Recent MA SNP News Roundup: Keeping Up the Pace

JSI newspaper icon3The 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!

Recent MA SNP News Roundup: Challenges and Kudos

JSI newspaper icon3School nutrition programs in Massachusetts are working hard to meet the challenges of expanding school breakfast, reducing food waste, and more, according to our roundup of recent news. Schools and districts are also working to overcome obstacles, and many are being recognized for their efforts:

  • Food service directors from Ashland, Framingham, Marlborough and Milton weighed in on the challenge of boosting school breakfast participation in an article from MetroWest Daily. Successful approaches appear to be those tailored to the unique infrastructure of each school.
  • Let’s Move spotlighted Somerville Public Schools as a model for farm-to-school programs on their blog. SPS has implemented the program in K-12 Food & Nutrition Services to increase students’ interest in healthier food choice.
  • Let’s Move also featured Natick’s Memorial Elementary School as an Active Schools success story.  Their “BOKS” program brings before-school exercise sessions and during-school “activity bursts” thanks to a collaborative effort by parents, teachers, and/or staff members.
  • The Eagle Tribune reports that new school-food guidelines are resulting in increased food waste in Methuen schools. Director of school nutrition services Mike Vespa said staff input and trial-and-error to fine-tune menus has cut down on food-waste volume compared with the beginning of the school year.

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!

Recent MA SNP News Roundup: Obesity Prevention, Revenue Boost and Student Survey

JSI newspaper icon2There’s a lot going on in Massachusetts school nutrition programs. In our recent review of local news, we found school districts’ nutrition programs are making changes inside schools and throughout their communities:

  • As a community, Fitchburg has made great strides to prevent and reduce childhood obesity, says this feature from WBUR. Jill Lucius, nutrition director for Fitchburg schools, talks about how full-day food service (breakfast through supper) in the school nutrition program has been a key part of the anti-obesity initiative.
  • The Menton-Upford District implemented the NutriKids school food payment system this year, and revenues are up $30,000, according to Milford Daily News. District Food Service Director Dianne Braga told the school committee that food-service managers are pleased with the new, efficient payment system.
  • Metrowest Daily News featured the statewide survey of students’ eating habits, coordinated by JSI. Some of the most interesting information came from students’ choices when considering only healthier food groups – for example, top vegetable were garden salad, broccoli and spinach. Read more on our blog about how the survey results informed the design of a four-week menu cycle in the Massachusetts Menu Planning Project.

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!

Recent News Roundup: Promoting Massachusetts School Nutrition Programs

JSI newspaper iconMost Massachusetts schools have reached the 100-day mark in the 2012-2013 year, and school nutrition programs have spent those days working hard to bring good food and nutrition to students. Our recent review of local news finds that many school districts are having promoting school nutrition programs:

  • In Bellingham, School Nutrition Director Jeanne Sheridan is flexing some marketing muscle for the school breakfast programs in middle and high schools, reports Milford Daily News. Taste tests, sampling, and promotion are all part of the mix to encourage student participation.
  • “School lunches aren’t what they used to be; they’re better,” reports the Patch in an article about updated school food in North Reading schools. District Director of Food Services Anna McGovern adds the personal touch to lunch promotion, standing on the high school line and encouraging students to take fruits and vegetables.
  • After student advisors told the Watertown School Committee that updated school lunches were too small, the schools commissioned a series of informational posters (created by student graphic artists) to explain the new federal school nutrition guidelines (Wicked Local article).
  • Billerica schools’ Tasty Thursdays –  where food services staff hand out samples of new, healthy foods – were featured in Wicked Local. Food Services Director April Laskey is quoted, describing how Billerica schools have implemented the updated school nutrition guidelines this year.

How has your school or district had success in adapting to new school nutrition standards and promoting your school food programs this year? We’d love to hear about it in the comments, or submit your story to be featured among JSI Success Stories!

Looking for more information on promoting your school nutrition program? Check out the online resources on this topic in the JSI Resource Center!