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Young Food Critic Invokes Backlash

Noah Rosen, an almost ninth-grade freshman and food critic, chops homegrown basil in his own kitchen below a school project poster. His critique of cafeteria food stirred up a tempest among school administrators.

Critics serving up strong opinions run the risk of backlash from those who don’t share their views, as Laguna Beach eighth grader and foodie Noah Rosen recently discovered after posting a self-described “scathing” review of his school’s lunch offerings to his foodie blog web site “Your Taste Buddy.”

Noah’s negative commentary left school officials with a bad taste at a time when the district’s efforts to serve healthier food has run in the red because fewer kids are buying $4.50 lunches.

For the past two years, the district’s food services program went over budget by $106,000, due to higher food costs and a drop in fee-paying customers as well as an increase in demand for subsidized lunches. Last year, school officials could not say if a 75-cent price increase or menu changes were responsible.

But some of the parents on a committee working with the district’s food service administrator to improve cafeteria quality and reduce costs agreed with Noah’s basic assessment and applauded his scientific approach. “Noah did a great job,” said Tiffani Ghere, calling his review objective, consistent and unbiased. She also agreed with Noah’s assessment that the Thurston Middle School cafeteria might do well to scale back their menu to fewer items that are healthy crowd-pleasers, rather than insisting on offering numerous options of uncertain quality.

Initially unaware of Noah’s review, Thurston administrators highlighted Noah’s blog last month in their Weekend Report, which posts on-campus notices about standout activities by students outside of school, said Thurston’s principal, Jenny Salberg.

School officials subsequently discovered Noah’s disparaging review. “They felt truly offended,” said the budding food critic, who ended up removing the review after being called into the principal’s office five times to discuss what administrators told him was “very negative and untrue.”

Noah looks for freshness and quality of the food he critiques, in addition to flavor, the method of cooking and health factors. His goal is not to bash the school but to promote change. “I’m trying to get some constructive criticism going here,” he said, adding that he was offended by what he termed “intimidation tactics” when administrators complained about his first review.

Noah’s paramount concern was that his Taste Buddy posters on campus would be taken down if his review remained on the site. Prior to the school’s open house, a publicity opportunity he cherished, Noah removed his critical remarks.

“I’ve been a foodie since I was very young,” said Noah, who began the web site last December and will enter the inaugural culinary arts conservatory at Santa Ana’s Orange County High School of the Arts in August.

After his original review drew criticism, Noah decided to review Thurston’s menu options again. This time he aimed for a more objective approach using 55 students filling out detailed survey questions, as well as organizing a tasting panel of six students who weren’t friends that tried all of the regular menu items.

His conclusions remained largely unchanged, now strengthened by data. Noah courteously sent copies of his findings to school administrators before the review went live on his site last week. (View results at YourTasteBuddy.com.)

While he judged Thurston’s regular menu items as okay to terrible, he admitted that daily specials were often quite good. Unfortunately, they sell out early, so kids who habitually get to lunch later lose out on that option.

Two years ago, a district nutrition committee led by food services director Debra Appel began working  to improve the quality of basic ingredients, serve tastier dishes and reduce costs. In a presentation to the school board last month, Appel highlighted the improved nutritional value of school meals and greater availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Parent members of the nutrition committee, Tammy Skenderian and Ghere, also praised improvements incorporated so far, but suggested Laguna could do more by reworking their program and adopting best practices of other districts.

Skenderian and Ghere are also part of an informal parent group dedicated to improving school meals that have researched food vendors, chefs who help schools, and visited other school cafeterias. One finding: Laguna’s lunches are among the most expensive in the county, $1.25 more than lunches served in Irvine.

Ghere, a pediatric dietician, and Skenderian insist two key elements are necessary to achieve a high quality food service that is self-sustaining: a nutritionist to train food workers in devising healthy menus and a professional chef to teach them how to make entrees taste good. With proper training and management, possibly a repurposing of cafeteria staff, they said the district can not only improve the quality and appeal of the food, but make it pay for itself. “It can be done,” said Skenderian. “There’s a way to make this work.”

