So you have not lived in Alaska? No, I have. Yep. You have? Yep. Yeah. Alaska just for a summer, which is the lie. Um, I, yeah, I wasn't a blonde. Oh, you were not, you were never a blonde was never a blonde. Okay. Yep. Alright. Well, neither was I until my hair faded to blonde. Thank you very much for joining us today. It's been great having you. And I'm going to finish my meal here even though no one's going to force me because that would be bad. That would be done. Thanks for listening to the super cast. We hope you'll join us next time. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there.

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Happy Holiday greetings from the Supercast! On this episode we bring you sounds of the season from some very talented Jordan School District students. We also hear from students who believe that giving back is the best holiday gift of all.


Audio Transcription

(00:25):
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. As we send warm holiday, greetings your way. Some very talented students will share the gift of music with sounds of the season. We'll also hear from students who believe that giving back is the best gift of all as our high schools or middle schools celebrate successful charitable holiday giving. Let's start with some holiday music from the West Jordan high school madrigals [inaudible] we're meeting today with student body presidents. The board of education meets with student body presidents from all of our high schools. And so I thought I'd pull each of them aside and ask them a little bit about their charitable fundraiser. Tell me your name, Sydney Leaster. And you were the student body president at Mountain Ridge High School. Do you feel the weight of responsibility starting new traditions?

(02:43):
Of course. Yeah, for sure.

(02:45):
Well, it sounds like you started a great one with your charitable fundraiser. Tell us a little bit more about it.

(02:50):
So at mountain Ridge this year, we're supporting the Tyler Robinson foundation. Um, so they were started by the Robinson family and they give grants to families with children, with cancer to help for like their medical bills, their electric bills get groceries. Um, so we've been doing odd jobs is our biggest fundraiser. Every night we go out, um, we knock on doors in the community and we ask if there's any odd jobs we can do for a donation. Um, we've also been selling crushes so people can settle or can like send a can of crushed to their crush and

(03:19):
Can of crushed to their crush. Is that effective in bringing people closer together?

(03:24):
Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of love going around.

(03:27):
All right. And why is it important to involve students in this type of service do you think?

(03:33):
I think, um, when you involve the students, they're more excited because they can see the impact, especially when it's a local charity and they're more willing to donate and bringing the community to donate

(03:43):
Anything you've observed happened with students that was particularly moving for you this year.

(03:49):
Um, yeah, so at our opening assembly, we had one of the kids from the Tyler Robinson foundation. His name is Tate. He came, um, and it was just really cool to see our students like rally around him and really show him a lot of respect and just get excited to donate.

(04:03):
Fantastic. Hi, tell us your name, Isaac Nazi, VI and Isaac. Tell us a little bit about what you've been doing as student body president at Bingham in terms of overseeing the charitable fundraiser effort. Yeah. So for our charities, we've been doing a lot of newer activities this year. Um, we started doing crush like you, like mountain Ridge has done, and other schools in the district have done. It's actually been really successful. We do Christmas grams during one. Should we sell a lot of apparel? Um, tonight actually we have a male beauty pageant that we're doing that I'm actually participating in. And that should be a lot of fun that should raise a lot of money. Is this your first beauty pageant? This is my first beauty pageant. Yes. Best of luck, Isaac. Thank you. What other activities you guys up to? Um, we had a talent show.

(04:50):
Um, we had a lot of awesome, talented kids show up to that. Um, we have a Zoombathon later this week, our dance go and ballroom team have put together and that that's a lot of fun. And our improv team always does a really successful December improv show called the pay-to-play where the more you pay the longer the show goes. And that's a lot of fun as well. It sounds like you guys have been really creative and trying to involve students. What is the impact that you hope to have on the students at Bingham? Um, as far as like student environment, I just hope that we have this season of giving and then keep the mentality going for the rest of the year. Um, I think it's been successful so far and I think that the students at Bingham have, um, a really, really giving mentality and mindset and always stick with each other.

(05:32):
And if we could just keep that going, that would be awesome. So there's a lot of benefit beyond raising money for charity, which is very important in and of itself. Yeah, most definitely. I would say just the change in the students themselves as easily, as important as the amount of money that we raise. So what charity did you choose to, uh, benefit this year? So we actually have three, we have the Make-A-Wish foundation. We have a wish kid. Her name is Julia she's wishing to go to Disney. Um, and then we're helping the Jordan education foundation and the principal's pantry in order to provide food for students who might not have the same opportunities and, uh, food on the weekends and, um, during lunch and at school. And then we also are helping the Starlight foundation, which helps foster kids did looking for the right charity, help students realize just how much need there is out there.

(06:22):
Do you think? I think so. I think that looking for the charity and informing people about the charities that we serve definitely changes, um, the environment during charity season. And I also think it changes the environment, um, that the students have for the rest of their lives and the awareness that are brought up about these issues. Okay. Thanks, Isaac. Tell me your name, Cooper, Lando. And you're the student body president of the copper Hills high school. Yup. So what are you guys up to in terms of, uh, your fundraiser for this month? Um, so we started our fundraiser about a week ago and it's been going really well. We've mainly been getting donations from our local community and the students. And, um, we were really surprised when two days into it, we restart $10,000 Mark, which is sooner than any previous year before. So we're really excited about that.

(07:12):
The, uh, there are a few things that you're doing differently this year. Tell us about that. Um, so in the past we've done this thing, odd jobs where we go around to different communities and collect donations and we've done it like a few times in the entire time, but this time we're trying to do it every single day and involve our students more to, um, have them have more of a part in getting and raising money, even if it's not through them donating, but through them coming with us to odd jobs. And it's just been really cool so far for us. So that sounds like more of an emphasis on taking the time to give service rather than necessarily how much money you raised. Yeah, exactly. That's what, we're a lot of times more focusing on like a lot of people for odd jobs have, um, like said, can you come back?

(07:58):
And then we schedule like an hour, like two hour long, a period of time with them where we will just like do household chores for them, or like rake leaves. And they really appreciate it. Even if they can't donate a lot of money, it's still just a really good feeling afterwards. Does that connect students and bring them together in a different way when you're working together like that? I really think it does because especially when you're doing it and you know that none of the proceeds are going to you, but they're all going to a really good cause, which is in our community and knowing that it could be going to anyone around you and you just never know, it's just a really cool thing for us. And I think that's how, um, our student body is so United during this time. Tell us about what charities you chose to, uh, benefit this year. So, um, unlike other schools, we don't donate to just a specific charity or multiple charities, but instead we, um, focus all of our time and attention towards people in our communities and the sub for Santa kind of way, where we help them provide for their Christmas

(08:56):
And it's, they can't refer themselves. They have to get referred by someone else. It's really cool because we get to do all the shopping for the kids. We get to deliver them their Christmas. And it's just a really cool thing for us. Sounds fantastic. Thanks for all you're doing. Tell me your name.

