That’s a Wrap #HKHP2023

School nutrition directors, managers and business managers from across the Commonwealth came together for this year’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 23rd and May 24th, 2023.

Bertrand Weber inspiring fellow school nutrition professionals at Healthy Kids, Health Programs Summit.

The first day started with a welcome from Kristina Webber, MS, RD, SNS, Assistant Director, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, DESE followed by keynote speaker, Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary & Wellness Services at Minneapolis Public Schools. Bertrand talked about leading with a passion for true food and empowered fellow school nutrition professionals.

North Coast Seafood at the local producer showcase presenting Kelp is on the Way sign.

In collaboration with Massachusetts Farm to School, the local producer showcase offered school nutrition directors and assistant directors a collection of local products that could be purchased with supply chain assistance funds and/or Northeast Foods for Schools funds.

Concurrent sessions included the Relax and Recharge room where school nutrition professionals could take the time to reset in a peaceful room. Massages and Check-In & Color:A Coloring Book & Gratitude Journal for School Nutrition Professionals were used in this relaxing room.

The Networking Hot Topics session facilitated by Kelly Burke, RD, SNS and Denise Courtney MS, RD, SNS, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, DESE was a huge success providing a forum for networking on relevant topics.

Rob Leshin and Regina Robinson talking about the importance of school meals for children.

The second day was opened by a warm welcome from Karen McGrail, MEd, RDN, LDN, Director, JSI. Then was followed by Robert Leshin, MPA, Director, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, DESE and Regina M. Robinson, EdD, Deputy Commissioner, DESE about fueling student success, both physically and mentally by school meals.

Kern Halls talking to school nutrition professionals about transforming the cafeteria experience.

Keynote speaker, Kern Halls, Chief Innovator, Ingenious Culinary Concepts, presented on how to heighten the cafeteria experience for students to make it extraordinary. Nutrition professionals then communicated their ideas with each other about how they can improve their cafeteria experience.

Resource tables and networking proceeded after to help school nutrition professionals in their practice.

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School Nutrition Professionals Taste Test as if they are the students

There were then two morning breakout sessions. The first one called Show Me the Money, moderated by Denise Courtney MS, RD, SNS, Nutrition Education, School Wellness and Training Coordinator, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, DESE. This breakout session helped inspire nutrition professionals by using grants to make their dreams a reality. The second breakout room was Putting the Spotlight on Student Taste Tests, moderated by Cathy Wickham, PhD, RD, DND, Assistant Professor, FSU and Faculty Liaison to JSI. As school nutrition professionals walked in, they were encouraged to taste test tabbouleh and give their opinions as if they were a student. Many peers got inspired to hold taste tests events at their schools to elevate student engagement.

Chef Sam showcasing recipes to school nutrition professionals

During lunch, Nancy Antolini, President, SNA of Massachusetts, greeted all school nutrition professionals. The afternoon keynote, Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro, SNS, School Nutrition Consultant & Trainer and Executive Chef, Healthy School Recipes showcased recipes and ingredients to create a diverse menu for students.

Two breakout rooms proceeded in the afternoon, A Practical Procurement Process for Local Food, moderated by Simca Horowitz, Co-Director Massachusetts Farm to School. This breakout room helped school nutrition professions break through the complexity of procurement and collaborating with local producers. The second breakout room was Building the Dream Team: How to Hire, Train and Retain Staff, moderated by Nicole Good, School Wellness Specialist, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs, DESE. This breakout room focused on optimizing job retention while dealing with staff shortages.

Thank you to all of our partners for assisting in this year’s summit, our presenters, moderators, panelists, staff and audience for making this Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit 2023 a great experience!

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The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Framingham State University.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.

© The John C. Stalker Institute, 2023
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The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Framingham State University.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.

© The John C. Stalker Institute, 2023