It’s almost time for a week-long celebration of the hard-working people who prepare healthy meals for over 30 million of America’s school children every day – May 6-10 is School Nutrition Employee Week!
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) organizes SNEW to “remind everyone—directors, managers, parents, students, and school staff —that school nutrition employees are superheroes that deserve recognition.” To drive that message home, SNA has partnered with author Jarrett Krosoczka – who wrote the “Lunch Lady” book series – to kick off SNEW with School Lunch Superhero Day on May 3.
Here at JSI, we know SNP employees must balance many roles to prepare safe and healthy meals that meet federal and state regulations, while using their creativity to make the cafeteria a fun and welcoming place. You are experts in sanitation and food safety, managers of financially self sufficient programs, and nutrition educators for children, families, and school staff. The 2012-13 school year brought additional responsibility to SNP employees, who revamped menus to include more produce and whole grains in order to meet updated federal nutrition standards and new state regulations.
So let us be among the first to say thank you for all you do for the health and wellbeing of children in Massachusetts, and enjoy the coming week that recognizes all you do!
School nutrition professionals focus on the nutrition and health of their students everyday. With a little help from JSI, they also discovered how to improve their personal nutrition and overall wellness. This school year, JSI has provided Employee Wellness Trainings at SNA of Mass Chapter Meetings across the Commonwealth. This training aligns with the strategic plan for the School Nutrition Association.
JSI recently led the SNA of Mass Chapter 3 Employee Wellness Training held at the newly renovated Tewksbury High School on March 12.
JSI presenter Anna Tourkakis led the large group of professionals from Billerica, Reading, Tewksbury, Medford, N.Reading and Pentucket, and provided the school nutrition professionals with terrific wellness resources such as the 10 tips to a great plate, 10 tips to help you eat more vegetables, and the USDA SuperTracker to help plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.
SNA offers the STEPS Challenge, a wellness program created for school nutrition professionals. It provides the resources and inspiration to help SNA members live healthier, one step at a time. The Challenge is designed to make better health and wellness simple, fun, and attainable. You can sign up for and find out more about the STEPS Challenge HERE!
Want to learn about more ways to bring nutrition and wellness into your school? Check out the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts.
The end of the school year may now be in sight, but school nutrition programs and professionals are going full steam ahead. Our recent review of the news shows that SNP staff are sharing best practices, promoting their programs, and connecting school food to the local suppliers and environment:
- As part of an annual event held by the Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids (MAHK), Billerica school nutrition professionals showed off their morning-meal skills by serving breakfast at the State House to roughly 100 state legislators, school lunch administrators, and students from Quincy, reports Wicked Local Billerica.
- Former Somerville food service director, Mary Jo McClarney (now with USDA), highlighted her experience successfully introducing healthier foods to Somerville schools when she spoke in New York about recent and upcoming changes to school-nutrition standards. Read the recap from the Times Herald-Record.
- Ezra Baker School in Dennis is forging ahead with great Farm-to-School initiatives: preparing to plant a Three Sisters garden (funded with the first Farm-to-School Initiative federal grant in Massachusetts); installing a salad bar featuring local produce; and hosting a locally-sourced meal event for families. Read the article from Cape Cod Online.
- Eighth graders at the Heath School in Brookline – working with science teachers, administration, and school nutrition staff – developed a school cafeteria composting initiative, reports Wicked Local Brookline.
We know your school or district has been busy this year, and we’d love to hear about it in the comments, or submit your story to be featured among JSI Success Stories!