(09:13):
My name is Emily Labonte

(09:15):
And you're the student body president at West Jordan high school. Yes, I am. Tell us about the fundraising you've been doing this month.

(09:22):
So our fundraiser for the month of December, it's called mad Jags and that's an acronym and it stands for making a difference. The charity that we chose this year is the haze tuff foundation. They raised money for, um, childhood cancer and some of the unseen costs that come along with that. So we just finished our first week. We had a couple of really successful events. Um, we had a movie night in our commons. We've been doing odd jobs every day. We had a super smash bros tournament that was really fun. And we did a character day for the community, um, that we invited lots of little kids to, to come and meet their favorite characters in color and do things like that. So, yeah, it was a really, really good first week.

(10:00):
Sounds like a lot of creative activity. What is the impact that you hope this will have on students at West Jordan? I,

(10:08):
I just really hope through the whole month that people will be able to step outside themselves and really, um, yeah, just really feel good about the fact that they're making a change in other people's lives. Um, but I also really hope that it will help bring the student body together. I think when you're having a lot of different events that have really wide variety of people can be interested in then, uh, that just really increases school spirit a lot. So I'm hoping for that too.

(10:33):
Sounds great. Lots of good things going on. Thanks very much. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back more music this time from the Keller sisters who were featured on an earlier episode of the super cast, stay with us. [inaudible] Hey, you okay? Uh, yeah. I just have a lot of stuff going on in my head. You need to talk, dude, stop hiding behind the happy face. Talk with no filter, get the safe UT app, download it now available on the Apple app store, Google play or safe ut.org. My name is shy and I'm 17 years old. The Keller sisters. We actually get to skip out of school. So that's your gift to us. We're going to start out with a song by Justin [inaudible]. Alright, so this song's actually a Christmas [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]

(14:57):
Thank you for tuning in and from all of us at the super cast, happy holidays. And remember education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see,

(15:46):
[inaudible] say [inaudible] [inaudible]

(16:36):
[inaudible].

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She looks out for students who may not know where their next meal is coming from, who may need a warm winter coat, shoes, boots or students who simply need some support outside the classroom. In this episode of the Supercast we head to Copper Hills High School to meet someone affectionately known as “Mama Grizzly.” Milonie Taylor is the school’s homeless liaison and is constantly looking out for the basic needs of students facing unique challenges in life.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. She is affectionately known as Mama Grizzly and has a passion for looking out for students facing unique challenges in life. Challenges like worrying about where their next meal might come from today. We head out to Copper Hills High School to visit Milonie Taylor, the school's homeless liaison. Milonie gives us a look inside the Principal's Pantry, where students are finding the support. They need to stay in school to find success. But first, we talked to two students who say they are not only surviving, but thriving because of the support from Mama Grizzly and Copper Hills. So I'm here with two students at Copper Hills High School talking about the Principal Pantry. I'm surrounded by shelves of clothing and backpacks and school supplies and food and other household items lining the shelves in this little room. It's kind of odd shaped, the room I didn't really even know existed, although I've walked by this door many times. Tell us a little bit about how the store has benefited you, how the Principal's Pantry or store has benefited you.

Student:
Um, the Principal's Pantry is super amazing. When I first came in here, I was completely overwhelmed because I didn't know what to do. And then I got food and I got la winter coat and some winter clothes, which was super awesome. And she gave me a blanket, which is not really something that you think you need, but now it's amazing. There's lots of things in here that you don't really realize that you need, until you come in here and you think, "Oh yeah, I need some toiletries that I didn't even think that I needed or even hats and gloves. It's super awesome just to be able to have all of this available to you.

Superintendent:
So you're almost in a frame of mind of trying just to think about how little you can get by with, and you come in here and you realize some other things that could help.

Student:
Yeah, absolutely.

Superintendent:
How about you? What has your experience been?

Student:
At first when she pulled me aside and told me that I could be getting these benefits, I was really hesitant to accept them because I felt, even though my situation wasn't good, there was always somebody out there who had it worse who could benefit more. But after her coming and telling us that it really is for us and we are really the people who are meant to be receiving these items, it made me feel more comfortable accepting help. It helped, it helps a lot with food and clothing that I don't have and just getting food for the house.

Superintendent:
It's really great that you're able to come down here and get that help. Who are you referencing that's been helping you here?

Student:
Milonie Taylor. She's the one who comes down and helps all the time, but really just the community, as a whole. Especially during Christmas time, we get a bunch of donations and they really help out the whole community just by saying, "Oh you're one of those who needs help. So we're going to help you", which is super awesome.

Superintendent:
Is it hard when you know that you're in need and that you need help? Is it hard to ask or to feel comfortable getting that help?

Student:
It can be a little bit, because you have a lot of pride in yourself. I can make it on my own. I can, I do it. But then there just comes a point where you realize that you need help. And the community here is super awesome. So I wasn't scared. I knew everything would be confidential. And even my friends here that know what I'm going through, they're super helpful to me. I even have teachers that will give me food. Sometimes they're always checking up on me. I've had teachers that will contact me and say, "Hey, you weren't at school. Are you doing okay?" So yeah, it's really been amazing. At first you feel kind of alone. I don't have anyone with me. But then you realize that you're surrounded by people who are always there.

Superintendent:
It makes all the difference to be part of a community like this, where other students and teachers and Milonie, in particular, are looking out for you. No, of course. Tell me, not only has Milonie helped with providing you what you need, but she's also made you feel comfortable taking advantage of what's available.

Student:
Um, yeah, she is seriously like the second mom to all of us, the amount of effort and care that she puts forward. And how far she reaches, her heart goes beyond a lot of things.

Superintendent:
Where would you be without the help?

Student:
Honestly, I probably wouldn't come to school nearly as much. School gives me a gas card. I live 30 minutes away and so the gas card helps me so much to be able to come to school. Without this, I probably wouldn't really have a good community around me. I'd probably just try to stay away and try to figure things out on my own. I wouldn't be able to be as successful as I am now.

Superintendent:
Thank you. How do you, where do you feel you'd be without it the help?

Student:
I feel like I would be going down a road that is not very ideal for most teenagers. The Grizzly Mama would kind of take us out and take us under her wing in a way. It really helps a lot to know that somebody is looking out for you. And I could see myself very easily going in an opposite direction without it.

