RUSD News: October 19, 2023

RUSD's Next Innovation: Farm to Tray

Scatch Cooking is Where it is At in Nutrition Services

The Rowland Unified Nutrition Services team toured Old Grove Farm in Redlands where farm to tray items are featured each month for students in RUSD. "Picked fresh that day and on the food trays inspires our food team. They spread the word to our students and encourage them to try foods because they are fresh."

There is always a bustle in a restaurant kitchen. But imagine the sounds and flurry of activity with a kitchen team that prepares food for 12,000 hungry children each day!

“The sheer volume of food we produce in a single day and what it takes to make it for just one meal – let alone breakfast and lunch would surprise people,” said Maria Davila, Director of Nutrition Services for the Rowland Unified School District. The heartbeat of the operation is at the Ruth Richard Food Center, where all meals are carefully crafted and prepared, stored, and transported to each school site. 

The next innovation in the kitchen is the expansion of scratch cooked meals and the idea of delivering fresh items “Farm to Tray.” 

At the Food Center recipes are prepared multiple times before placing new items on the menu. Then, the item is tested with every menu to improve preparation, transport, and service.  

This year we participated in the Kitchen Infrastructure Training Grant (KIT) to move school meals toward more scratch cooking. We have always had many homestyle recipes prepared from scratch like making our own chili or turkey and gravy. With this funding we are adding more fresh fruit and vegetables in the ingredients to expand our scratch menu.”

Davila says that it is a work in progress as they try recipe by recipe to continually improve. They have had to tweak existing recipes to make them KIT friendly, such as with chicken alfredo by adding broccoli to the sauce. The final test is of course if students will eat it! New recipes are introduced to students a few times and if not accepted, they will go back to the culinary cutting board and try again. 

Maria Davila, RUSD’s Director of Nutrition Services, grew up in Rowland Unified and even volunteered in the school cafeteria!

Spotlight on Homegrown Talent Maria Davila

“When I went to school at Hollingworth we took field trips to the Food Center," said Maria Davila, RUSD's Director of Nutrition Services. "My Mom worked there for a few months and I even worked at the Food Center in college as an intern. I love it here. We work with all of our satellite kitchens as a huge team and are constantly moving to get food out and into the hands (and stomachs!) of kids.”

One of the new scratch items that has been a hit with students of all ages is tuna sandwiches. “We are having to make extra of it to meet the demand each time. There is some magic in that tuna recipe, I even made it for my kids at home and they actually liked it too!”

“The secret ingredient is love and care in every recipe we make.. and a little magic,” says Davila of the surprise scratch hit, tuna sandwiches!

A partnership that Davila and her staff are incredibly proud of is the opportunity to bring fresh from the farm items to our school cafeterias.

“We work with Old Grove Farm and when we order from them they pick it that morning, prepare it and it is dropped off and delivered to every school fresh from the farm! We have done watermelon, pluots, cantaloupe wedges and are looking forward to orange slices with pomegranate in November.”

Pictured: Rowland Elementary Food Services Assistant 1 Veronica Chavez at Old Grove Farm tour.

In the News...

Nogales and Rowland 2023 AP Honor Roll Schools and AP Access Award Winners


Congratulations to both Nogales High School and Rowland High School for being named 2023 AP Honor Roll School winners from the College Board. This award is to recognize our schools for developing an AP program that creates a college-going culture and gives students opportunities to earn college credit and maximize college outcomes.

Nogales High School and Rowland High School were also honored with the AP Access Award for ensuring AP coursework is equally available to students no matter their backgrounds.


Tune Into Telemundo Morning News This Monday for Story on New Cyber Security Program at Nogales High School

WHAT TO WATCH MONDAY! Tune into Telemundo Channel 52 Spanish Morning News around 6:30-6:45 AM this Monday for a feature on RUSD's new Cyber Security Pathway program at Nogales High School. Pictured Above: Nogales High School Cyber Security Teacher Mr. Colmenares with students Joseph Torres, Rudy Trejo, Anabelle Mendoza, Azul Santos and Romeo Alvarado and Telemundo photo journalist Juan Rivera.



羅蘭學區開網路安全課程 谷歌也參與

Click to View Story in World Journal

Community Event This Saturday Buckboard Days Parade & Festival

The entire RUSD community is invited to the Buckboard Days Parade and Festival this Saturday, October 21!

  • Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast starts at 7 AM for $5 at Bell Memorial Church
  • Parade kicks off at 9 AM (Nogales & Colima)
  • Festival with booths, food and fun is from 11 AM - 2 PM at the Rowland Heights County Park.
More Info at

October 19, 2023 RUSD News Editor [email protected]

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