Coincidentally, an anonymous Schoolpower donor recently pledged $100,000, ostensibly to improve district nutrition. Addressing the board at that meeting, both Skenderian and Ghere suggested that such a donation might be best spent on hiring a nutritionist and professional chef to train the food services staff and overhaul the current program.

Board members, though, seemed reluctant to revamp the department’s direction and more inclined to back the purchase of a salad bar at Thurston and some grab and go food cases, though no final decision was made.

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Comments (35)

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  1. lbdad says:

    The root of the problem is the archaic and entrenched policies of the school board that allows food service workers to earn $25.00 per hour, when Sage Hill and Mater Dei, USC etc, schools food service workers earn $12.50 per hour and they serve better food that costs less because they don’t have to buy form inflated, bid-padded food distributors. Laguna, of all places should review our antiquated, fat food service program. either that, or we vote some new blood in to change things up.

  2. Thank you Jennifer and the Indy for covering this important story. I wish the school board and the Superintendent would work through these labor issues and start making fresh and healthy meals for our children.

    A salad bar and grass-fed beef burgers are not going to cut it. Our children need warm meals cooked with vegetables, such as spinach stuffed ravioli, stir-fried broccoli and snap peas, and minestrone soup. These all contain super foods and pass the picky eater test in our household. Throw in some garlic bread knots, dark chocolate chip cookies with flax, and blueberry tarts for treats and more healthy foods are included.

    Yet, our children are offered Domino’s pizza, taquitos, popcorn chicken, and hot dogs for lunch. The school board wants to spend a generous donation on a salad bar when it should be spent on training the staff how to cook.

    Why is this such a problem for the school board to solve?

  3. Peaches says:

    Wow, lbdad – if true, that’s the VERY first order of business! You sound like you have inside knowledge of this – methinks the INDY ought to do a bit of investigative reporting to verify this allegation.

    The beginning of the end was when they removed ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers from school kitchens. You aren’t meant to cook in the school cafeteria, you open boxes and cans. So sad. And gross. We need to raise our voices and ask for better choices -they’re getting there through the work of gutsy, honest people like Noah, but they have long way to go. Kudos to Noah for speaking out in a data-driven way, how smart that he surveyed his colleagues to come up with his posts.

  4. lbmom says:

    Healthy cooking and eating is not rocket science, notwithstanding the antiquated FDA regulations on what constitutes a healthy meal. Of all the places to think out of the box, I would think Laguna Beach could figure this out. Healthy soups are a great idea; my kids would devour them instead of the same old boring stuff they find in their lunch box (because they refuse to eat the school food) because we can’t keep anything warm.

  5. Marianne says:

    I just heard a talk by Amie Hamlin, head of NY Coalition for Healthy School Lunches. New York City is making great progress in student health with this program: http://www.healthylunches.org/index.htm

  6. Francesca Boschet Michel says:

    In France, where we lived before, my children learned to eat all manner of foods with their peers at the school cafeteria, sometime it reflected what we ate at home, often it was a totally new experience, one they shared with their friends – an extension of their education out of the schoolroom, but equally valuable. I sent them to school on the first day in Laguna with lunch money – they came home hungry and appalled – “Mummy, PLEASE, you have to make us lunch, the food is disgusting! We can’t eat it!” I took a look at the menu and was shocked to find almost only options of what we would consider “junk food” on the menu. School is an ideal place to educate our children’s palates, too, not just their minds! I am really surprised that Laguna hasn’t managed to do a better job – cheaper doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Of course everyone likes a burger, a slice of pizza every now and again – but every day? The students themselves have spoken – THEY DON’T LIKE IT! Noah has done a fantastic job raising awareness – I hope things will change; I would be prepared to pay for school lunch and get an extra 20 minutes of shut-eye in the morning!