Superintendent:
And these are such important years, having the help right now in high school so that you can get a great foundation for other choices in your life going forward. I think the positive impact of this whole community is going to be long lasting and not just this community, but your efforts making the most of the opportunities given to you, which you're obviously doing. And I really applaud you for being willing to accept the help and making the most of the opportunities that you're given. Thank you. You both get to participate in Christmas for Kids. Are you looking forward to that? And what are your plans?

Student:
I'm super stoked when she told me about it. I don't know what to say. I'm so excited I don't even know what. I'm so happy. 'm going to go and I'm probably gonna go Christmas shopping, not only for me, but for my siblings as well. It'll be a lot of fun.

Superintendent:
How about you? Probably very similar to what she is doing, like trying to use the extra resources to help my siblings.

Superintendent:
And that's what I heard you say earlier is that you're not just taking care of yourself, but you're helping take care of your family as well, which makes it possible for you to be able to focus on your studies.

Student:
She does a really good job at making people feel comfortable with getting yourself what you need.

Superintendent:
Sounds like a lot of people could use a Milonie in their lives. You're fortunate to know her.

Student:
Absolutely over care. We call her our Grizzly Mama, because she really is. She calls us down every week. She makes sure we're all taken care of. And she really just connects with us all the time and it's super amazing.

Superintendent:
Nobody takes better care of people than the Grizzly Mama. I can tell you that. So, okay. Thanks, both of you for talking with me. Stay with us. When we come back, we hear from Milonie Taylor, better known as Mama Grizzly at Copper Hills.

Advertisement:
Hello. My name is Steven Hall. I'm Director of the Jordan Education Foundation. Have you ever experienced what it's like to surprise a teacher in the classroom with school supplies, books or a classroom grant? Have you seen students all smiles because you cared enough to give them a backpack, a winter coat, weekend food packs or a free holiday shopping spree. It's something we see all the time because it is exactly what Jordan Education Foundation does. The Foundation exists due to the generosity of people who care about kids. If you would like to be a part of supporting students and teachers in the classroom, contact Jordan Education Foundation and start making a difference today. You can find us at jordaneducationfoundation.org.

Superintendent:
Welcome back. Now it's time to talk to Mama Grizzly herself, Milonie Taylor. What does it mean to you to get to work with these students?

Milonie:
I love that I can help. I have two boys of my own and I can't imagine if they were in this situation and didn't have help. This school is so amazing. Our community's amazing. Our administration, our counselors, the teachers, it's just a huge grizzly family and we take care of our Cubs. Whatever we have to do, that's what we're going to do within our limits. And the programs that we have available are fantastic. The gas card so they have transportation, the food, the clothing, we have shoes, we have backpacks, we have school supplies. What we have is pretty much unlimited, and they can get whatever they need without question. And I want them to feel comfortable. I don't want anyone ever to fill feel bad or feel like they're taking from someone else or they're not deserving because we're all deserving at something or another in our life. I've had times in my life where I've had to live on Top Ramen. You know,  young starving college students, so I know. And even if they have to eat ramen, they're getting something. And so I love that.

Superintendent:
This is a true investment in the future.

Milonie:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. These kids can even just pay it forward. We've helped you, take this and then go pay it for it. And I have had students that I've helped in the past years that have brought stuff in. They brought their dresses, they brought their clothing. They've brought their slightly used clothes and shoes and coats to help another student that might be in need. Our custodians got all of these school supplies, so no one has to be without school supplies.

Superintendent:
There's a multiplier effect. Once you start helping, then everyone pitches in and it strengthens the community and the momentum is really something that just doesn't stop.

Milonie:
No, it doesn't stop. This is why we have piles of clothing here that I need to get put away because the community knows. Now the teachers all know, the community knows. My neighbors across the street will bring me clothing. I had a lady come in yesterday that brought me three beautiful prom dresses that she wanted to donate. They're sitting in my closet. Someone can use these. We have a huge community here, of caring people and everybody's involved. And like I said, these are my Cubs and I gotta take care of them. And I have great backup. It's not just me. I mean, it takes a village and we have an amazing village at Copper Hills.

Superintendent:
Taking care of other people is a really important part of education and the Copper Hills community.

Milonie:
Very, very, very important. I mean, I think that's, you know, it's a joy for me to be able to come to work every day because I know there's somebody that I get to help and there's somebody's life that I get to impact. Even if it's a notebook or pencils, I mean, I've had kids in here that are crying because we have a bottle of shampoo for them. They can't wash their hair, or have a comb or a brush. It's amazing. The impact just something that we take for granted every day, that we don't think anything of, that if you don't have it and you don't realize it, it's amazing how much it helps.

Superintendent:
Understanding the need the way you do helps. You do such a great job of making kids feel comfortable, accepting the help.

Milonie:
Yes. And I think it stems back to my best friend, our senior year got kicked out of her house and was living in her car for a while. This was quite a few years ago and I just remember what she went through. I worked at Godfather's pizza and she worked at Smith's Food King, and I would get toilet paper from Godfather's so she would have toilet paper. And I don't think people realize that. And so, I was directly impacted at that age where these kids are, and I know the struggles that she went through, and the help that she needed. And there wasn't any programs like this. So the fact that we can help them and we can help them stay positive, we can help them stay on track, help them stay in school. That's my most important thing because your school will start to suffer because that's the first thing that starts to go. You got to work extra hours, you go buy extra things. You have to work till midnight. You can't get up and be to school at 7:00 AM.

Superintendent:
Right? Well, the world needs a lot more Milonies.

Milonie:
Thank you.

Superintendent:
When do we need a lot more villages like Copper Hills? Describe the inventory here for us.

Milonie:
We have an amazing inventory. We have two separate rooms. We have clothing and school supplies, coats, shoes, backpacks, sleeping bags, which we unfortunately have had to have kids use, little two man tents and, gloves, hats in this basic area here, everything stacked and labeled by size so they can get to it. All of these supplies you see right here is everything that's been donated within the last month or so. We are now getting a stack washer and dryer in here. The electricians have been in here working so it's been hard for me to get in here and get it put away. So it's a good mess because it means that we have lots of staff.

So in this room, in here in this area, we have lotion, shampoo, deodorants. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, we have feminine products. Our canned food area. We don't have perishable items, for obvious reasons. Cereals, mouthwash, dental floss, canned food items. We also have cleaning supplies. Also have just clothing. I've had a young lady that came in that just started to go to church and she needed some church clothes. So she came in and got some church clothes.

My cute mom is retired. So she helps me come organize. She needs something to do. She went to Kohl's and got hangers donated so that everything's on a hanger, everything size. So I want the kids to feel like they're truly shopping.

