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Providing Our Students and Families with Better Food, Healthier Options and More Transparency

The mission of the Public Schools of Brookline commits us to “helping students develop the skills and knowledge to pursue a productive and fulfilling life.” One part of leading a fulfilling life is making smart choices about health and wellness and includes eating healthy, nutritious meals every day. Last year Superintendent Bott and the School Committee decided to partner with a professional food services management company to improve the quality, variety, and freshness of the breakfasts and lunches prepared at our schools and to respond to a compliance audit of our food service programs conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

As Superintendent Bott announced in his September PSB Family News update, the Public Schools of Brookline is now working with Whitsons Culinary Group. Whitsons was chosen through the Town’s competitive procurement process which included two representatives from the PSB Wellness Committee, the School Department’s Director of Operations, the Town’s Chief Procurement Officer, and myself.

Partnering with Whitsons allows our food service program to provide healthier and more nutritious options and increase the amount of ingredients that are locally sourced, minimally processed, and when possible, organic. Sourcing food from local vendors and farmers will help Brookline further reduce ingredients like trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavors from the meals we serve.

Working with Whitsons also allows us to be more transparent about what we are serving to our students. We now provide easy access to our menus, ingredients, and nutritional information so students and parents can make smart food choices and more easily manage any food-related allergies. In addition, we are also assured that all of the food we serve adheres to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program and is in compliance with federally mandated guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As part of our efforts to be transparent we released the September menus for every school last week. Since then we have gotten a lot of feedback on the new food options. While many parents and students have expressed how pleased they are with the improved variety and the ability to easily access nutritional information, we have also heard suggestions for improving the menus. Thank you, the input has been helpful. In response to this feedback, we will not be selling juices during lunch as a la carte options and will be modifying our menus by eliminating cereals containing more than 6 grams of sugar, and some snacks that are available on the a la carte menu. The fruit juices offered at breakfast are a 4 oz juice and are a USDA menu requirement for a breakfast meal, so they will be continued. We will also continue working with Whitsons to make sure the food offerings reflect the diverse values of our community. We are committed to providing menu options that are delicious and healthy. We apologize for initially including some items that, while allowable under federal standards, do not reinforce our community’s view of balanced nutrition.

Working with Whitsons provides our Brookline food service staff better training, improved access to organic and non-GMO ingredients, the latest culinary trends, and a greater variety in menu planning. While we are just in the beginning stages of this partnership, we are pleased with the improvements that are underway in our school kitchens across the district.

Thank you for your support and patience as we launch this new and improved approach to sourcing, preparing, and providing healthier breakfast and lunch options to the students of the Public Schools of Brookline.

For further information about our food service program, please reach out to our Director of Food Services, Gus Travassos at Mr. Travassos is located at the PSB administrative offices at 24 Webster Place in Brookline Village and his phone number is (617)730-2499.


Mary Ellen Dunn
Deputy Superintendent of Administration & Finance

Please visit our new Food Service website for more information.

Visit Our New Interactive Menus - by clicking on our new menus you can use the nutritional calculator to review nutritional information and ingredients of any food item PSB is serving. This information is especially helpful for children with diabetes and allergies so they know what foods support their individual dietary needs.

The following resources provide additional information about federal and state school nutrition guidelines:

The following resources are available to help Massachusetts schools meet competitive food and beverage standards:

  • The A-List  - An up-to-date list of vending and snack products that meet the Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools and the USDA's Smart Snacks nutritional standards
  • Massachusetts Nutrition Evaluation Tool - MassNETS
  • Recipe Tool - this tool helps Massachusetts school food service analyze recipes for compliance with both state and federal nutritional standards