2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit: Day One

Dr. Lori Coakley discusses ideas from participants during a breakout session

Dr. Lori Coakley discussed participant ideas during a breakout session

On May 24th school nutrition professionals from Massachusetts came together for the annual Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit at Four Points by Sheraton, Norwood. This annual conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition promotes healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs.

The conference kicked off with a welcome from Robert Leshin, MPA, Acting Director of the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Karen McGrail, Med, RD, LDN, Director of the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

Lori Coakley, PhD, Professor of Management, Bryant University, gave the morning keynote Leading Engagement: Transforming Your Human Capital One Employee at a Time where she discussed the ins and outs of employee engagement and gave tips on how to capitalize on employees’ potential. Later Dr. Coakley dove deeper into this topic in her morning and afternoon breakout sessions.

The lunch keynote, Leadership in the Kitchen: Moving Towards a Culture of Ongoing Learning, was given by two presenters from MassTERI who discussed work culture by first comparing it to a garden. They used the following analogy in their explanation…as a gardener (supervisor) you cannot give all your attention to just the plants (employees), you must also consider the ecosystem (culture) since the two affect each other. They continued, “In the kitchen, some things are out of your reach when it comes to affecting the culture.” They also provided several examples of things you CAN control that will positively impact the culture including: how you choose to present policy change, using effective communication, managing conflict by determining what the problem is, using adult learning techniques, and striving to accommodate a variety of learning styles when teaching employees.

Presenters from MassTERI discuss workplace culture and adult learning

Presenters from MassTERI discussed workplace culture and adult learning

Visit the 2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs webpage for presentation files from the summit. To view more photos from the conference, visit our Pinterest page The JOHN STALKER INSTITUTE (JSI) Rocks. 

Highlights from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – May 25

Join school nutrition directors and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 24th and 25th! On May 25, 2016, keynote speakers will present General Sessions in the morning and afternoon. In the morning, learn about strategies to increase selection and consumption with Juliana Cohen, ScM, ScD, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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During the afternoon keynote session, learn about news you can use with Rob Leshin, Acting Director of the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This session will open with greetings from Aleshia Hall-Campbell, Acting Executive Director of the Institute of Child Nutrition.

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The 2016 Summit will be held at Four Points by Sheraton, Norwood. Attendees can earn up to 6 hours of professional development each day of the Summit, don’t forget to register by May 6th!

Highlights from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – May 24

Join school nutrition directors and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 24th and 25th! The conference, sponsored by the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition, promotes healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs.

On May 24, 2016, keynote speakers will present General Sessions in the morning and afternoon. Learn about employee engagement and how to capitalize on your employees’ potential! Lori Coakley, PhD, a professor in the Department of Management at Bryant University, will speak about leading engagement in the morning keynote session. Dive deeper into employee engagement with Dr. Coakley as she builds off of her morning presentation with a breakout session Building Employee Engagement and Fostering Effective Communication.

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Discover how to develop your team and move your school nutrition program toward a culture of ongoing learning later in the day! Gloria A. Santa Anna, Sonia Lindop, Sarah Kahando and Jacob Carter will speak on behalf of Massachusetts Training, Education and Research Initiative (MassTERI) of the Labor/Management Workplace Education Program (L/MWEP) during the afternoon keynote presentation Leadership in the Kitchen: Moving Towards a Culture of Ongoing Learning.

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The 2016 Summit will be held at Four Points by Sheraton, Norwood. Attendees can earn up to 6 hours of professional development each day of the Summit, forget to register by May 6th!

Get Ready for the 2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit!

The 2016 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood on May 24th and 25th. The two-day conference is sponsored by the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition. School nutrition directors and business managers from across the Commonwealth are invited and encouraged to register to attend both days. The conference is aimed at promoting healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. During the morning and afternoon on both days the following presenters will hold general sessions:

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Three distinct learning tracks offer attendees an in depth learning opportunity. When you register, select the track that best meets your interests and learning needs.

  • Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child
  • Procurement
  • Building Human Capital

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit brochure will be arriving in your mail this week! Register online by May 6, 2016.

 

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.

Insights on the School Lunch Environment Podcast Highlights

The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DietPromotion-iconetics Editor-in-Chief Linda Snetselaar, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND interviewed Dr. Marlene B. Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, in a podcast Insights on the School Lunch Environment. The two discussed some challenges in the school lunch environment, how it has changed over time, strategies to make school lunches healthier, and future policy changes that could have a positive impact on school lunches.

Highlights from Dr. Schwartz’s interview

  • The challenge to provide healthy food at a low price remains difficult.
  • The requirement that each student take either a fruit or vegetable has led to plate waste concerns but Dr. Schwartz’s research and Harvard University research concluded otherwise.
  • It’s important to keep communication between students and foodservice open! Provide samples and survey students for feedback.

Listen to Insights on the School Lunch Environment podcast for more details about each of these highlights and to hear Dr. Schwartz’s forecast on future policy changes that could make a huge difference in making the school lunch environment healthier.