  7. Peggy Wolff says:

    I would love to see LBUSD embrace the recommendations by the Nutrition group. How about a one time training expense to get those involved in food services up to snuff on new healthy practices and healthy choices at lunchtime. I think this subject deserves more investigation. I know we are in tough economic times and our school board is frugal and thoughtful with expenditures, but what kids eat everyday does contribute to the learning environment. Thanks to those people that served on the Nutrition Committee!

  8. Kaira Rouda says:

    It’s so frustrating to read the same sad story of school cafeteria food here as we faced in Malibu where we lived prior to moving to Laguna Beach. In fact, my kids’ schools in Columbus, Ohio, had the same french fry/pizza/burger for every meal story as well.

    In Malibu, several activists tried to change the kids’ meals served at Malibu schools. It was an effort led by mom Kelly Meyer (read her story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-meyer/national-launch-of-the-fi_b_522498.html) and joined by many other community leaders. To no avail. Kelly gave up, and turned her energies to launching a national Teaching Garden campaign, partnering with Jamie Oliver and others, which is now a part of the American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/HealthierKids/TeachingGardens/Teaching-Gardens_UCM_436602_SubHomePage.jsp).

    Why does this have to be so hard? The kids are suffering, we all know it. Laguna Beach does in fact have a moment in time to shine – to set an example for the rest of the state and the country. This isn’t rocket science. But if these volunteers of the nutrition committee keep being treated the way they are, they’ll be forced to give up like Kelly had to do in Malibu. I encourage you to read her story – let’s not repeat it here.

    As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “…to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
    Let’s succeed Laguna Beach.

  9. Busy "B" Catering says:

    Fewer healtheir options are a good start. We all know less is more. WOW if I had known foodservice workers in our school cafeteria made $25.00 an hour I would have applied years ago…. might rethink where I am looking for work. Nevertheless, as a cook/caterer I would be happy to help train staff in order to provide healthier meals. It’s not that hard to cook healthy and I cook for large groups constantly at low costs, you just have to know how to do it. I applaud our parents, students and staff that are trying to improve things, but we do need to help them make things happen. Are our facilities capable of doing this? Do we have kitchens and tools to actually cook? These are all things that have to be taken into consideration to make this work. Let’s all work together and help make this a reality and not just another story.

  10. kate says:

    It does not have to be so difficult to provide healthy food, there are many people who have blazed this trail already and could be brought on to help our schools as well!

  11. Sally Costanzo says:

    I strongly endorse the recommendations of the Nutrition Group and ask that the School Board have the courage and leadership to do what is best for our children. The quality of the food is appalling and educating and re-training our school staff by knowledgeable professionals to prepare healthy meals that our kids will eat must be a top priority. I am also extremely distressed that a student in our school system who cares about the quality of school food, whose health and well being have been directly affected by it, and who has taken the time to address and recommend changes would be silenced. I applaud Noah’s initiative and courage and again, ask that the School Board follow his lead and do the right thing for our children.

  12. brent martini says:

    you know what’s beautiful about kids…they tell their truth…the way they see it or in this case taste it…you know what else is cool about kids…they only say something when they care…and care about it being better than it is, whatever “it” is..in this case, the kid has been and is spot on with his “observations”…both thru personal tasting and fellow “consumers’…perhaps at this time, after over 3 years of this issue being “danced around” and at best superficially addressed, the Board will sponsor the district making real change versus minimal (albeit positive) changes. The best thing that could be done is threefold…1. before any change can or will be made, ADMIT we have a problem (although we know this first step from any person/company/organization which/who has a sickness/addiction/negative they are in denial about), 2. make believe NOTHING currently exists, meaning start with a clean sheet of paper, research and benchmark other public school systems already more successful than our current state, and 3. build a plan to get from where we are to where we want to be….just a matter of if the parents care enough to insist their is change…we’ll see….the best news is we have many talented, educated, and willing parents who are ready to help the district achieve success if asked…

