Fort Thomas, Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recognized the advantages of establishing a data management system that was uniform from state level to the smallest district. By 2009, all Kentucky districts converted to Infinite Campus, a comprehensive, Web-based student information system (SIS). Fort Thomas Independent School District is one of many Kentucky school districts taking advantage of the Infinite Campus functionality. In 2012, they decided to implement Campus Food Service, an optional premium product that has already improved communication and cafeteria efficiencies in their district.
For more than seven years, Fort Thomas used a third-party food service application. According to Rita Byrd, Fort Thomas Assistant Superintendent, “Our food service information was uploaded nightly onto the Infinite Campus SIS which was a timely task. And since our ystems were not integrated, information was not in real time. It would take 24 to 48 hours for online payments to be added to student’s accounts.”
Fort Thomas wanted seamless integration between their Infinite Campus SIS and their food service functions. “When we learned about Campus Food Service, we knew our district would benefit immensely from its functionality,” continued Byrd.
Three years after implementing Campus, Fort Thomas ‘went live’ with Campus Food Service. “Training was excellent. We had two and half days of hands-on training. Our trainer was so empowering and patient with us,” said Byrd. “We had a great handle on the new system before the school year even started. Although training has ended, I can still email my trainer with questions and he’ll quickly respond.”
According to Fort Thomas Food Nutrition Director, Gina Sawma, “On the first day of school, every student’s lunch account information was in the Infinite Campus system. We were able to keep our student’s previous account numbers, too!”
With Campus Food Service, parents and students at Fort Thomas have immediate, secure access to cafeteria information via the Campus Portal. “Parents can see their students’ lunch account, daily food purchases and deposits,” stated Sawma. “It also keeps track of historical records which is a huge bonus.”
Additionally, Fort Thomas implemented Campus Online Payments which is integrated with Campus Food Service. It’s a simple alternative to sending cash or checks with students to school. With the payments tool, users can deposit food service money using a major credit card, checking, or savings accounts from virtually anywhere. Users can also check account balances, meal selections, and review food service transactions from the Campus Portal.
“If a student forgets to bring their lunch money to school, their parents can quickly make an online payment through the Campus Portal, and the money is added to their account in real time,” explained Sawma.
Fort Thomas has experienced tremendous benefits from implementing Campus Food Service. “Every year, I receive hundreds of free and reduced lunch applications. With access to reliable, real-time data, this makes my job much easier,” said Sawma.
Additionally, the technology director at Fort Thomas saves a tremendous amount of time. “With our previous food service application, our technology director had to import and export food service information every week. Now with Infinite Campus, data is entered once and updated in real time. Integration is key.”
In addition, school-to-home communication has increased with Campus Food Service. Parents can monitor their student’s food purchases, which gives them an opportunity to encourage healthy eating. Also, they can be proactive in making sure account balances are sufficient for their student’s needs.
“I would recommend Campus Food Service to any district looking to integrate their cefeteria system with their SIS,” said Byrd. “We’ve saved so much time, and we’re confident our student information is always accurate.”