News Roundup

  • Dover Sherborn made the news after hosting JSI’s first-ever Live Setting Training on April 5th. The school served a Mediterranean-themed “Make Your Own Pita Pocket” lunch alongside JSI’s Professional Chef Brendan Gallagher. This training incorporated the lessons, flavors and recipes from the “Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go” and featured them live for students to enjoy in the lunchroom.
  • Dedham Schools just received a valuable grant to expand their school breakfast program. This grant, which was from Amazon for $7,500, was used to purchase a breakfast and milk cart to serve breakfast in schools that do not have a cafeteria. With this new equipment, breakfast can be delivered to students in the classroom so they aren’t hungry in the morning and can start their day on the right foot.
  • To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Medway Middle School hosted a “grain-sampling” event for students to discover different grains. The school nutrition team also created lunch dishes featuring these items so students can see how these grains can be incorporated in meals and try then in their lunches. All recipes were shared with the parents after the event.
  • On April 2nd, Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang joined the official launch of  The “My Way Café” program at Bradley Elementary school in East Boston. This program was piloted for the past year and it allows schools with in-service kitchens to prepare healthy meals for other Boston schools that do not have kitchens to increase school lunch offerings throughout the city.

Dover Sherborn Bring Mediterranean Flavors to the Lunchroom

A lunch tray from the Live-Setting Culinary Training at Dover Sherborn Regional Middle and High School filled with a pita pocket, hummus, melon mint salad, mujaddara, tzatziki and other Mediterranean add-ons.

On April 5th, students at Dover Sherborn Regional Middle and High School loaded up their trays with tabbouleh, hummus, shawarma and more as part of a “Build Your Own Pita Pocket” lunch. This special lunch was created through JSI’s first ever Live-Setting Culinary Training, which brings the “Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go” to life. With the help of JSI’s Chef Brendan Gallagher and the phenomenal school nutrition team at Dover Sherborn, the schools were able to take the concepts and Mediterranean recipes from the Workshop to Go and actually prepare them live for all students, across all four lunch periods.

The schools prepared a robust menu packed with so many tastes of the Mediterranean. The menu included chicken shawarma or hummus, Mujaddara (lentils and rice), melon mint salad and the add-ons were baba ganoush, tzatziki, tabbouleh and chopped lettuce, tomato and onion. Although these menu items were new to many students, remarks of “Can we do this more often?” and “Can we have this everyday?” could be heard among all grade levels navigating down the Mediterranean section of the tray line. At the end of the day, the school sold 250 of the Mediterranean lunches out of the typical daily 600 lunches.

Norah, the dietitian at Dover-Sherborn Regional Middle & School preparing samples of tzatziki for the students to try.

Janelle Madden, the Food Service Director at Dover Sherborn Public Schools said, “This was absolutely, no doubt a perfect match for our program. We’re always looking for ideas to make food from scratch.” If there were any leftovers once the lunch periods were over, the team was going to repurpose items like the hummus for the power pack lunches the following day.

To attract students to the Mediterranean menu items, the school posted signage and white boards in front of the doors leading to the kitchen. They also loaded up sample trays of the baba ganoush and tzatziki sauce to have students try the flavors before deciding on their meal choices.

Signage in the lunchroom to promote the Mediterranean menu options for lunch.

The Dover-Sherborn Assistant Cook Kim said, “Kids went in to today with an open mind. If kids have new ideas, we want them to bring them to the table. We’re willing to try them!”

Chef Brendan Gallagher said, “It’s exciting to see the workshop in action with the students and to also hear great feedback from them, that’s even better.” He also shared that this menu, “… brings new energy and excitement to the students and it’s also helpful for the staff to realize kids are more adventurous than they think with food.”

If you want your school to participate in this innovative culinary training, please submit an online request. Completion of the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors workshop is required to host the Live-Setting Culinary Training. A professional development day is not needed because the same Mediterranean recipes are prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside a JSI chef.

Mediterranean add-ons for the “Build a Pita Pocket” lunch

Sneak Peek into Day Two of the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs

 

The excitement from Day 1 of the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit will flow right into Day 2, with a must-see presentation on “Branding Your Program Like a Pro,” in-depth breakout sessions and a recognition ceremony for school nutrition professionals and programs from across Massachusetts.

