- Director of Food Service for Chicopee Public Schools Joanne Lennon was given the
- Fifth graders at Davis Thayer Elementary School in Franklin, MA delivered more than 300 pounds of donations to the Franklin Food Pantry this month.
- Dover-Sherborn Public Schools hosted the Back to Basics: Meat Alternates Workshop to Go to learn about the health benefits of meat alternates and how to make easy, meat-free meals in their schools.
- Oldham Elementary School in Norwood, MA was recently featured on CBS Boston for prioritizing real food in their lunchroom in collaboration with Jared Becker, Boston-based regional executive chef for Chartwells K-12. This school made several changes to their menu and their kitchen to serve food that not only tastes good but provides the nourishment students need to be successful in school.
As we enter the season of eating and indulgences, we want to keep Food Allergies top of mind in Massachusetts schools. JSI offers a self-paced, 2-hour online training on “Food Allergies” to assure your school nutrition staff has the knowledge and skills to address food allergies at school.
This training will highlight the differences between food allergies and intolerances, discuss common food allergens and demonstrate how to identify these ingredients on a nutritional facts label. Real-life scenarios are included so participants can readily apply these key learnings in a school environment. This workshop is also recognized by ESE and MDPH as an acceptable training required in the Allergen Awareness Act, M.G.L.c.140, § 6B.
If you are unable to join Session 3 of this online training, JSI also offers a Food Allergies Workshop to Go which can be hosted at your school and is also recognized by ESE and MDPH. Sign up before November 20th to complete this online training during the next session which will run from December 4-18.
Two exceptional resources included in this training are available online:
- Managing Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools
- USDA Accommodating Children with Disabilities in the School Meal Programs
Additional resources can also be found in the JSI Resource Center’s Special Dietary Needs page.
- Food Service Director Janice Watt of Foxborough Public Schools, dietetics interns from Framingham State University and her school nutrition staff put together this video to provide an “inside look” into how their school nutrition team prepares “Real School Lunch” for students.
- Look through photos of the new vegetable garden at Dutile Elementary School in Billerica, MA. With the help of Boston Cares, the Billerica Garden Committee, school parents and students, this new garden includes sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins and squash for the school.
- Now that we’ve hit the fall months, ensuring schoolchildren get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D is top of mind. Researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and colleagues conducted a study to understand how to bridge “The Vitamin D Gap” for children living in northern latitudes like New England.
If you have any new stories to share about your school nutrition program, don’t hesitate to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story may be featured in a future JSI News Roundup!
A school nutrition marketing plan can promote your team’s exceptional work and support your program’s success by increasing participation and interest from students and rallying support from parents and the local community. Here are 10 simple ways to incorporate effective marketing tactics that will take your school nutrition program to the next level.
- Develop a Marketing Strategy: For marketing success, establish a clear plan and timeline for how you will promote your school nutrition program. It’s important to establish which audience to target through each tactic. For example, with students, you will focus on marketing in the lunchroom and for parents and the local community, you can promote important information through newsletters or community events.
- Put the Spotlight on Menu Options: If you add new, healthy options to your school menu, make sure to give them the spotlight on the trayline and even showcase the food in more than one place. The Smarter Lunchrooms toolkit, shares that “Offering vegetables in two locations can result in students taking 40% more” and that “Moving fruit from a stainless steel tray to a color fruit bowl can double sales.”
- Highlight Menu Items and Nutrition Information with Digital Signage: Displaying digital signage in your lunchroom can help promote menu items and get students buzzing about nutrition. Chef Brendan Gallagher from The Hillside School uses digital signage to connect menu items with their nutritional value. Brendan said, “The way I tie it all in with the menu is if I have minestrone soup which I have on today, then I’ll tie it into let’s say a pinto bean and will talk about the nutrition of a bean” via a lunchroom digital screen.
- Conduct Taste Tests to Familiarize Students with New or Current Menu Options: Through taste tests, the Vermont FEED program, staff “…found that by connecting the three C’s (the Classroom, Cafeteria, and Community) taste tests of new food can be successfully carried out in either the classroom, often during snack time, or in the cafeteria during lunch. The most important thing is to make it a hands-on experience for students; “If they make it they will eat it.” Host small taste tests in various classrooms to promote menu options and test out potential new recipes.
- Collaborate with Teachers: Gather support from teachers to support school wellness and eat breakfast or lunch with students and discuss the importance of balanced, nutritious food choices. Encourage teachers to reiterate important nutrition messaging in more than just health and physical education classes. They can use math classes to highlight serving sizes and calories calculations or social studies to show cultural diversity in diets and how diets have changed over time.