Superintendent:
It's pretty clear in talking with Milonie Taylor that supporting students in their everyday needs and getting them to graduation is her passion. If you're not convinced, all you have to do is see her in action with students.

My most important thing is to make sure we get you graduated and that you're happy and that you're a contributing members of society and that we can help you get through. And we've had a hundred percent graduation rate with our McKinney Vento students for the last four years and you get to contribute to that this year. And so I'm really proud of both of you. Where we would be without it. I definitely don't think I would be graduating or on the path that I am now to make plans for my future. As I've mentioned with you before.

Milonie:
Girlfriend. Yeah. I can't have you ruin my numbers.

Superintendent:
Thanks for your time. And thanks for everything you're doing. We deeply appreciate the work. Milonie Taylor and others like her do, putting their hearts and souls into helping students facing unique challenges in life.

Thank you for tuning into the Supercast. We invite you to subscribe using Apple, Google, or your favorite podcasting app. There's a new episode of the Supercast available every Thursday. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see out there. [inaudible].

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They are some of the most beloved employees in any school, typically waking up before dawn to serve up smiles along with fabulous food for breakfast and lunch. We’re talking about our amazing school lunch ladies and cafeteria workers.

On this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey heads to Fox Hollow Elementary School where he experiences first-hand what it’s like to be a lunch lady and which meal students love most for lunch.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today, we head to one of the happiest places anywhere. The school cafeteria. I decided it was time to try my hand in the kitchen to find out how cafeteria workers managed to serve up massive amounts of food, along with smiles in school cafeterias every single day. Find out if I made the grade with Lunch Manager, Kathy George at Fox hollow Elementary School.

I'm here with Kathy, the Lunch manager at Fox Hollow Elementary. Thanks for letting me come today, Kathy. I'm going to get my apron on so I'm legit. I thought about just turning my sport coat around the other way as an apron, but that might backfire. So the kids are looking at me with a little bit of suspicious, like who's this new lunch worker, but, I'll do my best. I'm fortunate enough to be here on pretzel and pizza day, which would be a magical day for me if I were in elementary school. So let's see what Kathy has me do.

Kathy:
Oh, first you got to wash your hands. That's the rules.

Superintendent:
All right. I'm all scrubbed in. Oh my hat. Oh, perfect. I'll put this hat on. As far as it'll go on my enormous head.

Kathy:
Gotta wear gloves to serve pizza or pretzels.

Superintendent:
Well, I'd like to serve pretzels because I get to ask them if they want cheese.

Kathy:
You guys get to be relieved. He's gonna serve pretzels.

Superintendent:
What's the size of your staff? Who else do you have involved?

Kathy:
There are eight of us.

Superintendent:
There's eight ladies. How long have you been in launch manager?

Kathy:
This is my third year, but I've worked a long time for the school district. This is my 21st year.

Superintendent:
All right. I'm trying to keep track of things here. I tried the cheese with the right hand. I forgot to ask her if she wanted cheese. I think she wants cheese. Would you like cheese? No cheese. Alright. I like your shirt, by the way. Stranger Things. You keep feeling the sense of accomplishment when you get through one group of kids and then there's always another group of kids.

Kathy:
Always, always. Sometimes it's out the door.

Superintendent:
I'm doing the cheese left-handed now. I'm going to be ready. Okay. No, that's okay. It's an extra challenge. Would you like some cheese? Alright. I am spilling this cheese all over the place. I'm really trying, but I'm kind of feeling the pressure. Do you have any tips for how I can do a better job?

Kathy:
I usually have them put the pull tray in a little closer and then you can put it on.

Superintendent:
Tricks of the trade. I'm already getting better now. Thank you. Hold on. You're tryin sweetheart. There you go.

Oh, just empty the tray. I did my first tray of pretzels. That feels like an accomplishment. I don't always feel the sense of accomplishment in the day, but I cleared a tray of pretzels. The kids waiting in line are not impressed. They're just wanting their pretzel as fast as possible. Would you like some cheese?

Student:
Yes, please.

Superintendent:
All right, here comes the cheese. She's smiling. She's giving me a chance.

Kathy:
Remind him that there's beans over here too.

Superintendent:
Oh, we got chili over here. We got red hot chili over here.

Kathy:
So they're beans baked beans.

Superintendent:
Here we go. It's brown. Alright. You know what? I forgot the tip. You just gave me the move. That tray in go. Would you like some cheese? All right, there you go. These are very polite cheese-eaters. Would you like some cheese? Let's put that on so it doesn't fall off.

See, I didn't even, I didn't even put that pretzel on the tray. I'm sorry.

Student:
Thank you.

Superintendent:
Thanks for your patience. He was very nice, even though I kind of untied his pretzel and it ended up halfway off. Wow. It's fast paced action. Would you like some cheese, cheese on the bottom of my, on the, of there? I'm afraid a lot of kids got cheese on the bottom of their tray because of my splash zone here. But, I'm uh, let's see if I can remedy that a little bit. All right. Fresh start. New tray, new line of kids. Yep. Thanks for the thanks for the help. Alright. Would you like cheese? Pull your tray forward, please. Let's pull it right to the edge. There. There you go. I have reduced the splash zone significantly. The cheese is flowing like butter. I'm telling you, it feels like this should be an easy serve day, but it's not for me. This is a lot to think about all at the same time. I am. I am proud that I am no longer stringing cheese all the way across the counter. Do you see it?

Kathy:
You have improved tremendously.

Superintendent:
Alright, awesome.

Kathy:
And you got rid of all our beans. We never get rid of all our beans.

Superintendent:
Good. I've been pushing the beans.

Kathy:
Okay. So we're 365 pizza today.

Superintendent:
365 pizza. So I'm kind of the underdog serving pretzels. Pretzels, probably fare better against pizza than some other. Uh, what's the most popular dish besides pizza?

Kathy:
Um, orange chicken.

Superintendent:
Oh, the orange chicken. Sounds really good. Yeah. How frequently do you do orange chicken?

Kathy:
About once a month.

Superintendent:
Okay. Well, that's a rare treat.

Kathy:
So you do about 500.

Superintendent:
Wow. 500 hundred orange chicken. And what else? What are you putting in competition with orange chicken?

Kathy:
Sometimes Sloppy Joes, but that's not a big hit.

Superintendent:
I like Sloppy Joe's eighties always serve. The more we talk about this the more, I think I need to stop by for lunch. Oh, I've got kids waiting. Grab some beans. Those are limited edition beans. Don't pass them up. Feeling the sense of accomplishment when you get through one group of kids. And then there's always another group of kids waiting.

Kathy:
Always, sometimes it's out the door.