  13. Christine Niermeijer says:

    I praise Noah Rosen for his strength of character and determination to find out what the students think of their food choices at school. The students (i.e: the customers) clearly want a better offering, so the next step is to give the Nutrition Service staff all the training necessary to bring their skills up to a level where the food for sale is tasty, healthy and obvious good value. Only then will the ‘Grab and Go’ units be of use …
    Thank you to Tammy Skendarian and Tiffani Ghere for not quitting during the last two and a half years, when that would have been the easy option, and for never losing sight of the end goal: the quality of food that our community’s young people deserve.

  14. Jennifer Kluver says:

    I also applaud Noah and his quest for more nutritious food to eat while at school. My almost 6th grader will be bringing all of his lunches and snacks from home unless more time is spent developing healthier choices like the ones that we can pack from home. If we are truly spending this much money on salaries and not enough on healthy options that are probably cheaper anyway, I won’t be sending him to school with money to buy anything. He will bring it all from home.

  15. Sue Monahan Larkin says:

    Laguna has a foodie treasure and an invaluable resource in Georgeanne Brennan (nee Brignell), LBHS class of ’61. Hopefully the LBUSD will do its research: http://www.evansandbrennan.com/
    They should also Google Georgeanne Brennan.

    There is absolutely NO excuse to feed our children crap. Noah…YOU ROCK.

    Aloha from across the Pacific pond…Sue (LBHS ’62)

  16. Rick says:

    And by treating Noah the way they have, they’re censoring our children?

  17. Lori Levine says:

    It’s difficult to understand why LBUSD can’t grasp the Nutrition Group’s recommendations, which involved more than 2 years of hard work by involved & dedicated parents, just as it’s hard to understand why the LBUSD can’t accept the gift of the Outdoor Classroom and Teaching Garden that was also proposed this year – what is the real story? Thank you Noah for having the courage to get this conversation going!!!

  18. Kimberly OBrien-Young says:

    KUDOS to Noah!!! Not only has this astute 8th grader set himself a part by speaking up he has also called attention to an “issue” whether the school board wants to admit it or not! The bottom line is if the kids at Thurston do not like the food, they wont eat it. Plain and simple the menue needs to be revived and infused with true nutrition and GOOD taste! Might it cost a bit to make that happen? Absolutely! Doesnt any program cost as it is being improved? You bet it does! Our kids are worth the investment!
    What really alarms me is that anyone tried to shut down this kids voice and opinion! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!
    Noah keep up the great work! I have an 8th grader at Thurston, the next time you need 75 kids to evaluate for you and complete a questionaire please email me because I volunteer my kid!
    Thanks again!!

  19. Carrie Reynolds says:

    Running a foodservice business is difficult. Fewer products done well is a great suggestion. We have yet to try the food at Thurston….my son is looking forward to the taste test :)

  20. Leigh says:

    When we moved here to Laguna from the East Coast we were shocked that the price of a school lunch was $4.50 a
    day as compared to the $2.25 we were used to paying. We assumed this high price would mean a healthier, more tasty meal, but sadly this is not true. Our kids immediately started begging us to send them to school with lunch. 
    It is also sad to read the comment about the Malibu parents failing to make changes. Let’s hope that is not what will be said one day about Laguna Beach schools. 

  21. lori kahn says:

