It is important to measure student satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Student surveys can provide insight into why certain items may be less popular, as well as provide suggestions on how to improve acceptability.  Taste tests, focus groups and comment cards are additional ways to collect student opinions and feedback.


Program operators can also conduct self-surveys to evaluate the menu, food preparation techniques and meal service presentation.

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Food Advisory Team Taste Panel RatingGather Feedback
Corpus Christi ISD puts the focus on students.

The “Food Advisory Team” at Corpus Christi ISD (CCISD) is composed of high school students, from each high school in the district, who meet once a month with school staff members and CCISD Food Services administrators. The team is led by a student president and serves to provide input on their school cafeteria offerings. The monthly meetings are held for one hour before the start of the school day, during which time students taste test new recipes and products before they are built into the menus, as well as provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve school meals. Students also receive important school food policy updates. Membership in the group is open to all high school students and, in addition to providing feedback, the group chooses one service project each year that focuses on giving back to the community.  Click here for a sample assessment form used by CCISD to collect student input.  

Create a Fun Experience Around Seasonal Menu Items

In recognition of Kids with fruits and vegetablesNational School Lunch Week (NSLW), TDA developed suggested menus that feature recipes with seasonal, Texas ingredients. Whether you choose to incorporate one or all of these recipes, NSLW is a great opportunity to get student feedback about menu items that are new to your school lunch menu during this limited time event. One idea would be to make a play on the NSLW theme of “Score Big” by creating a score card for students to vote on whether a new menu item is a “Single,” “Double,” “Triple” or “Out of the park!” The menu item with the most votes can land a recurring place on the menu, as a student-selected favorite. Access these menus through the Square Meals website, and don’t forget to pledge your commitment to the Local Products Challenge!

Student Input Provides Valuable Feedback

It may seem like a lot Boy with thought bubbleof work to evaluate how students feel about school meals, but in fact, seeking student input can be simple and fun.  Not only can you receive helpful information to improve menu items, but students feel more engaged with their school meals when they are given a voice and a choice.  Here are some steps to get you started!

  1. Decide which element of your menu you would like to evaluate (new menu item or existing item that is not selling well).
  2. Select an evaluation method (surveys, scorecards, comment cards, voting boxes, focus groups, product sampling, etc).
  3. Establish a time frame (such as one lunch period) and participation goal (such as 50 students).
  4. Assign staff to conduct and collect the evaluations.
  5. Review the results and build a list of possible action plans to address findings.

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The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) lists these resources and providers as a service to school nutrition professionals.
This list does not constitute an endorsement or verification of accuracy on the part of TDA.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

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Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

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Texas Department of Agriculture
Commissioner Sid Miller