Superintendent:
Okay. So honestly, that felt really fast moving to me. Some school districts prepare food at a common site and then deliver that. But that's not true for Jordan District. We make everything right here, and a lot of it's from scratch.

Kathy:
We make homemade muffins, chocolate muffins, banana muffins. We make homemade cinnamon rolls. We make scrambled eggs, homemade scrambled eggs.

Superintendent:
Wow. That sounds fantastic.

Kathy:
We have a toaster. We make toast.

Superintendent:
And what about for lunch? What are the lunch options that you make from scratch?

Kathy:
Lasagna homemade, homemade spaghetti, homemade, sloppy. Joe's homemade tacos. We make our own bread, cakes, cookies.

Superintendent:
It's a huge operation. What is the most difficult part of your job?

Kathy:
That guessing, projecting how much food I'm going to need because we have to do our orders a week in advance before we actually serve it. So I have to just guess how much pizza we're going to do, how many pretzels we're going to do. And sometimes I don't guess right.

We have the class send down the count at the beginning of the day, but that doesn't help when you have to order a week in advance. So I have to just guess. For instance, the other day we did chicken teriyaki and I only projected 250 and it was actually 300.

Superintendent:
Oh wow. Find a third choice.

After the fast paced food service, it was time to clean up. I was assigned dishwashing duty. It's kind of like a carwash. Whoa, I'm going to drag me in.

Kathy:
So it doesn't put up like that and the dishwasher and the sink and just spray her off.

Superintendent:
All right. Oh, here we go. Blend between a carwash and feeding your luggage into the x-ray machine at the airport.

Kathy:
I want one of these at my house. Makes doing dishes a lot easier. I'm going to hire him.

Superintendent:
I think I'm going home today. I think I can go home. I think they're in good hands here. How many kids do you serve a day?

Kathy:
Probably about 3000 kids lunches a week, 400 for breakfast each day. It's hard for me to go home now and just make dinner for three of us because I'm thinking we need 40 pounds of hamburger.

Superintendent:
While I finished making a bit of a mess in the kitchen at Fox Hollow. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll have some fun talking with students about school lunch.

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Superintendent:
Tell me your name again. And what grade are you in? And do you like school lunch? What do you like about school?

Student:
Uh, I like how it tastes.

Superintendent:
Hey guys. How's it going? You guys all have school lunch here. I see. What's your favorite?

Students:
Orange chicken.

Superintendent:
I heard the orange chicken is good. What else do you guys like?

Student:
The hamburger or the curly fries.

Superintendent:
The curly fries. Do they come with the hamburger?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How are you? What's your name?

Student:
Mikayla. And I'm good.

Superintendent:
Mikayla, what grade are you in?

Student:
Sixth grade.

Superintendent:
What do you like about the lunch in the cafeteria?

Student:
It has carrots.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Okay. Very good. That's good for you. What's your favorite dish?

Student:
Um, barbecue pulled pork sandwich.

Superintendent:
Oh, okay. I didn't know they did that barbecue. That sounds good. All right. What's your name?

Student:
Sabrina.

Superintendent:
What grade are you in? Sabrina. And do you like the school lunch?

Student:
Uh, yeah.

Superintendent:
What's your favorite day?

Student:
Traveling tacos.

Superintendent:
What's the traveling tacos?.

Student:
So it usually has like Doritos on that. It has beans and chili and cheese.

Superintendent:
I've seen people walking around with those. I did not know what they were called. Those sound fantastic. I've seen them made with Fritos too.

Student:
Yeah, they used to do Fritos. Now they do Doritos.

Superintendent:
That's awesome. Uh, what's your favorite dish?

Student:
The traveling taco.

Superintendent:
Thanks for talking. Tell me your name.

Student:
Kira.

Superintendent:
What grade are you in?

Student:
I'm in six.

Superintendent:
And do you like lunch?

Student:
I feel like the school should give more choices.

Superintendent:
Like the choices that are here sometimes? What's your favorite?

Student:
Orange chicken.

Superintendent:
I'm hearing a lot of orange chicken.

Student:
It's because of the sauce. It kind of gives like a tang on your tongue. It's really cool.

Superintendent:
That does sound beautiful. Hi, Sean, what do you like about school lunch?

Student:
I like a lot of the food, especially the mashed potatoes and the chicken dinner.

Superintendent:
The mashed potatoes and chicken dinner. That sounds fantastic. How often do they happen?

Student:
It happens a lot on Fridays, but next eight days we're actually going to do the big Thanksgiving dinner.

Superintendent:
Oh, where the only choice that they have is the chicken dinner.

Student:
Oh. So when they do the chicken dinner, that's big enough so that's all they do.

Superintendent:
It's like a full Thanksgiving dinner. That sounds like something to look forward to.

Student:
Yeah, it's chicken mashed potatoes. You have like a roll and usually have a slice of pumpkin pie.

Superintendent:
Wow. Pumpkin pie at the end. I never had pumpkin pie with my school lunch. That's awesome. Well, great. Thanks for talking with me, Sean. Thank you for tuning into the Supercast. We invite you to subscribe using Apple, Google, or your favorite podcasting app. There's a new episode of the Supercast available every Thursday. I'm Anthony Godfrey. We appreciate your tuning in. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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What is it like to keep schools with more than 56,000 students operating smoothly every single day? In this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey finds out what it is like to be a school custodian by taking on some of the enormous cleaning and operating tasks himself. We also talk to student sweepers about their duties as part of the custodial team and learn how students can apply for the part-time jobs.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we find out what it's like to keep up with the custodians. We're talking about school custodians who take care of buildings that are housing more than 56,000 students. Today, I dive in and do some of the work myself with the help of Kevin Sprague, who is the head custodian at our brand new Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman. Then we follow some sweepers around and find out how they land the jobs that in many cases seem to be a perfect fit for students. Let's start with a 7:00 AM visit to Mountain Ridge High School and Custodian Kevin Sprague. How are you Kevin?

Kevin:
I'm good. How are you, Dr. Godfrey?

Superintendent:
I'm doing all right. Uh, we're here at seven and I suspect Kevin has already been here for a while this morning.

Kevin:
Yes, I have. So I've been here actually, most of the weekend. I was here yesterday for about 10 hours, working with our contractors, finishing up our auditorium and then come in early this morning to touch up, clean up for Sadie's Dance. Do some little odds and ends. So yes, early.

Superintendent:
I have a theory that anyone who works in a high school could stand in the commons at any time, day or night, and someone would walk up and have a question or have a need. Do you feel like that's true?

Kevin:
Yes. And I'm glad that the District pays for our cell phones for all of our text, communication, emails, because it comes in all the time.