    A huge applause and best of luck to Noah for being a change agent, it takes enormous courage to step out of the party line and post the “truth” as he and his peers see it, and also for pursuing his passion so early in life! And how embarrassing for the District to have forced him to pull his comments on the blog! Is our District excluded from the 1st amendment!!
    Why not take Noah’s concept of surveying ALL of our children and parents and get an even bigger view of peoples opinions of the food our schools provide. I have a rising 7th and 10th grader who in 10 years have only ever eaten the occasional pizza on friday or mandarin chicken day (it came from a restaurant!), because they said the food looks and smells terrible, let alone the taste of it.
    I do give credit to the “1″ employee that the District has to run the food services department, she has worked hard to make sure our District has been ahead of the government curve on FDA standards, but beyond that has not had the resources, or support to expand the options. Our federal budgets don’t provide the money to have an exceptional lunch program, but that has NEVER stopped our community. Each year we raise additional funds for such needs, and plenty of it, year after year! How about a Schoolpower sourced grant for revamping and reeducating our school lunch programs across the board, but someone has to apply for that grant and they have to work for the District!!! Does this double edge sword show that no one in the District cares enough to do it?
    There are countless programs across the country doing groundbreaking things for our children’s health, but the first step is in TAKING RESPONSIBILITY! Come on LBUSD, get behind your constant crowing of what an exceptional school district you are and make it happen!
    http://www.californiagreensolutions.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=48

  22. Lagunamom says:

    My children have never purchased meals at school. They find it very unappealing. The schools need to give our children more credit. We aren’t living in the 60′s anymore, our children have much more sophisticated palates & are exposed to more exotic foods!

  23. Lisa Pitz says:

    I believe Noah speaks on behalf of so many LBUSD students, surely mine. On just a few occasions have my girls purchased lunch in eight years, and the critique was always the same, unpalatable. I participate in the after school program as a cooking instructor, and am dismayed at the lack of “fresh” food available to our students. I know there have been efforts made in getting fresh, organic produce to the salad bars, but much more needs to be done. I support and commend the Nutrition Group in there continued efforts, and feel a revision is needed in our food service program.

  24. Momof4 says:

    I can speak from experience that the wages across the board are not $25.00 per hour. Please keep in mind that this is an article written from one side of the story. There are a lot of healthy options on the menu at Thurston as well as the other Laguna schools. They provide a lot of healthy foods to choose from and the food service workers at the schools are dedicated to the kids and to providing them with tasty healthy options. There are several salad options, pasta salad, fresh fruits and veggies, grass fed beef for the burgers…etc. I have had my kids go through the Laguna Beach School district and never have had a problem with the food options and am very pleased to see all the new healthy choices added all the time. Not only that but the workers are always so wonderful to the kids and my kids have always wanted to buy their lunches, year after year.

    Try to remember that we can not always believe everything we read and try to look into things on your own if you are concerned. Also, there are 2 sides to every story.

  25. kathy Kent says:

    I find it really hard to believe that workers are getting paid $25 an hour. Is there some source or link to back that claim up? I don’t believe it. Sage charges between $5-7 for a meal so I’m not sure how the first poster can claim Sage’s meals are cheaper then the meals at Thurston. A salad at Sage is $6. I have also seen organic salads sold at Thurston. That is an option that was never mentioned in the above story. Looking at the blog, the students complained about the cookies and chicken sandwich that was no longer served. Those were taken out as unhealthy options. They seemed to like the popcorn chicken and pizza. We have to do a better job (myself included) of teaching our children to purchase the salad rather then the junk food option.

  26. Kathy Kent says:

    Sage is also a private school, and Laguna as a public school must also provide meals under the free lunch program. The cost of those meals will also have to be absorbed into future costs.

  27. Lisa McCarroll says:

    If it were up to me, there’d be an all organic bar every day (supervised, served & dished out by adults) with raw fruit and vegetables, and a choice of two soups, and a loaf of healthy bread with some cheese & cold cuts to make your own sandwich – voilà!
    Simple & cost efficient! Take it or leave it! No surprises :)
    Yummy & healthy

  28. Wendy Proudlock Meyer says:

    I commend Noah Rosen for speaking the truth about the “food” our school sells to our students, and backing his review with the unbiased survey of his fellow students.

    For the past two years, Laguna Beach parents have been asking the School District to improve the quality of the food it serves.  What good does a nutrition class do, if the school that teaches healthy eating in its own classroom, doesn’t even follow its own student instruction? It is now common knowledge that poor food choices affects the study habits of kids at school.  It seems that our School District is concerned about maintaining its image as a grouping of Distinguished Schools, yet fails to address one of the easiest ways to improve students overall performance, by selling nutritional snacks and lunches. 

