Keys to Excellence Update Sets New Standards

June 26, 2013 – For nearly 20 years, SNA’s Keys to Excellence: Standards of Practice for Nutrition Integrity has helped school nutrition directors assess their operations against national standards for quality programs and establish a process for continuous program review, evaluation and improvement. This spring, the Association finished a new revision of the program and the completion of Phase 1 of a multi-pronged update project.

The revised online publication features a comprehensive update of the Keys content, with additional key achievements, best practices, standards and indicators, plus a new, robust glossary. Terminology used throughout has been updated and clarified. The consultants also provided an extensive list of online resources that are now grouped within each Key Topic.

The four core Key Areas have been modified and renamed. The new Key Areas (which also will be reflected in SNA’s certification, credentialing and meetings programming) are:

  • Operations
  • Nutrition, Nutrition Education and Physical Activity
  • Administration
  • Marketing and Communications

There have been numerous changes in the K-12 school nutrition business since the last time Keys was updated. From new regulatory requirements to emerging trends, school nutrition is a dynamic environment. But while some best practices and indicators were found to be outdated, the consultants affirmed the solid design of the tool as a self-assessment resource for school nutrition operators. SNA intends to see that standards and indicators are now reviewed yearly and updated as necessary.

Achieving nutrition integrity requires a school nutrition director to take a comprehensive approach to program planning, management and operations. It also means integrating nutrition into the total educational program of the school, including addressing the environments in which meals are served, nutrition education in the classroom and cafeteria, stakeholder involvement and school nutrition personnel training. The Keys to Excellence tool may be used voluntarily by schools/districts in program assessment; it is not intended for an external review or audit process.

SNA is now beginning the process of updating the Keys Online Assessment Tool and revisiting the District of Excellence recognition program.

Click here to download a PDF of the latest revision.

Related Link

Keys to Excellence: Standards of Practice for Nutrition Integrity

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