Superintendent:
I have no doubt. This is the second school you've opened. Right? You opened the middle school as well.

Kevin:
Yes. I opened up Copper Mountain Middle School six years ago and then thought I'd put in for the high school and here I am.

Superintendent:
Kevin, you and I have known each other for a long time. And your family has been very involved in Jordan School District. Tell us a little bit about that.

Kevin:
Yeah, my dad retired from the Jordan School District as a head custodian. I have a younger brother that's a head custodian over at Sunset Ridge Middle. His wife is a Nutrition Service Manager over at West Jordan Middle and then myself. I've been in the District for 28 years. Made a career out of it, probably will still continue to work here. And it's been a great place.

Superintendent:
We're very glad to have so many Sprague's in Jordan School District, doing the hard work that's required to keep everything up and running and I'm going to try some of that hard work today. Don't let me break anything.

(02:37):
We'll see how you go. We're going to give you a little demonstration on our riding floor scrubbers, and we'll see how you do.

Superintendent:
Now, the riding floor scrubber, it looks kind of like a Zamboni. It's like a Zamboni-lawnmower combination.

Kevin:
These machines are great when it comes to cleaning the buildings, and such large buildings to be able to clean every day and help keep the floors up. Okay, there we go.

Superintendent:
So here's the key switch. I still turn it on. Wait, do I need to put the brake on? I don't even need to do anything yet over here.

Kevin:
Alright, so we've got the water already set, the pad pressure already set. Now we're going to start the speed really slow. You can go kind of faster, but we're going to get going. We're going to push the green button.

Superintendent:
Is it going to start moving as soon as he pushes them?

Kevin:
That's this, this right here. That'll get you going forward. This is reverse. So forward arrow.

Superintendent:
Is there water coming out of the bottom?

Kevin:
Once you start going to water?

Superintendent:
Oh, so the water comes in once I start moving. Okay.

Kevin:
Make sure you steer.

Superintendent:
I'll make sure I steer, it sounds like a hovercraft. It sounds like I'm floating on air a little bit.

Kevin:
Ok, the squeegee down. And once we start going, they'll start walking.

Superintendent:
Alright. Alright. Do I control the speed with the gas pedal?

Kevin:
You don't even need to do anything here where we've got you on the lowest speed. So as fast as you want to go on the gas pedal, you can go and then turn.

Superintendent:
Okay. Now I'm avoiding lockers here. I'm avoiding the wall, but I think it would be kind of hard to be able to see where I'd been and make sure I lined up just right.

Kevin:
You have this nice little feature too.

Superintendent:
Oh, wait. Horn. Okay. Here we go. All right. Can you customize the horn?

Kevin:
Uh, I don't know. We'd have to check in with that.

Superintendent:
I think that's worth looking into all right. I'm going to try you here. I'm going to try a U-turn. Am I actually cleaning the floor? Am I just driving?

Kevin:
You're actually cleaning the floor right now. So the water's down. Everything's doing like, we do a normal cleaning. Like I say, this would just go a little faster. You can kind of tell once you get going, but it's all right.

Superintendent:
Let's put the pedal to the metal. Let's see how, let's blow this thing wide open. Do I have to set it differently here? Oh, it's slower. Fast. It's all or nothing. Huh? I just turned it on slow. We're going to now once you get going, let's see if we can get it back to fast.

Kevin:
Okay. Now go turn everything off.

Superintendent:
Oh, wow. All right. I'm feeling a little, uh, I'm feeling a little breeze now. Oh. But I did a terrible job. Does water just keep going?

Kevin:
Now that squeegee will come back down and you'll go right back over there.

Superintendent:
Okay. Why did I leave all that water behind? I went too fast.

Kevin:
No, we turned it on just so you can see how fast it goes without the water down. And then, we're still putting water down struggling, but now you're sucking it all back up with this squeegee.

Superintendent:
Okay. That's good. I didn't want to make things worse than when I came.

Kevin:
Yeah, you're good.

Superintendent:
Well, this is not an uncomfortable way to do this work. How was it done before you had a riding one? Was it the one where you kind of had to hold it?

Kevin:
Um, well before machines, we had to do everything with a mop, a hand mop. So over my career, we've been able to change the machines. It eventually worked to a walk behind machine, and now we went to the rider machines.

Superintendent:
So then you just turn everything off here. And then once you get off at all, raise it all up.

Kevin:
So it will raise up once you get off.

Superintendent:
Everything just kicked on, now everything's off. And then you would just turn the key back. It's a complex job. And if you don't have a great person like you at the helm in your school, then it's a very difficult time. But luckily we have great custodians in our District. And we've just got more and more, like you said, that you're responsible for in these buildings, because with the advanced in technology, the buildings are more complex and the maintenance is more complex.

Kevin:
We have to adapt as custodians. People think that, I think the thing is, you know, it's always been the janitor type deal. Well, that's gone a long time ago because we adapt, you know, to computer stuff. Now we're running this $80 million building and heating and air conditioning and light controls. And so we've had to adapt. It's not just the cleaning aspect of it anymore. It's more of our district with customer service and dealing with sport activities or, things that come into our building. So we've changed. It's not just the cleaning part of anymore. We're pretty important to maintain and take ownership of the buildings. You know, custodians are on call on the weekends. If something happens, custodians are who they call. It is important to be able to keep our custodians trained. And that goes along with ourCustodial Director to keep us trained. We have our trainings too. It's not just go in, clean and mop and empty some trash cans. There's a lot more to it.

Superintendent:
Every building has its own needs and you have to get to know that particular building and the things that have been installed over the years. And we really rely on our custodians just to keep things up and running, because if the things you're doing don't work, then nobody can do anything in the building.

Kevin:
Correct. Yeah. You know, even my principal, Mr. Kochevar was telling me the other day, "You know, there's important people in the building, and everyone is important, but when it comes down to it, your custodian and your head secretary, they keep things going every day and keep it managed." And even in the summertime, when schools are closed down, you know the custodians are in here cleaning, getting it ready for the school year to start during those three months when it's downtime. And it takes that time to keep it running and keep things looking good and maintained for the year.

Superintendent:
You know, I know you get called out in the middle of the night or during the day on the weekend. What are some of the crazy calls that you've received over the years?

Kevin:
Well, you know, you hate to say it, but some of this stuff is mostly vandalism and it's a shame that we get those calls where someone's either spray painted or didn't like the school and a rival school comes in. We had two funny things here. It was over fall recess, which is kind of funny and  you really don't hear these as custodians. So you think, oh, as we go back just to cleaning. We had a falcon get into our band room when they were changing some doors out and we had to call Animal Control and help them get nets in there. It took two days to finally catch the Falcon and take it out of the band room.

