This year at its annual users conference, Horizon Software honored school nutrition customers that are shooting for the stars and setting the stage for others, whether through the use of Horizon products or other creative initiatives. We proudly congratulate the following school districts on their 2016 STAR Award recognition:
Olathe Public Schools USD 233
In their full first school year of using MyPaymentsPlus, this school district has managed to get over 20,000 students registered on MyPaymentsPlus – nearly 70% of their district population. Olathe Public Schools uses their school newsletter as one of the main sources of communication and has information readily available on their website. Promoting cashless transactions alongside special cafeteria programs have excited students about eating lunch at school. These efforts include branding the nutrition program as “Café 233”, having classroom pizza parties as a reimbursable lunch option, incorporating a traveling outdoor grill to offer a picnic style menu twice a year, and a second-chance breakfast program.
In addition to these special programs, Olathe Public Schools also hosts an awards dinner for the school teams that win participation awards during National School Lunch week, and they even host a family dinner night, where parents and students are invited to tour the food production center and sample the menu. All of their hard work and ingenuity help drive participation in their nutrition programs.
Eastside Union School District
Eastside Union School District, a Horizon customer for over a decade and six-site school district, has been featured in the Valley Press, Antelope Valley Times, and even had two articles published in “Poppy Seed” magazine, a publication for the California School Nutrition Association. This district stays in the limelight by taking advantage of their local news channels and district social media networks to promote their programs and share their accomplishments with the community.
Fun programs such as taking children on a field trip to a food show with 200+ vendors, keep this district in the news. This program has been received extremely well by students, parents, and faculty, and has even received media recognition. After all, who better to better to be the taste testers than the customers themselves?
Children at Eastside Union School District are also taught how to cook, fan napkins, and even gather recipes to create a special cookbook for Mother’s Day. To promote their breakfast program, the district offers breakfast in the classroom and hosts fun programs such as trivia question games and taste testing, during National School Breakfast Week. They’ve recently received the Smarter Lunchroom Movements grant from Cornell University and are looking to begin a supper program.
Newcomer of the Year
Calhoun City Schools
Calhoun City Schools, GA, one of the first districts to implement Solana, Horizon’s cloud-based POS and School Meal Program Accountability software, was the first to receive and successfully pass an audit with Solana as their school nutrition technology platform. An audit at Calhoun City Schools, a five-site district with an enrollment of 4,100 students, concluded late January and consisted of a comprehensive review of cashier and manager procedures for selling reimbursable meals at the point of sale. Over 500 applications that determine student eligibility for free and reduced-price meals were reviewed, with not a single error found.
After three days of system and process reviews that covered everything ranging from free and reduced applications, claim reporting, and the site point of sale system, Calhoun City Schools was pleased to learn of their outstanding performance. In addition to being an early adopter of Solana, Calhoun City Schools has been instrumental in providing ongoing feedback to our development team, helping Horizon improve and build on the success of the Solana platform for other users.
Tech Trendsetter Award
Kentwood Public Schools
Eighteen-site site district, Kentwood Public Schools, pushed to have biometric technology in the state of Michigan and became the first district to implement it at all of their campuses. In addition to biometric technology at the Point of Sale, Kentwood Public Schools also offers healthy vending, allowing students to go to a machine and receive a reimbursable meal without having to wait in line or interact with a cashier.
Kentwood Public Schools has also pushed innovation beyond the cafeteria, encouraging administration to leverage MyPaymentsPlus to accept payments for not only meals, but early childhood care as well. Not surprisingly, the addition of childcare to MyPaymentsPlus, drove an increase in cashless meal payments received.
Other innovative ideas incorporate by Kentwood include the creation of a “Fast Lane” at many high and middle school locations, where there is one line at each school dedicated to cashless transactions. It may be the busiest line, but it’s still the fastest! Future plans include advertising the mobile app to students , continuing to advertise their nutrition program on social media, and exploring the latest innovations available K12 school nutrition.
Cobb County School District
Cobb County Schools, Horizon district since 2000, has over 100,000 students and 112 feeding sites. Offering to be a beta for years, Cobb County Schools is always willing to assist with testing and provide feedback for the OneSource platform. In addition to Front Office functionality, Cobb County Schools takes advantage of Back-of-House (BOH) modules including order processing, menu planning, inventory, and central warehouse, making them a perfect interview candidate for fellow districts considering purchasing a BOH solution. Cobb County was pleased to be a reference for Horizon and opened their offices to neighboring school systems. In 2015, districts such as Forsyth School District, were able to visit Cobb County Schools and ask questions about their software, to be sure they were making a good purchasing decision.
Aside from opening their “home” to other schools, Cobb County Schools incorporates exciting programs in their day-to-day operations including try-day menus, school gardens, and mobile kitchen carts with cooking demonstrations. They were also the proud recipient of the 2015 Golden Radish Award, recognizing their efforts to educate students on nutrition and agriculture.
Future plans include the expansion of MyPaymentsPlus to offer various fees and activities, in addition to after school payments available on the system today.
Fulton County Schools
Fulton County Schools, a district with an enrollment of nearly 100,000 students, utilizes Horizon Software Front-of-House and Back-of-House solutions to help manage their large and unique operation. Fulton County Schools partnered with Horizon in 2012 and since then, has provided incredible feedback to our development staff, helping Horizon improve its products and processes. At last year’s conference, they were open in providing suggestions to the OneSource calendar that Horizon has since then incorporated. Fulton has provided quality references for Horizon, welcoming questions from other districts, incorporated Horizon’s solutions in videos featured on their website, and ensured their staff is knowledgeable and informed when it comes to Horizon products, leading to less support calls and happier employees.
Aside from being a great partner, they set an example for other districts by nailing their health inspection scores and posting them online for parents to see, offering catering services, and special breakfast programs. They received a USDA best practice award for events during National School Breakfast Week and were even featured on Channel 2 Action News for changing their menus to serve healthier meals.