Have Your Data & Eat It Too

Last month, we hosted our annual Data Institute in New Orleans and we were thrilled to hear some amazing presentations from a wide range of Schoolrunner users.

We love it when our partner schools come to us looking for support with an idea they have for how to use Schoolrunner’s existing functionality in creative ways, and so here’s a recap of Shoshana Bochner’s “hot topic” presentation — “Have Your Data and Eat It Too.” 

Have Your Data and Eat It Too?

Shoshana is the Director of Finance and Operations at Habans Charter School. Habans has been using Schoolrunner since 2013, though it wasn’t until this year that they began using our platform as their point of sale system for school food service. POS functionality is not the intended purpose of Schoolrunner, but Habans came to us with a need and we were able to work together to create the right solution for them.

The Need

Before using Schoolrunner as their POS, Habans paid for MealTime, a system dedicated specifically to meal tracking. While this program worked well in the cafeteria, it posed a challenge for teachers, who are responsible for tracking meals students eat in their classrooms.

Shoshana and her team problem-solved by having teachers enter those meals as a behavior in Schoolrunner. This solved one problem, but the issue of disparate systems being used to track the same data remained. Shoshana knew there had to be a better way, and began wondering if Habans had to pay for this specific meal tracking program.  

“This process feels harder than it should be. We’re already tracking all other student information in Schoolrunner, why not make it be the sole system?”

We’re all about streamlining at Schoolrunner, so if there’s a way to leverage our functionality to help schools cut down on other systems, reduce costs, and save time, we’ll make it happen. Here’s how we helped Habans simplify their meal tracking workflow:

How It Works (all content in this section comes directly from Shoshana Bochner’s SRDI presentation)

  • In the cafeteria, food service staff navigate to the “Behaviors” screen and enter students’ names as they go through the lunch line. They assign the behavior “Lunch” to the group of students in their list.


  • Teachers can use their phones or computers to enter snack, supper, or lunch behaviors through the Schoolrunner app.


  • Breakfast is entered in Schoolrunner as an attendance code — “Present with Breakfast”, “Tardy (Breakfast),” or “Tardy Excused (Breakfast).”


  • Schoolrunner built a report for Habans called “Official Meal Report.” The report gives a “1” for each meal that is served to each student and is de-duped nightly at 10:00pm to correct any double meal entry.
  • Habans runs this report to get their total meal numbers for the month to file their food service claim and to make sure meals served in classrooms are entered.
  • The report is displayed by student and by homeroom. This view tells us if any teachers have not entered their meals:


Shoshana went from spending 2-3 hours a day tracking meal data to just 30 minutes. Habans’ food service program was audited by the state in December and the auditors were impressed by their meal tracking system!

“[Schoolrunner] just simplifies the whole process because all of our information is in one place, instead of gathering it from many different places.”

Not only that, but Habans has been able to save $2,000 by using Schoolrunner as their POS system.

Is Schoolrunner for You?

Using Schoolrunner as a point of sale system for school food service can help:

  • Any school/network that is 100% free lunch
  • Any school/network that uses a system like MealTime or Newton to track student meals that cost $$
  • Any school/network that uses tally sheets to track meals
  • Any school/network that serves meals outside of the cafeteria

If any of the above applies to you or a school you know, reach out to us! We’d love to help you streamline your systems and simplify your data workflows.

“Even though it is not the express purpose of the program, Schoolrunner has been extremely helpful in making the POS function work.” — Shoshana Bochner, Director of Finance and Operations at Habans Charter School






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