Day Two begins at 8:00a.m. with a welcome from the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

At 8:30 a.m. we are honored to have Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, President of Nutrition for the Future, Inc. lead a presentation on “Branding Your Program Like a Pro!” She will explore how branding can help meet customer needs with a comprehensive approach to excellence. Dayle will share creative ways to include nutrition employees in marketing and promotion; to engage students, school staff, and community leaders; and to tell school nutrition success stories to all audiences.

Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, President of Nutrition for the Future, Inc.

Dayle will also be leading the “Engaging Your Customers” track on May 31st for “Growing Your Nutrition Brand.” Dive deeper with Dayle in both the morning and afternoon sessions to build a strong brand for your school nutrition program. Learn how to use branding to enhance the perception of school meals throughout your community and increase participation for all school meals.

In the “Expanding School Breakfast” track, you can join the “Thinking Outside the Cafeteria Tray” session and discover alternative School Breakfast Program service models designed to overcome barriers to participation. After that, join the “Team Up: Breaking Breakfast Barriers” panel including School Nutrition Directors and Denise Courtney, MS, RD, the Nutrition Education and School Wellness Training Coordinator for ESE Team Up. Through this session, discover new ways to promote the School Breakfast Program.

For the second day of the “Maximizing Community Support” track, the morning and afternoon sessions will focus on “Game On: Six Steps to Building a Healthier School.” Learn how to work more effectively to improve your school wellness policy and practices. Assess your school environment using the AFHK-modified CDC School Health Index and create an action plan for your school’s wellness policy initiatives.

In the afternoon, Robert Leshin, Director for the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs will host a “News You Can Use” session full of updates and essential news for Massachusetts school nutrition programs.

Each day of the Summit provides 5½ continuing education hours to meet USDA Professional Standards training needs. Don’t forget to register by May 11th and secure your spot for the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit.  

The two-day conference is sponsored by the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

Sneak Peek into Day One of the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit

What are you doing May 30th and May 31st? Mark your calendars and spend both days with us at the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit. Register by May 11th for the two-day summit and join school nutrition professionals from across the Commonwealth at the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, MA to promote healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. The schedule for Day One includes a keynote speaker you won’t want to miss, an insightful panel about enhancing or starting a School Breakfast Program moderated by the President of Project Bread, networking and educational opportunities and impactful breakout sessions throughout the morning and afternoon.

Schedule at a glance for Day One of the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit

Be sure to register for the SNA of MA Reception immediately following the Summit on May 30th from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Relax with your peers and vendors while enjoying light snacks and a free beverage (included with your $10 registration cost) in the ballroom of the Four Points by Sheraton. Participate in a scavenger hunt designed to help you learn about available products and services. Get fun facts about your vendors and school nutrition. This is networking at its best!

Day One begins at 8:00a.m. with a warm welcome from Robert Leshin, MPA Director of the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs and Karen McGrail, MEd, RDN, LDN, Director of The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

We’re honored to have Dr. Marlene Schwartz, Director for the Rudd Center for Obesity & Food Policy from the University of Connecticut as the morning keynote speaker. With almost three decades of experience researching nutrition and physical activity policies in schools and preschools throughout Connecticut, Dr. Schwartz will present on, “School Wellness: National Trends, Local Solutions.” Dr. Schwartz will review what actually gets implemented in School Wellness programs, share the effect of food marketing on children, and detail the relationship between school breakfast consumption and obesity. Walk away with the evidence to promote wellness initiatives in your district.

In the afternoon, gather for a panel with school community members and moderator Erin McAleer, President at Project Bread to discuss “Building a Strong Breakfast Coalition.” Uncover how to champion district and local support to grow a successful School Breakfast Program. Each panel member will highlight the impact of their School Breakfast programs on students and share what has worked well for their schools.

School nutrition directors are encouraged to register managers for the “Engaging Your Customers” Learning Track. In the morning, managers can participate in the “Exceptional Customer Service” session to improve customer service skills using concepts from The Guest: Everything You Already Knew About Great Customer Service.  In the afternoon, managers can join the “Empowering Staff to Improve the Customer Experience” session to explore the difference between customer service and customer experience along with the potential issues that may be impacting your program.

Cover of the 2018 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit brochure.

Each day of the Summit provides 5½ continuing education hours to meet USDA Professional Standards training needs. Don’t forget to register by May 11th.  Today is the perfect day to sign-up and cross that off your to-do list!