    Our School District has failed its parents and children by ignoring the wishes of the Nutrition Committee to bring healthy food to our students, as well as dismissing the Thurston Outdoor Classroom and Teaching Garden. This was an all-volunteer and donor-funded project that was designed to give students the ability to work alongside their peers, parents and teachers, while learning to grow their own foods, appreciate nature’s bounty and discover that food doesn’t have to only come from a drive through window.
     
    Maybe more parents should follow the lead of someone less than one third their age…someone like young Noah Rosen, who asked pertinent questions and wasn’t afraid to voice his own opinion.

    The sum total of the reaction of school leadership, was especially disheartening, as it flies in the face of what quality educators ought to nuture, which is independent, critical thinking. Noah Rosen demonstrated earnest self initiative and was shamefully chastised for it.

    Food for Thought….

    Wendy Proudlock Meyer

  29. lbdad says:

    Kathy, please check out Sage Hill, Mater Dei school lunch menues, they are in fact cheaper, (salads included) and they’re a heck of a lot healthier,,,,and yes, LB school food workers salaries are public recoird,,, as are their very generous benefit packages,,,,no wonder local municipalities are going bankrupt,

  30. Sheri Morgan says:

    These are difficult financial times for so many and cautious spending is a must. With that said, our food service employees are paid $14.82-$25.52 per hour, (excluding performance pay or length of employment bonus) – this information is available on the lbusd.org web site under the department of human services. There are four levels of food service employees and a Director. Their job descriptions include preparing hot and cold food, following recipes, packaging food for sale and maintaining equipment, keeping it sanitary etc. Our highest level of food service employee is required to “assist in the planning of menus that are attractive to secondary level students and meets nutritional requirements”. Their education requirement includes “training or coursework in nutrition and quantity food preparation”. A Personal quality listed in the job description is to have “belief in high standards” Then there is Director of Food Services whose job description is hard to locate on line. What is their job description, educational requirements and why aren’t they able to guide us through this process and how did we get here to begin with? If we have a leader of the food service department and it’s employees, shouldn’t they posses these qualities and qualifications? What happened to the quality and nutritional value of our food and why? Why are we even discussing spending money on a hiring a dietician to consult our staff on developing healthy menus when we have staff whose job descriptions say they should already know how to do this and they are paid well to do so?

    Our workers are protected under union rights and replacing them it seems not an option, any new process we implement, they would need to be trained. Fair enough, but we are talking about spending precious funds to RETEACH the employees that are currently employed what they should already know. Education for continued job growth is one thing but to spend a generous donation or precious district funds for something we already pay for doesn’t make sense. Especially when our district leaders say that government funding is a continual issue. We shouldn’t be soliciting or using donations for something our district ALREADY pays for.

    I find it frustrating that this is a topic at all. What do we get for the price we pay them? How did such poor quality and quantity of food get this far to begin with? Why was the Union allowed to provide employees that can’t provide healthy meals? Why is our district leadership allowing this to happen? Why does it take a dedicated community of parents to bring to the attention something the district leaders should have safeguarded for our children to begin with, hot, healthy and nutritious lunches? Isn’t that known to be one of the keys to better learning? Their website on the lead page of Nutrition Services says that “good nutrition and learning go hand in hand”.

    While I applaud and am proud of Noah for his demonstration of maturity, integrity and grit for bringing such an important issue to the forefront of our community, our district should be ashamed. Our leaders and educators should be nurturing the independent, critical thinking skills as Wendy Meyer points out.

