WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2015 – In preparation for the 2015 school year, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Kevin Concannon, encourages schools to maintain momentum and continue striving toward a healthier generation by offering nutritious, balanced meals to all students.
“I applaud our partners and school foodservice staff for all the hard work they do to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s children. School audits and data show that more than 95 percent of schools are successfully meeting the updated meal standards,” said Undersecretary Concannon. “This school year we will work together to continue making historic steps, ensuring that the healthy choice for students is the easy choice in schools. USDA is committed to helping school meal programs fulfill their highest potential, and we look forward to this upcoming school year and the promise it offers for our nation’s youth.”
In the coming year, USDA will continue to make access to nutritious food in high-poverty communities a priority. Across the country, schools and districts of all sizes have successfully implemented the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and many are seeing increased participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), and serving more meals than in previous years. CEP allows low-income districts or schools the option to eliminate household applications for free and reduced price meals and provide meals at no cost to all students. This greatly reduces administrative burden on schools and eliminates stigma associated with free or reduced priced meals.
In the first year of nationwide CEP implementation, over 14,000 schools in high-poverty areas offered nutritious meals at no cost to more than 6.8 million students. An evaluation of schools that implemented CEP experienced average increases in participation of nine percent in school breakfast and five percent in school lunch. Research has shown that students who consume breakfast make greater strides on standardized tests, pay attention and behave better in class, and are less frequently tardy, absent or visiting the nurse’s office.
Heading into school year 2015-16, schools or districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will participate in CEP. USDA is committed to ensuring those schools have the support they need to be successful and other eligible schools have all the information to make an informed decision about joining the program.
Recent research shows that some schools need more training to maximize the benefits of the updated meal standards. USDA’s Team Up for School Nutrition Success initiative, launched in November 2014, aims to give schools the opportunity to learn from each other on topics such as financial stability and strong student participation. This school year, USDA will expand the effort to include “Train the Trainer” instruction to develop more mentors at the state and local level who can provide personalized support.
In addition, USDA’s “Tools for Schools” online toolkit has several resources, including recipes and tips for good procurement practices, that states and school nutrition professionals can reference to help offer healthier and more appealing meals and snacks that meet the nutrition standards. As in previous school years, USDA will continue to listen to stakeholders throughout this school year and provide assistance as needed to help schools continue the progress they have made in serving nutritious food to students. USDA has also provided flexibilities, technical assistance, and grants to help schools succeed.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to NSLP and SBP, these programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
The up-to-date and fully indexed OSNA Directory provides comprehensive contact information for Oregon’s public school districts, private schools and residential child care institutions enrolled in the National Lunch and Breakfast Programs. The Suppliers Section features full contact information and company descriptions, reserved for advertisers only.
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McMinnville School District is accepting applications for a Nutrition Services Wellness Manager, Adams Module. The qualified applicant for the 4-hours-per-day position will be a dietetic technician with a minimum of an associate degree and at least 5 years of experience in school or institutional food service. The Nutrition Services Wellness Manager assists with education, research and communication of district wellness policy and applicable state and federal regulations, as well as menu planning, nutrient analysis and wellness compliance. The application deadline is now extended until the position is filled. Click here for details about the position and application procedures.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized two Oregon school nutrition professionals on July 12 at the 69th Annual National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Cindi Hiatt-Henry, school nutrition director with McMinnville School District and Karin Nichols, nutrition manager with Sue Buel Elementary School in McMinnville, received national recognition for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.
Nichols was presented with the Louise Sublette Manager of the Year award, which recognizes school nutrition managers for the contributions they have made throughout their school nutrition career. Hiatt-Henry was honored with the President’s Award of Achievement, in honor of Thelma Flanagan. SNA recognizes the commitment and dedication individuals who act that state presidents make to SNA, school nutrition and the children whom SNA members serve every day.
Hiatt-Henry also accepted SNA awards for increased membership and certification on behalf of the Oregon School Nutrition Association, for which she serves as immediate past president.
North Marion School District has announced a job opening for its Nutrition Services Director position. The qualified candidate will plan, organize, coordinate and supervise the operation of the District’s Food Service Program for over 1,900 students in four school buildings. The position manages a total of 12 staff and is responsible for providing appealing, healthy, nutritious meals for students, staff and other district events while maintaining compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations, and high standards of health, safety and nutrition.
Click here to apply online. Applications are due by Friday, July 24.
Oregon State Representative Brian Clem and others have provided a letter of support for passage of House Bill 2721 to the State Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee. If passed, HB 2721 would amend and expand Oregon’s current Farm to School and School Gardens program from $1.3 million per biennium serving 19 school districts to $5.6 million ensuring that all 190 school districts in the state may participate.
Click here to download and read a PDF copy of the letter.
The Oregon State Legislature is currently considering House Bill 2721 which would expand farm to school and school garden programs by increasing funding for school districts to purchase Oregon-grown and processed products and to provide agriculture, food and garden-based education, and by making that funding available to all districts in the state.
In 2011 the legislature created a pilot program, and in 2013 expanded the successful program to $1.2 million in grants to school districts. HB 2721, which is being considered by the legislature now, makes some revisions to and expands the current farm to school and school garden grants, so they it would be available to all districts in the state.
HB 2721 is now in the Ways and Means committee, which makes budget decisions. We are asking for your active support by sending a brief email to the members of the committee in support of this bill.
Please click here to send a message to the members of the Ways and Means Committee asking for their support. Feel free to customize your letter with information about what farm to school and school garden programs mean to you, or just send the sample as written — either option is great.
With your help, we can expand this successful program and reach more kids and more producers. Thanks in advance for taking action!
1. Applications are being accepted through Tuesday, June 2 for a Nutrition Services Kitchen Manager I – Production Floor Manager. Under minimal supervision, the Nutrition Services Kitchen Manager I directs the operation of a self-contained school kitchen and/or assists the Executive Chef with a production kitchen. This is a full-time position at Bend Senior High School.
2. Applications are being accepted through Tuesday, June 2 for a full-time Kitchen Manager I at Pacific Crest Middle School. Under minimal supervision, the Nutrition Services Kitchen Manager I directs the operation of a self-contained school kitchen and/or assist the Executive Chef with a production kitchen.