- Organize a Student Food Service Advisory Board: Learn more about the needs and wants of students by gathering students and asking them directly. Create a volunteer Student Advisory Board to test out new menu items, flyer designs, marketing ideas and allow them to gain professional experience to build their resumes. The board members can be an extension of your outreach team and relay new information to their peers.
- Launch a “New Menu Item” Contest: As mentioned earlier, if students make a product they are more likely to eat it. Crowdsourcing new menu items from students is a great way to get students involved in your school nutrition program and find new menu options that appeal to and excite students.
- Decorate with Posters and Colorful Visuals: Encourage students to make healthier food choices at school by using simple, colorful and visually appealing posters and decorations that will catch their attention. The USDA created several posters that you can hang up in your lunchroom.
- Spread the Word through Newsletters: Use your school’s current communication line with parents and the community, and highlight new school nutrition program updates in the next newsletter or school newspaper.
- Set-up a Booth at Community events: Create a display with sample meals, nutrient analysis, recipes, and cost comparisons at an upcoming parent-teacher conference, community wellness event, neighborhood fair, etc.
The JSI Resource Center also includes many helpful marketing resources that you can utilize for your school nutrition outreach program.
Be equipped to respond to the latest school nutrition issues by enrolling in a 4-Week Online Nutrition, Health and Wellness Graduate course at Framingham State University. With the convenience of online learning, these courses run from October 2- October 29 and explore key school topics like Diabetes in Schools, Exploring Food Allergies, Linking Physical Activity to Academic Performance, and Eating Disorder Prevention.
The 4-week online Graduate courses for Nutrition, Health and Wellness include:
Diabetes in Schools: An overview of diabetes and its impact in schools for teachers, school nutrition directors, school nurses and other school professionals. Topics addressed in this course include: basic understanding of type 1 and type 2 diabetes; dietary management of diabetes and basic carbohydrate counting; and strategies to create a safe environment for students with diabetes. Participants will explore available resources to promote nutrition, physical activity, and student safety.
Exploring Food Allergies: An in-depth review of food allergies for teachers, nurses, and other school personnel. To better understand the issues facing children with these allergies, the course includes: causes, symptoms, diagnostic tools, treatment, prevention, current research and food labeling.
Move More, Learn More: Linking Physical Activity to Academic Performance: An exploration of how movement improves academic performance, classroom behavior, attention span, and the social-emotional development of students. Using evidence-based research, students explore types of physical activities for the classroom and the importance of physical education for students in grades K -12. This course includes strategies for increasing movement in schools with well-designed, effective and sustainable movement opportunities for the classroom and the broader school community.
Preventing Eating Disorders: An overview of how to prevent eating disorders in schools. Topics include: background and statistics on the four diagnosable eating disorders; disordered eating signs and symptoms; the role schools can play in the prevention of eating disorders. Resources and curricula that support healthy body image and media literacy are presented along with other creative ways school staff can incorporate awareness and prevention of eating disorders in schools. The course is intended for teachers, school nurses, school psychologists, and other school professionals.
Each course costs $205 and for those looking for continuing education credits, you can receive 22.5 PDPs for Teachers, 15 PD hours for School Nutrition professionals or 15 CPEUs for Registered Dietitians.
Register online today!
The Nuts & Bolts of School Nutrition Programs Continuation Series is back for the 2017-2018 school year! This training series will provide you with the vital information and skills to improve program operations. Upcoming sessions include both in-person and online trainings covering important topics like Special Dietary Needs, USDA Foods and Inventory Management, Procurement, Afterschool Snack, At-Risk Snack, & Extended Day Snack, Farm to School, Production Records, Recipes, CN Labels, & Product Formulation Statements and Local Wellness Policies.
Don’t miss out on the upcoming October 26, 2017 in-person session on Special Dietary Needs which will provide an overview of both the newly updated (2017) USDA Accommodating Children with Disabilities in the School Meal Programs and the (2016) Managing Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools manuals. Participants will receive a copy of the Managing Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools manual during the session. Register online by October 12, 2017 to join this session.
Join us on November 15, 2017 for the in-person session on USDA Foods & Inventory Management. This session will provide an in-depth understanding of USDA foods such as DoD Fresh, monthly offer sheets, diversion survey, and making the most of your entitlement dollars. Register online by 11/1/2017 to join this session.
