On October 17, 2016 at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo nearly 350 attendees joined the session entitled, Food Allergies: School Guidelines and Education which aimed to provide useful in-sight into the role of dietitians/school nutrition professionals can play in implementing state-level guidance and professional development for the prevention and management of life-threatening allergies in the school setting.
As a leader in school-based food allergy guidance and education, Massachusetts has updated the Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools guidelines and professional development offered to reflect the most current data, laws and policies, terminology, and protocols related to managing life-threatening allergies in the school and early childcare settings.
The Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools guidelines are intended to assist Massachusetts school districts, non-public schools, early education and care programs, and summer feeding programs to develop and implement policies and comprehensive protocols for the care of children with life-threatening allergic conditions. The guidelines address:
- Scope of the problem of childhood allergies
- Types of detailed plans that should be in place to help prevent allergic reaction emergencies and deaths from anaphylaxis
- Systematic planning and multidisciplinary team approach needed prior to entry into a school or program by the child with life- threatening allergies
- School or program role in preventing exposure to specific allergens
- Emergency management during a life-threatening allergic event
- Roles of specific staff members in the care of the child with a life- threatening allergic condition
The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University offers face-to-face and online professional development opportunities based upon the newly updated Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools guidelines to school professionals across the Commonwealth. These offerings include:
- Food Allergies Workshops to Go – 2-hour workshop delivered in Massachusetts schools for school nutrition staff and managers.
- Food Allergies Online Workshop – online version of the Food Allergies Workshop to Go provides a convenient training option for school nutrition staff, managers and directors.
- Exploring Food Allergies – 4 week online graduate course designed for teachers, nurses, school nutrition directors offered by Framingham State University’s Professional Development for Educators.
Take advantage of these food allergy professional development opportunities! Visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition web page to register online or schedule your Food Allergies Workshop to Go. For additional food allergy resources, be sure to check out the Food Allergy resources and Special Dietary Needs category in the JSI Resource Center.
On November 4th the Farm & Sea to School Conference held in Leominster MA successfully offered a wealth of ideas and resources to get schools involved with local farms and fishermen, as well as contacts to provide local produce and seafood school cafeterias! The morning began with encouraging statistics in the opening remarks from Rob Leshin, Director for the Office of Food & Nutrition Programs at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) who reported that Massachusetts ranks 9th in the country for farm to school programs and 68% of schools already have a farm and sea to school program in their cafeteria.
During the conference, two successful program models were highlighted. Through these examples, several ways to implement a farm-to-school programs were explored!
- Somerville Public School District utilizes a community supported agriculture, CSA, program with Drumlin Farm, located in Lincoln, MA, which provides Somerville Public Schools with fresh produce every week for their school salad bar!
- The produce received by the school is only what is harvested during each season.
- Drumlin Farm benefits from the money received from the CSA program.
- This year, Somerville Public Schools added field trips to the farm and in-class lessons to help children develop a closer relationship with their school.
- Grow Food North Hampton serves the North Hampton community through their Red Bag program
.Check out the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Farm and Sea to School Conference web page for more information. You can find additional resources in the Going Green category of the JSI Resource Center and our Farm to School – Supporting Local Agriculture blog