Superintendent:
So there were plenty of places for a falcon to hide here.

Kevin:
Yes. And he hung out there in the band room for two days before we were actually able to catch him. So, you know, you hear those little things. The other day, I helped the administrators going out to catch a chicken in the parking lot and you know, that sort of stuff. So there's a lot of other things.

Superintendent:
Was that a little bit like Rocky II, out there with Mike chasing the chicken?

Kevin:
Yeah. It was pretty interesting. There were six of us that finally caught it.

Superintendent:
Who caught it? I want to know who caught it.

Kevin:
Bartholomew, our vice principal was able to put his foot on it finally and catch it. And then we brought it in and put it in a box.

Superintendent:
That doesn't surprise me. He does have the eye of the tiger. You can tell when you walk by. Stay with us, we're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we go sweeping or something like that, with students sweepers at Mountain Ridge High School.

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Superintendent:
We're back talking to sweepers, students who are a part of the custodial team here at Mountain Ridge High School. Hi, what's your name?

Student:
I'm Kaitlin.

Superintendent:
You're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge.

Student:
Yeah. I'm cleaning the windows on the doors and then I'm going to wipe them off

Superintendent:
Face print there in the window. Nose, mouth, cheek. Can you tell if it's male or female?

Student:
I can't, but it's probably a guy. That's usually who it is. It's usually a guy trying to get his friend's attention.

Superintendent:
Oh, look at that. He needs to exfoliate.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
It's kind of definitely tell it's really a face print. It's like a fingerprint. It's got all kinds of wrinkles in it. What percentage of classroom windows would you say have face prints from day to day?

Student:
Probably like 25%.

Superintendent:
Like one other free form as face. Oh, well it is high school. Okay.

Student:
That might be a nose or something.

Superintendent:
Yeah. That looks like a nose. All right. Wow. I do not see the attraction of doing that. It's kind of weird.

Student:
I don't get it either.

Superintendent:
I guess I've lost touch with the simple pleasures of being in high school.

Student:
Oh. Almost like someone put a sticker like right there and then peel it up.

Superintendent:
So that's probably so really there's a story behind every smudge.

Student:
Yes. That's what it is. Try to figure out the story. Sometimes I make my own up.

Superintendent:
See, now that's a girl who knows how to pass the time. Well done, Kaitlyn. And what is your specific responsibility?

Student:
Um, I clean the main level ScienceRoom, so I do garbages and the floors and gum scraping and everything.

Superintendent:
How do you get gum off?

Student:
A lot of elbow grease. You just keep going until it's gone. It's everywhere though.

Superintendent:
Have you ever seen the movie elf?

Student:
Yes. It's like that.

Superintendent:
Yeah. It is like that sometimes. Yeah. Have you ever chewed it before?

Student:
No, that's disgusting.

Superintendent:
Okay. So it's not like that to that degree. Can you tell which teacher's room is dirtier than another teacher's room? Is it consistent?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Okay. I'm not going to ask for names, but you can definitely tell a difference, huh?

Student:
Oh yeah, definitely.

Superintendent:
Okay. Alright. Fair enough. So generally, do you feel like kids are taking good care of the building?

Student:
Uh, I think they try. I think it's things happen though, right?

Superintendent:
Yeah. So how did you get the job as a sweeper?

Student:
Uh, I came in and talked to Kevin. I worked at Herriman before, so I already had everything on, certified and ready. And he had me started the next day.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Herriman to me feels like a brand new school, but it's been around for 10 years. Is there a difference working here versus working at Herriman?

Student:
Uh, yeah, a little bit. It's definitely nicer and newer and I don't know. I like it better.

Superintendent:
Thank you very much. Thanks for your workout.

Student:
Yeah, sure.

Superintendent:
Tell me, what's your name?

Student:
Mackay Mortenson.

Superintendent:
And you're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge High School?

Student:
Yes, sir.

Superintendent:
And what do you like about being a sweeper?

Student:
Um, the hours are excellent and I know my schedule clear out to the end of the school year.

Superintendent:
That's true. I remember working a part time job and always having to check and see what the assistant manager assigned me. It's kind of nice to have some predictability.

Student:
Exactly. That's exactly what it is. And it's not that many hours, just two hours right after school. And so it fits in great with extracurricular activities and all kinds of stuff.

Superintendent:
And you only work on school days, is that right?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How long have you done this?

Student:
Um, I'm coming up on two years now.

Superintendent::
Where were you before?

Student:
Fort Herriman Middle School.

Superintendent:
And how is the middle school different from the high school?

Student:
Um, in high schools, the sweeper just don't have to clean bathrooms, which is much better.

Superintendent:
Oh, I didn't know that now my son was a middle school sweeper and he was assigned the bathrooms when he was brand new. And, um, I guess the new guy always gets the bathrooms. He liked doing the bathrooms so much that he just held onto that job and he did it for four straight years. But you did not like that part of it now.

Student:
It's not my favorite. It requires a lot of detail orientation, just like every other aspect of everything. But people notice if there's something up with the bathrooms.

Superintendent:
That's true. They do notice quickly. So what responsibilities do you have here at Mountain Ridge?

Student:
Um, I cleaned the library, um, and I just help out and do what I need to do to clean, make sure everything's disinfected and vacuumed every single day.

Superintendent:
So the library is your main responsibility?

Student:
The library, and a few other classrooms.

Superintendent:
The library, and a couple of other classrooms. Okay. And then just whatever's needed along the way?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
And is this something that you might continue with or well first, let me ask you this. Are you in high school?

Student:
Yes. Here at Mountain Ridge.

Superintendent:
And so when you graduate, is this something you might consider continuing with?

Student:
You know, I think it definitely might be a good option to help get me through college and get me through schooling. The district does a really good job of taking care of their employees and I feel like it would be an excellent way for me to make a little bit of money.

Superintendent:
So how did you go about getting a job as a sweeper?

Student:
You just got to speak with the head custodian at the school you'd like to work with and he'll send you to sweeper training, that two hour class where you learn everything you need to know, and then you come in and you work.

Superintendent:
Okay, great. Thanks for talking with me. Thanks for doing a great job out there.

All right. Thank you very much. What's your name?

Student:
I'm Jonathan.

Superintendent:
And you're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How did you get that job?

Student:
Uh, I found out about it online and then my dad told me to, I'm going to have to work with him. And I said, no. So I decided to take initiative and come get this job.

Superintendent:
What does your dad do?

Student:
He owns a concrete business.

Superintendent:
So you decided concrete was not for you now.