The two-day conference is sponsored by the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

Exploring the Culinary Versatility of Beans in Schools

Chef Janyl from JSI leading the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo

Across the country, beans are taking center of the plate on menus, including school menus. To support this popularity, JSI created the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo conducted by Chef Janyl at SNA of Massachusetts Chapter Meetings. In March, Chef Janyl led the culinary demo at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, MA, where school nutrition professionals tasted several delicious bean recipes and discovered first-hand the versatility of beans. Participants also learned how beans can add nutritional value, great flavors and texture to reimbursable school lunches.                                                                            During her presentation, Chef Janyl shared more about the nutritional and environmental benefits of cooking with beans. They are not only packed with nutrients such as fiber but beans are easy to incorporate in a variety of dishes, including recipes from different ethnic cuisines. Beans can serve as either a vegetable or meat alternate for reimbursable school lunches, are inexpensive and a sustainable food. Beans are beneficial to the environment because they can lower greenhouse gases and do not require a ton of water to grow.

Bean dips that were sampled at the March SNA of MA Chapter Meeting at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham after the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo hosted by JSI.

Chef Janyl demonstrated how to make different bean recipes like a Green Goddess Hummus and shared several tips on how to maximize this ingredient in a school kitchen. Some tips included:

  • Enhancing the vibrancy of bean dishes with color and different garnishes will make these dishes more eye appealing and exciting for students.
  • You can turn one bean dip dish into another one later in the week by adding additional ingredients like spinach to change up the look and feel of the dish without wasting food.

After the Culinary Demo, attendees sampled six different bean recipes including Barbecue Bean Dip and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Participants walked away with all the recipes and a newfound appreciation for this versatile ingredient. JSI also hosted its first Facebook Live event during the chapter meeting so all JSI Facebook fans could view the demo at home or at school. The video is on the JSI Facebook page, so if you missed it live you can watch the whole demo here.

To find the recipes that were sampled during the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo, please visit the JSI Resource Center. 

Preview of the JSI Facebook Live video capturing Chef Janyl presenting the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo.

Enroll in the 2018 Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition Program

Take the next step in your school nutrition career today and sign-up for the Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition Program this fall. To give you an insider’s perspective, we are sharing how current program participants perceive the program and how the coursework has impacted their careers as school nutrition professionals. Thirty-seven school nutrition professionals have already completed the highly acclaimed program to date. Our graduates give the program high marks, not only for the impactful coursework, but for the expertise and flexibility provided by the faculty, the networking opportunities with fellow students and the skills that are acquired and easily applied in their current school nutrition role.

When considering your career succession, you will be interested to know that this program is the state-recognized certification identified in the hiring standards for school nutrition directors as outlined in section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The certificate includes five undergraduate courses offered through Framingham State University over five semesters in topics designed to increase the competencies, knowledge and skills and advance careers for directors and senior management in school nutrition programs. Classes focus on important topics for school nutrition professionals which include:

See what individuals currently enrolled in the Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition program have to say about their experience:

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If you’re interested in applying for the 2018 Certificate of Excellence in School Nutrition program, please complete the no-cost online application no later than August 1st.  What are you waiting for? Take YOUR school nutrition career to the next level!

 

News Roundup

  • Director of School Nutrition, April Laskey, SNS of Billerica Public Schools received national recognition as one of five 2018 School Nutrition Heroes by the School Nutrition Foundation. This well-deserved award was given to April for her 12 years of serving healthy school meals to Billerica students and her incredible support and hard-work in both her school district and community.
  • Mill City Grows’ (MCG) supports local farms and Lowell Families through the “Farm to Table Family Cooking Classes” by organizing workshops for 8-10 families to learn how to prepare fresh, seasonal, affordable meals together. MCG partners with Lowell Public School District’s Food and Nutrition Services and afterschool programs to host these workshops throughout the city.
  • Bellingham schools are launching a food pantry program to minimize hunger throughout the town. With grant assistance from the Hockomock Area YMCA, this program will provide students with weekly food items to increase students’ access to healthy food.
  • Jane Rice, the kitchen manager at Taylor Elementary School in Foxborough, MA was recognized as a  “Wholesome Hero” by Rainier Fruit for her incredible work managing the school’s tower gardens. With the limited New England growing season, these hydroponic vertical gardens provide fresh vegetables like cucumbers and lettuce for students year-round.