    Our newest district leader has demonstrated that it is difficult for her to grasp “out-of –the-box thinking”. Not only have attempts been made to ignore statistical data that supports findings that our parent community finds important to embrace, they are attempting to restrict the First Amendment Rights of Noah Rosen. They are also demonstrating that they do not want to support their very active PTA, when they walk away from an opportunity to be a leader in the nation with creative and proven successful ideas such as healthy lunches, outdoor classrooms and teaching gardens and supporting the learning differences between boys and girls.

    Our Superintendent walked out of the recent Coffee Break that presented scientific evidence on how boys and girls learn differently because she “had significant concerns about the accuracy of Mr. Gurion’s comments”. She left prior to the completion of his presentation, which supported his findings with scientific evidence.

    The same district leaders have opposed all efforts to build an Outdoor Garden and Teaching Classroom at Thurston that would provide such exceptional educational opportunities on so many levels including health, and healthy nutrition, science, solar energy and mathematics just to name a few. This garden had already received half the funding necessary and even School Power has agreed to consider funding efforts “if and only if the district supported it”. At the last PTA meeting, this garden project was announced “dead” and that the District would not support it during these unknown financial times even though the likelihood of getting it fully funded and supported through educational curriculum and our community support would help develop it and sustain it. It would take “out-of-the-box” thinking to implement curriculum that would benefit our student population in a vast array of learning opportunities but it seems that it is not a priority.

    Our district clearly does not have a great record of recent years of taking on new projects to implement the very ideals that the community of Laguna Beach was founded on.

    While it is very clear that they still don’t agree with Noah’s findings even though he has quantitative results, will they walk out on this topic because they have “significant concerns about the accuracy of his findings”? They did the first time.

    It is time that our district steps up to continue to create a district that drives our kids education by being “out-of-the-box thinkers”. They can tout the fact that we have music, arts and technology in our district but this is no longer “out-of-the-box thinking” it is part of the fiber of the Laguna Beach Community and our schools. Our community supports the arts, music and literature obviously. Now with groups such as Transition Laguna, and the numerous healthy and organic eating establishments, businesses and builders focusing on green products, developments etc. it is clear that Laguna Beach continues to be an “out-of-the-box” community of thinkers and doers. Shouldn’t our school district and it’s leaders reflect the same ideals as our community? Doesn’t our property tax contribute to the salaries of the district? Shouldn’t they be more responsive to what the district families want? Shouldn’t our school community be outraged?

    We need leaders moving forward in these continued financially challenging times for our state’s budget and it’s student population, that will harness the talent, energy and funding that our community has demonstrated. Our District should focus on efforts to tackle and launch those new ideas that would enrich our kids lives across the board, including creating healthy lunches and creative learning environments that all kids can thrive in. Healthy eating and learning go hand in hand as we all know and our school district touts on the website.

    Perhaps if they spent more time on those thoughts, all our kids would continue thrive in new directions for a new future because they are being taught in ways that speak to them, male or female, that learn visually or verbally and with new ideas for a bright future such as a sustainable gardens that feed a community, solar power that generates energy for lighting, watering etc. healthy eating to maintain a healthy life, (that reduces medical needs – a whole other issue) new advances in science etc. We need district leaders that are willing to demonstrate good leadership with actions that speak louder than words. If our current District leadership can’t do that, they should find a new job.

    Humbly from a mother of four brown baggers in our district.

    Sheri Morgan

  31. Sheri Morgan says:

    My apologies to all for a verbose comment but this is a pattern of behavior of our district leadership that needs to be addressed. We need answers and the district should provide them.

  32. Bluebird Canyonite says:

    Sherry, you rock, well stated,,,,people like you should run for office. Maybe Laguna needs term limits to help weed-out these entrenched, narrow-minded, status-quo thinking politicians,,,remember, competition breeds escellence.

  33. lbdad says:

    I wonder if these school board politicans forget who they work for,,,,this stuff isn’t rocket science. Laguna should be at the head of this food movement, rather than a decade behind it.

  34. [...] are the comments from Laguna Beach Independent in response to the article they printed several weeks back. Thank you all so much for support on [...]

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