News Roundup

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive real, wholesome food and freshly grown produce while making strides to end hunger in Massachusetts. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In September, our keynote speaker Chef Dan Giusti from this year’s 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit was featured on The Today Show. In this video segment, Chef Dan discusses his work with Brigaid and his mission to bring professional chefs to the front-lines of school nutrition.

In September, Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, Massachusetts received a grant kickstarting a new farm-to-school program. In this grant, the school expects to build three greenhouses, two supply sheds, ten raised beds, and an outdoor classroom. This grant will help involve students in not only eating healthfully but growing the produce and the program themselves.

In September, Waltham Public Schools partnered with Project Bread to ramp up school menus. Project Bread, which is an organization committed to preventing and ending hunger in Massachusetts, is sending Chef Vanessa to schools across the district to implement new recipes and creations for students to try.

School Nutrition Managers Gather for the 2019 Management Institute

Managers and directors from across Massachusetts who attended this year’s Management Institute.

Managers and directors from across Massachusetts who attended this year’s Management Institute.

Massachusetts school nutrition managers gathered together this month to take their management skills to the next level at the Management Institute. This three-day program, which takes place every August, is specifically designed for the professional development needs of school nutrition managers to strengthen their leadership and management skills.

Over the course of three days of hands-on learning, participants were met with highly relevant topics like leadership, financial management, personnel management, communication, marketing, and nutrition. Learning to cultivate positive cultures in the kitchen, managing cost effectiveness, and developing strong communication among team members were some of the key learning points on the agenda.

Here is some of the feedback we received from participants at this 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.

Click here to learn more about past Management Institutes and to keep an eye out for information on next year’s registration.

Setting the Globally-Inspired Lunchroom Table

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

The JSI Back to Basics Workshops to Go are 3-hour internationally-inspired culinary workshops dedicated to expanding the culinary skills of school nutrition staff and promoting healthier, freshly cooked, and customizable school menu options. In Back to Basics: Asian Fusion, staff advance their culinary skills and confidence in preparing a customizable Build-Your-Own Asian bowl with student-favorites such as chicken teriyaki, crispy tofu, confetti fried, rice, and more! Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine brings authentic Latin American flavors to schools and teaches school nutrition staff how to prepare a Build-Your-Own Street Taco menu option featuring fish tacos, fresh salsa, Spanish rice, and more!

 

These new menu-driven culinary workshops were created from a collaboration between the JSI Nutrition Education Specialist Jumana Saleh and the JSI chefs. In a recent interview, Saleh shared her observations from a recent visit to schools. “What’s been really fun is that the school nutrition staff are talking about how they can apply the workshops in their schools. Once the recipes are complete and we’ve set up the meal the way it would be served to the students, the school nutrition staff get to try and evaluate the customizable meal. They love it and start discussing how they will be able to execute and implement it – which means they’re taking it seriously.”

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Incorporating new flavors does not have to be a daunting task for school nutrition programs. Workshop menus are crafted to ensure flavors pair together well, recipe are standardized, nutritional analysis is completed and NSLP meal components are identified, and options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians are included.

A huge benefit of the Back to Basics culinary workshops is the wealth of knowledge from the JSI chef instructors.  Districts vary significantly and the chefs recognize and adapt to the differences in space and equipment available in school kitchens. “JSI chefs give the staff tips and tricks that boost culinary confidence in the kitchen. The JSI chef teaches them how to adjust their own settings and how to utilize what their school kitchen has available.”

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Upon the completion of a Back to Basics culinary workshop, schools who would like additional chef support are encouraged to request a Live-Setting Culinary Training, where the JSI chef returns to facilitate the new customizable meal alongside kitchen staff during regular hours.

“At the end, because it’s customized menu, everyone’s plate has similar flavors but with their own creative twist. We encourage having students be able to explore things without it feeling like a huge commitment – like trying tofu without having it be their whole meal. We aim to expose the kids to foods from all over the world and try more things and be healthier overall.”

JSI Director Appointed to ICN Advisory Board

Karen McGrail, Director of John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

Karen McGrail, Director of John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

In March 2019, the newly formed Culinary Training and Education Advisory Board convened their first meeting at the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) headquarters at the University of Mississippi. Karen McGrail, MEd, RDN, LDN, Director of The John C. Stalker Institute (JSI) of Food and Nutrition, has been appointed as an advisory board member for the newly established national program.

The Culinary Training and Education Initiative is a new collaboration between the USDA and ICN. The goal of the program is to create and offer culinary resources and trainings that address the competencies, knowledge, and skills necessary to assist school nutrition professionals and school chefs to prepare and serve high quality, student-approved school meals.

McGrail has served as Director of The John C. Stalker Institute since 2012, as well as an adjunct faculty member for the Food and Nutrition Department at Framingham State University for the past 20 years. According to McGrail, “JSI has long offered culinary workshops for school nutrition staff in Massachusetts aimed at promoting delicious and nutritious made from scratch recipes. Our new Back to Basics Culinary Workshops to Go incorporate Gen Z-inspired food trends, include recipes for Asian fusion, Latin American cuisines and Mediterranean flavors.” McGrail says “I was thrilled and honored to be invited to be a member of the Culinary Training and Education Advisory Board and look forward to contributing to this comprehensive national culinary training initiative.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – Highlights for May 22, 2019

Join school nutrition directors, managers and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 21 and 22 aimed at promoting healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. Check out the highlights for May 22nd!

Chef Dan Giusti, founder of Brigaid

The excitement from the first day of the summit continues with a morning keynote presentation Finding a Purpose in Cooking: A Chef’s Story by Chef Dan Giusti. In this keynote, Dan explains his journey of stepping out of his comfort zone to find his purpose in cooking and utilize his goal to empower schools to serve real, wholesome food, cooked with care and passion. With this goal in mind, he founded Brigaid in 2016 and uses his experience to share valuable lessons he has learned along the way about the challenge of cooking in schools and discuss what the future holds.