Strengthen Your Management Skills this August at the Management Institute

Calling all managers! Take your management skills to the next level at the Management Institute this August 14, 15 and 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Devens Common Center.  This three-day program is designed specifically for the professional development needs of school nutrition managers to strengthen both leadership and management skills.

Over three days of interactive learning, participants dive into highly relevant topics like leadership, financial management, personnel management, communication, marketing, merchandising, and nutrition. Learn to leverage leadership and management skills to create a positive culture in the lunchroom, market food to students and develop strong communication skills to enhance relationships both inside and outside of their teams.

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Here is some of the feedback we received from participants at last year’s Management Institute.

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The cost to attend the Management Institute is $250 per person which covers all workshops, materials along with continental breakfast and lunch each day.

If you’re a manager or want your managers to attend the Management Institute, please register online by July 31, 2018.  Please submit one registration form for each individual registering.

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Enhance Your School Menu

The Mediterranean Diet was just ranked #1 in the Best Diets Overall category by US News and World Report. With so many unique and popular flavors to add to your school’s menu, you may be considering the possibility of offering Mediterranean cuisine to your school cafeteria.

The popular Mediterranean diet prioritizes fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the core components of each meal. These food items provide important vitamins and minerals that help students’ growing bodies, provide the necessary carbohydrates for long-lasting energy and ensure ample fiber for healthy digestion. Mediterranean cuisine encourages heart-healthy fats, vegetarian sources of protein and fresh herbs and colors that make dishes exciting and flavorful. Overall, the diet promotes a healthy weight for kids and supports proper development.

Although some of the history of the Mediterranean diet is lost with time, it’s origin stems from the Mediterranean basin. This diet has been consumed since ancient times and continues to be a popular choice today. Some countries that are part of the Mediterranean today include Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. Although they each have their own cuisines, there are many similarities in ingredients and flavor profiles. Some examples of typical Mediterranean dishes include hummus, baba ganoush, couscous, falafel and kebabs. Herbs such as mint, basil, thyme, parsley and dill are staples in these recipes.

If you are interested in incorporating Mediterranean flavors and dishes in your school lunchroom, JSI is excited to offer two NEW! culinary workshops this school year: Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshops to Go and an innovative Live-Setting Culinary Training.

The Back to Basics:  Mediterranean Flavors is a 3-hour hands-on Workshop to Go designed to advance the culinary skills of school nutrition staff while they prepare popular Mediterranean recipes that students will love. Participants explore different Mediterranean tastes that are rich in history and flavor and learn how to incorporate them into various meal components.

JSI’s newest innovative training is the Live-Setting Culinary Training which is open to five schools this school year once they have completed the Back to Basic: Mediterranean Flavors workshop. This workshop requirement is necessary because same Mediterranean recipes are prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside a JSI chef. No professional development day needed! A pilot of the Live-Setting concept was tested at Milton High School in June 2017 and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity using Mediterranean cuisine.

If you’re interested in scheduling a Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop you can make an online request. For additional resources on the Mediterranean diet, you can visit the JSI resource center.

 

 

Join the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement for the 2017-2018 School Year

There are ONLY five spots left for the SY17-18 Massachusetts Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative. Funded and supported by the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, join the over 75 Massachusetts schools that have successfully participated in this program to promote healthy food choices in the lunchroom and to boost healthy food sales.

All participating schools receive hands-on technical assistance from a Smarter Lunchrooms Certified Coach. The coach will visit each school and provide:

  • One 3-hour initial visit to complete a Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard. During this visit, the coach will take photos of the current lunch set-up, present a 30-minute Smarter Lunchrooms training for staff and work with each school to create a Smarter Lunchrooms plan of action.
  • One 2-hour follow-up visit to repeat the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard and take follow-up pictures of all lunch service changes. The coach will also collect production records and help evaluate each school’s success.

With personalized and hands-on support from a Coach, many Massachusetts schools have implemented impactful changes to get students excited about school lunch.

To join the initiative for SY17-18, your school needs both a School Nutrition Director AND Manager who are interested and excited about implementing Smarter Lunchrooms. E-mail the below information to johnstalker@framingham.edu and the Smarter Lunchrooms coordinator will contact you.

  1. Name of the School Nutrition Director AND Manager who will champion Smarter Lunchrooms at their school
  2. Email addresses of School Nutrition Director and Manager
  3. Name of the school, street address, and direct phone numbers of School Nutrition Director and Manager
  4. One to two sentences describing why you would like to participate in the initiative