Local Solutions to Address the Challenges

In Massachusetts, the Harvard University 2014 study Impact of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal standards on food selection, consumption, and waste by Juliana Cohen, et al. found that, “Although food waste levels were substantial both pre- and post-implementation, the new guidelines have positively affected school meal selection and consumption.” Juliana Cohen will be a keynote speaker at JSI’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit in May 2016.

Taste testing is a great way to introduce new foods to students leading to an increase in their consumption of new, healthier menu items and in turn help to lower plate waste. See JSI’s School Nutrition Program Marketing Resources for tips on how to conduct successful taste tests.

Creating an environment that nudges students toward healthier options, aka Smarter Lunchrooms, can also lead to reduced plate waste. Through a USDA Team Nutrition grant, JSI is offering schools in Massachusetts technical assistance and support to help use Smarter Lunchrooms strategies. Additionally, there are grants available to help fund Smarter Lunchrooms Movement interventions at your school.

To strengthen customer service and communication within your program and school, consider scheduling one or both of the JSI Workshops to Go: Focus on the Customer and Professional Communications. Don’t forget to check out JSI’s resources for credible information on all aspects of school nutrition.

A Day in the Life of a School Nutrition Director – Foxborough

Friday November 6th I had the pleasure of visiting Allison Johnson, the School Nutrition Director at Foxborough Public Schools to learn more about the school nutrition program within the Foxborough Public School District. During this visit Allison gave me a tour of the operations within both Taylor Elementary School and John J. Ahern Middle School.

Hydroponic tower gardens growing romaine lettuce (left), cucumbers (upper right tower), grape tomatoes (middle right tower), and green peppers (lower right tower).

Hydroponic tower gardens growing romaine lettuce (left), cucumbers (upper right tower), grape tomatoes (middle right tower), and green peppers (lower right tower).

The operation at Taylor Elementary School is unique featuring a hydroponic garden that produces vegetables that are harvested for the lunch program. Allison implemented the garden using grant money obtained from the School Garden Grant from the Whole Kids Foundation of Whole Food Market. Of the five public schools in the district, Taylor Elementary is the pilot school for the hydroponic garden. Allison reported that students became more excited about eating vegetables knowing that they were grown in their school and that the food grown from this project is also freeing up some money in the budget that can be allocated towards purchasing higher quality foods. She hopes to eventually implement the successful initiative in the other schools in the future.

image4All of the five public schools in Foxborough feature salad bars that were obtained through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Whole Kids Foundation Grant. Salad bars are an outstanding way to display colorful fruit and vegetable options and they include tongs and sneeze guards to ensure safe handling. Upon implementing the salad bars Allison educated students on how to properly use the salad bar, demonstrating that students should turn away and sneeze or cough into their arm when necessary. Furthermore, to minimize waste students are encouraged to take only what they can eat from the salad bar and are allowed to return for additional helpings at no extra cost.

Each month the lunch menus for the district include a “Harvest of the Month” produce item that is included in some of the month’s recipes. November’s harvest is kale so the middle school was offering Kale Apple Salad as a side dish on Friday, encouraging students to try new things. Additionally the menus feature “Meatless Monday” once each month. On this day all meals are meatless which is a great way to cut costs and minimize the district’s carbon footprint.

Check out JSI’s Pinterest board, The JOHN STALKER INSTITUTE (JSI) Rocks to see more images from this visit!

JSI can help your school nutrition program become more sustainable. Check out our Go Green for Schools Resources and the JSI Resource Center for ideas!

Get Ready for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit

Yogurt and berriesIf you are looking for new ideas for recipes for your school meal program, consider incorporating Greek yogurt.  There are many delicious ways to incorporate yogurt into school meals. Greek yogurt can be used in dips, dressings, and soups, and as a substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise. This can help to lower the fat and calories in recipes, while increasing the protein and dairy content to help meet the school meal requirements. Consider using the JSI Recipe Tool for a quick and easy analysis of your recipe – the JSI Recipe Tool will show if the recipe is compliant with the state and federal snack standards, as well as provide meal component information.

Chef Tim Reardon

Chef Tim Reardon from Chobani® will demo Greek yogurt recipes for schools at the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 21

Ideas for how to incorporate Greek yogurt into school meals can be found in these recipes from Chobani® Greek yogurt. Click on the following links to access the nutritional information of some of these recipes, which were analyzed with the JSI Recipe ToolChobani® parfait, strawberry banana smoothie, and hummus. Chef Tim Reardon from Chobani® will be one of the keynote speakers at the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs 2-day Summit on May 20 & 21, 2015.

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit will be held at Four Points by Sheraton Norwood. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition, this conference is aimed towards school nutrition directors, managers, and business managers, and promotes healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit brochure will be mailed in the beginning of March. Stay tuned to The John Stalker Institute for more updates about the conference!