All in-person trainings will be held at Framingham State University from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All online sessions will take place from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. The cost is $40 for in-person trainings. Online trainings are FREE. Those who complete seven or more sessions in the series will be recognized at the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit in May 2018.
Sign-up today for an upcoming session!
Looking for a new culinary workshop or to add a Mediterranean flare to your school menu? Look no further. 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 your students will love, such as shawarma pita wraps, hummus, tzatziki sauce, and more! School nutrition staff will enhance their culinary skills while exploring how to incorporate Mediterranean flavors into several different meal components designed to be served in the school lunchroom.
We are also pleased to offer Live-Setting Culinary Training to five schools this school year. This innovative training is an option for schools once they have completed the Back to Basic: Mediterranean Flavors workshop, since these same Mediterranean recipes will be prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside the JSI chef. The Live-Setting concept was successfully piloted at Milton High School in June 2017 and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity to more schools this year.
This innovative training was created by Chef Kent Getzin to train school foodservice teams in their live working environment during regular food production. With this new training approach, your school nutrition team can produce meals for the day while simultaneously learning valuable new culinary skills.
If you are interested, please make your online request for the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go. Email us at email@example.com for more information about the Live-Setting Culinary Training.
The summer is a great time to get a jumpstart on 2017-2018 professional development for you and your team. The Management Institute is a three-day program designed specifically for the professional development needs of school nutrition managers to strengthen their leadership and management skills.
This three-day program focuses on topics highly relevant for school nutrition managers including leadership, financial management, personnel management, communication, merchandising and nutrition. Participants learn about creating a positive culture in the lunchroom, how to effectively market food to students and develop strong communication skills to enhance relationships both inside and outside your team.
The program provides 21 hours of interactive learning over the three days from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, MA. The cost is $250 per person which covers all workshops, materials along with continental breakfast and lunch each day.
Did you know that Celiac Disease affects 1% of the population and is the world’s most prevalent genetic autoimmune condition? As May marks the beginning of Celiac Awareness Month, consider scheduling the Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go for your staff.
This interactive workshop uncovers the basics of gluten, identifies ingredients with gluten and helps attendees learn how find these items on food labels. Using practice scenarios and group dialogue, attendees discuss how to create a safe and nutritious gluten-free school environment for students with diet limitations.
Throughout the two-hour workshop, school staff will participate in hands-on activities like “Gluten or No Gluten” to reinforce their label-reading knowledge. The instructor will walk through specific activities that will prepare school staff for common scenarios they may face as they work to accommodate students with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity. Additionally, the group will discuss possible gluten-free substitutions for school menus and ensure these ideas adhere to USDA guidelines.
The workshop will also share the latest food labeling laws to identify gluten. You can learn more about how gluten-free products are labeled by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help inform how you label and package products at your school.
The JSI Resource Center is also full of great “Gluten-Free at School” resources which include links to resources actually shared in the Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go and other external links that will help staff learn about Celiac Disease, new research and find more information about gluten-free diets.
This summer, Andover Public Schools in conjunction with The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition, is hosting a Healthy Cuisine for Kids two-day interactive culinary and nutrition workshop from the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN). If you aren’t familiar with this professional development opportunity, it’s designed to help school nutrition staff work as a team to prepare, evaluate and present healthy and student-friendly recipes.
If your school is thinking about offering professional development to your staff over summer break or a future school vacation this fall, you may wish to collaborate with JSI to host a Healthy Cuisine for Kids workshop at your school. This workshop also helps attendees satisfy the USDA’s annual continuing education and training requirements for school nutrition staff.
Through 16 hours of training, participants learn new and healthy cooking methods, refresh on important kitchen skills and apply the nutrition principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The training is hands-on as attendees take part in these four culinary labs:
- Culinary basics, including the essential concept of mis en place
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain rich foods
- Meat/meat alternatives
After the workshop, participants will be able to identify quality food standards and understand nutrition principles for the foods discussed in each lab. Ultimately, participants leave the workshop feeling empowered with the tools and techniques to create meals that stand out to students and also provide nutritional value.
This workshop requires the full use of your school kitchen during the two-day workshop as well as a prep day prior to the workshop. Healthy Cuisine for Kids requires a minimum of 20-25 participants and maximum of 30 participants, so it may be helpful to join with school staff from other districts in your area.
There is no cost for the Healthy Cuisine for Kids workshop and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition can help arrange this workshop for Massachusetts schools.
If you’re interested in learning more about hosting Healthy Cuisine for Kids at your school, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with potential dates to host the workshop.