The Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition Program Graduation Ceremony

CAKEOn Wednesday December 16, a ceremony was held at Framingham State University to commend the students who graduated from the Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition Program! The state-recognized certification includes five undergraduate courses over five semesters in topics designed to increase the knowledge and skills of directors and senior management who wish to advance their school nutrition careers.

Above: Graphic representation encapsulating what the program is all about.

The fifth session of the program will begin in January 2016. Visit our website to learn about the program or check out past blog posts about the program: Certificate in Excellence Tech Project Leads to an Innovative Approach to Nutrition Education, Advance your School Nutrition Career with JSI and FSU, JSI Leads the Way to meet the NEW! Professional Standards.

Congratulations to the graduates, oh the places you’ll go!

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Graduate Reflections Final

Meatless Mondays Movement

The worldwide Meatless Mondays Movement has expanded into many school nutrition Meatless Mondaysprograms in Massachusetts! The Movement is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns working in collaboration with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to reduce meat consumption. It was initiated in 2003 to support the Healthy People 2010 goal of a 15% reduction in saturated fat in the American diet. The Healthy People 2020 goals also list reduced saturated fat consumption as a goal. Since saturated fat is mainly found in animal products, going meatless is a simple way to cut back on saturated fat consumption.

Many districts across the Commonwealth are now participating in the Movement including Boston, Harvard, Hatfield, Lawrence, Nauset, Wachusett Regional, Walpole and Winchendon Public Schools. Some offer only meatless options on Mondays while others are doing voluntary participation where the students can decide if they want a meatless meal that day. Creative meatless menu options encourage students to choose environmentally friendly meatless meals. Some schools are offering garden fresh salads topped with chickpeas, protein-packed chili, black bean burrito bowls, veggie burgers, baked French toast with scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and pizza as vegetarian options.

Participating in Meatless Mondays is an opportunity to educate students about the health benefits of eating a more plant-based diet. Consuming balanced meatless meals not only encourages students to commit to healthier eating habits by participating each week, but can also contributes to decreased food costs and reduced carbon footprint at your school nutrition program. The Meatless Mondays Movement has a toolkit with useful resources for starting a Meatless Mondays campaign at your school.

Are you considering joining the Meatless Mondays Movement? JSI can help! JSI Workshop to Go Back to Basics: Meat Alternatives provides ideas on how to serve meat alternatives that are easy, look good and taste great, in a hands-on culinary class setting.

2015 MA School Breakfast Challenge Summit


JSI MA School Breakfast ChallengeWednesday December 3 the 2015 Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge Summit took place at the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. The summit was hosted by MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, New England Dairy and Food Council, Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread, School Nutrition Association of MA, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, and the Eos Foundation.

Kevin Concannon

Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA

Keynote speaker Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and
Consumer Services for the USDA discussed that school breakfast is more than just consuming calories but also an opportunity for education. He explained that for children, having school breakfast contributes to better social skills, reduced absenteeism, and reduced tardiness. Further emphasizing it’s importance he regarded school breakfast as a function of public safety for the nation’s youth.

From left to right: Karen Pappa, Food Services Director of Taunton Public Schools; Dianne Owens, Cafeteria Manager at Taunton Public Schools; John Cabral, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations at Taunton Public Schools; Julianna Valor, Audit and Compliance Specialist, ESE Child Nutrition Health & Safety

From left to right: Karen Pappa, Food Services Director of Taunton Public Schools; Dianne Owens, Cafeteria Manager at Taunton Public Schools; John Cabral, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations at Taunton Public Schools

Following the keynote were several breakout session options. One of the morning breakout sessions was Tools for a Successful After the Bell, Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) Program. This began with an exemplary video of Chicopee’s Stefanik School Breakfast in the Classroom Program. Following that was a moderated question and answer session with School Breakfast Teams from Taunton Public Schools and Malden Public Schools to discuss how to implement a successful BIC program. Some of the challenges they faced include: getting school staff onboard, lack of storage, and milk disposal in the classrooms. However, they clarified that once these kinks are worked out the results have proven that the project was well worth the challenges encountered. Benefits they have seen since implementing BIC include reduction in the number of tardy students, fewer student referrals to the office, decreased nurse visits, plus the program contributes to an increased sense of community and pride for the students who alternate the job of delivering the meals to the classrooms each day. Taunton and Malden School Breakfast Teams identified the key to a successful implementation as being frequent communication with school staff to reduce resistance and negative feelings that might arise during the early stages of the program.

After lunch, former Patriot’s player Jermaine Wiggins spoke on the topic. He urged the audience to make sure that it is their obligation to make a difference in the lives of children and explained that the children will not forget this. He recalled memories of what specific teachers, coaches, and other adults did for him when he was in school. Jermaine believes that frequent reiteration is important to instill health and wellness concepts in children and build their confidence.

Are you trying to improve or implement a school breakfast program? Check out JSI’s School Breakfast Resources! To see more images from the 2015 School Breakfast Summit, visit The JOHN STALKER INSTITUTE (JSI) Rocks Pinterest page.