Student:
I've done it with him before and I don't like it.

Superintendent:
What do you like about being a sweeper?

Student:
It was a pretty flexible and it's just something to help get away from home and stuff.

Superintendent:
What makes Mr. Sprague the best boss in the world?

Student:
Uh, I guess he's not like that harsh or anything. He's a cool cat. I know you were running out of here when I stopped you to interview you. Do you try to crank through as fast as you can?

Student:
Uh, not always. I usually try to do my best and get what I can done.

Superintendent:
What are your responsibilities?

Student:
I take out the trash. I clean up the classroom. I usually wipe tables off from marks and stuff. Clean windows, not too bad.

Superintendent:
People treating the building with respect, do you think overall, or have you had some problems that way?

Student:
My biggest problem is there's a bunch of messes on the floor in some classrooms, people eating and then like dumping stuff on the floor and paper everywhere and not cleaning up.

Superintendent:
Well, thanks for doing this work. I think it's a great job.

We're going to take a quick break and then have one more look inside the life of a school custodian. Come on back.

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Superintendent:
Okay. We're upstairs now. What do you call this room?

Kevin:
So this is our mechanical room. This has about nine air handler units in here that do the heating and air conditioning for the biggest part of our building, the gymnasium area, the fitness rooms, the dance rooms. So each one of these units does a certain part of the building for the heating and air conditioning.

Superintendent:
So how frequently do you change the filters up here?

Kevin:
About three to four times a year, we change the filters throughout the building. Sometimes it depends out in these areas with the construction that gets a little bit dustier. You may have to do them a little more frequent, but generally three to four times a year.

Superintendent:
We're going to go in.

Kevin:
This is one of our air handler units.

Superintendent:
It looks like I'm going to walk into a cryogenic tank here.

Kevin:
Yeah. We've got a hole there, six big fans and motors that run. And then on the backside, over here, we have a filter. You can kind of see the different stages that it goes from the outside and then goes into the building. So right in here.

Superintendent:
Oh yeah. I can feel the air flow.

Kevin:
Yep. So we've got a whole panel of filters. You step right into this machine.

Superintendent:
It's a room that  you can almost stand all the way up. I can, you can stand up in. It's like a huge walk-in closet, like wow. Okay. Yeah.

Kevin:
Yeah. So we have this whole bank of filters and what we do is we take these out and you can kind of see how the dust is in here. There's little feathers come in and then you change these out.

Superintendent:
So these are throw away. We just put in a big order. Does it start out as white?

Kevin:
Yes, they're pretty clear. They're pleated just like kind of a filter at home, but there are like 16 of them along the wall here.

Superintendent:
Oh yeah, you do see feathers and stuff. That is what it pulls in, but this is all starting to look gray. How long have these been in?

Kevin:
This has probably been in since about July so these are on their cycle to be changed. But like I say, you can see the air and the fans coming in so that it blocks all the dust and stuff, going back into the building before. So we don't get all the dust particles on a dirty air day.

Superintendent:
Do you feel like we're in good shape inside?

Kevin:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Our filtration system. The thing is, like we were saying, you saw the different thicknesses of filters. Our HVAC Department in our Energy Department did a lot of research on specific filters to get the best air quality in the building. They went to the thicker, it was a Merv Eight, so you get the thicker filter and it lasts for that time-frame. And then, depending like you say, on the construction or air outside, you may have to change a little more frequently for dust, but our air quality in our facilities are awesome. Our guys do a great job at doing that research and our Energy Department to keep that outside air flow mixture.

Kevin:
Yeah, it does a great job.

Superintendent:
Is summer one of the busier times for you in a way?

Kevin:
Yes, summer, you know,  people think, "Oh, you know, what do you do during the summers custodian?" The kids are gone. Building's empty, you know, "Hey, do you get a break too?" Well, no, we don't. We're here 12 months. We go back through. It gives us time to shampoo carpets, clean and scrub, re-wax the floors. We're still maintaining the grounds out there and doing something to make sure those sprinklers are working. The grass stays green. Oh, here's another little thing, we have what, 2,600 lockers here. Well, that combo has to be changed somehow. It just doesn't stay on that way forever. Right? So we actually have to go around, put a key in and rotate that combo to the next one so it's all ready to go so people, kids, students can't come in next year and say, "Oh, I can go try the combo." It's a different combo.

Superintendent:
What are some of the things that people may misunderstand about the work you do as a custodian that some misunderstanding?

Kevin:
Well, I think we're here also to make the education better for our students and all that come in. I think the stat, like you say, the big stereotype is, "Oh, the mean Janitor." You know, we're awesome people too. We love working with the kids. One thing that I did at my middle school is at Christmastime, I dressed up into my Santa Claus costume and gave candy canes out to the students. So we want to be a part of the kids. We don't want to be just off to the side. We're here for kids and this is their building. And we want to make the best day that they can have as they come in. So, I think that's the thing. They just think we're not part of the education of kids, but we are, and we can play an important role in making day to day activities and work a success.

Superintendent:
Well, in my experience, custodians have always been an important part of what goes on at the school in every way. And every adult has a chance to connect to kids in a unique way, and everyone connects with someone and we need everybody's help. And I think custodians do a particularly good job of connecting to kids because you're out in the building, you're out and around and they see you every day.

Kevin:
Yeah, that's true. And you know what? It was just like a last Saturday night I came and we had our Sadie Hawkins dance and to see some of the students, they come up and high-five. You know they know who you are. They know you're part of the building. And to be able to have that is great. One time I went into a Checker Auto Parts and I was checking out and the guy that was helping me said, "Hey, Mr. Sprague" and he'd remembered me from elementary school from the impact I had. You know, that's what it is. It's what you want. You want them to remember you for the positive things. We all know there's not always the best of times with students but you know what, you're here and there. It's almost like a family. You get to know the kids as they come in and then they respect you. So we appreciate that. 

Superintendent:
Thanks for everything that you do here and that you've done in every school where you've worked and for the positive impact you've had, wherever you go on students on employees, just making it feel good to be at the school where you're working.

Kevin:
Thank you very much. I appreciate it. I've done it for a long time and it's been a great place to work. And my family has found it a great place to work. And I actually have a senior that wants to go into Special Education. So it's great to be a part of the district.

Superintendent:
So if you're thinking about working for Jordan School District, come to Mountain Ridge. Talk to Kevin Sprague, and he'll give you the low down.

Well, thank you very much for being with us. Thanks a ton to Kevin Sprague for taking time out of a very busy schedule. You can hear in the background, they're hard at work here at Mountain Ridge every second of the day, keeping things up and running.

Just remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see out there.

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