We look forward to celebrating the successes of Massachusetts school nutrition programs and professionals during our recognition ceremony on the morning of May 22nd. In the afternoon, Robert Leshin, Director of the Office for Food and Nutrition at DESE will share News You Can Use. As we wind down from this school year and transition to planning for next fall, Rob will take a look back on our collective successes over the past year and look forward to some new initiatives. Rob will provide an update on federal and state level changes and highlight areas of support from the department to help school nutrition programs reach their goals.

May 22nd Breakthrough Sessions

May 22nd Breakthrough Sessions

As in previous years, when you register, you will select from one of three learning tracks to target your professional development. The Boost Your Bottom Line track offers the opportunity to learn from other directors about their favorite products in USDA Foods – Director Tested, Kid Approved or learn where to find local foods and procurement methods in Local Procurement in Child Nutrition Programs. Ensure your communication skills are in top shape with the Communicate with Confidence track by learning how to diagnose misunderstanding and sharing your own perspectives with Wait. What? Or How to Get Curious When the Other Person is Clearly Wrong. Engagement and motivation also play a role in communication, so we’ve included Creating a Motivating Workplace, an ICN-developed session, where managers will explore factors that motivate staff to be engaged and productive. If your goal is to discover culinary resources and new inspirations to enhance your school menu, you won’t want to miss the Build Culinary Excitement track. Join Massachusetts Farm to School, Project Bread and Massachusetts school nutrition programs in a culinary battle highlighting local ingredients in The Power of Local – Culinary Throwdown. This track also offers tips, tricks and a food demo by Chef Samantha Gasbarro for utilizing USDA foods to create trendy, student-approved recipes on a budget with Modernizing USDA Food Recipes – Keeping Menus Trendy and Budget Friendly.

Register online by May 1st. We look forward to seeing you at the summit!

Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – Highlights for May 21, 2019

Join school nutrition directors, managers and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 21 and 22 aimed at promoting healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. Check out the highlights for May 21st!

Jon Colby, morning keynote speaker.

We kick off the summit in high gear with Jon Colby’s morning improv keynote session Don’t Worry…Work Happy. Did you know that people who are happy at work are more successful in their jobs? This might seem obvious, but it’s actually backed by Harvard research. In fact, one study proves that managers can improve their customer satisfaction rating by 42% simply by having a positive mindset. In this keynote, Jon will offer helpful tips and exercises using positive psychology to promote a positive mindset. From building a supportive culture to having difficult conversations, you won’t want to miss this dynamic presentation which will give you a myriad of ideas to help you work happy.

 

Ervin Watson, afternoon keynote speaker.

We are thrilled to offer the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace as the afternoon keynote session by Ervin Watson. Ervin will share insight on appreciation as a communication strategy that has the potential to accelerate every area of your operation. Discover how this approach can boost employee engagement, retention, team satisfaction and, ultimately, customer service.

New this year! A designated time for exhibits has been included on the schedule for May 21st. Be sure to take advantage of the wealth of resources from our exhibitors!

As in previous years, when you register, you will select from one of three learning tracks to target your professional development. Our afternoon keynote speaker, Ervin Watson, will spend the day with us leading both of the Communicate with Confidence breakout sessions where you will learn the Four Essential Habits of a Game Changer and take a deeper dive into the Five Languages of Appreciation with a self-evaluation to determine the “language” of your staff – leading you to an action plan you can implement in your program. The Boost Your Bottom Line learning track offers hot topics in school nutrition you won’t want to miss, including Solutions to Recovering Unpaid Meal Charges and Thinking Outside the Lunch Tray – Strategies to Increase Revenue. If you are looking for innovative ways to integrate chefs into your school nutrition program, the Build Culinary Excitement learning track is for you! Setting the Globally-Inspired Lunchroom Table showcases cultural dishes and flavors from Eastern Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean region with a culinary demo and school recipes to match Gen Z food trends. Explore how school nutrition programs across the Commonwealth are Adding Chefs into the Mix during this panel discussion of a variety different ways schools are utilizing chefs.

Looking for the perfect way to wrap up the day? Unwind after a full day of professional development at the SNA of MA Reception and Exhibits! Relax with your peers and vendors while enjoying snacks and a free beverage (included in your $10 ticket price). This is networking at its best!

Register online by May 1st. We look forward to seeing you at the summit!

News Roundup

Photo: February 2019 SNA Publication

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals and learn about new food topics, while also helping serve their community members. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In November, an article detailed the partnership between Framingham State University and Sodexo with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. In this partnership, a trial was implemented on the FSU campus to assess the biological effects of different macronutrient diets.

In February, Waltham public schools were recognized for their reworked breakfast and lunch school programs. Some of the upgrades made to the district’s programs included bringing speakers in to do short presentations on food topics for children, incorporating herbs and plants into the curriculum, and partnering with Greater Boston Food Bank to help Waltham residents in need of food.

In February, Boston mayor Marty Walsh discussed My Way Café, which is a new program being implemented into many Boston schools to deliver fresh food to young children. The program allows students the opportunity to choose delicious and nutritious meals cafeteria-style in their schools.

In the February edition SNA magazine, Billerica Public Schools were highlighted for their Food Market – a coordinated program promoted by the BPS School Nutrition department. The Market is open to all residents of Billerica and features a selection of 15-20 different fresh and shelf-stable items and serves around 1,600 community members.

News Roundup

Broccoli, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes prepared for healthy school lunch.School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals, access to fruits and vegetables, a healthy breakfast to start their day, and lessons in eating locally – among many other things. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!