SNA News

Keys to Excellence Update Sets New Standards

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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 But while some best practices and indicators were found to be outdated, the consultants affirmed the solid design of the tool as a self-assessment resource for school nutrition operators.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

SNA and GCNF Announce Changes

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June 20, 2013 – On Monday, June 17, 2013, the SNA Board of Directors conveyed their decision to end SNA’s formal affiliation with the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) to the GCNF Board of Directors. The SNA Board voted unanimously not to renew the current Affiliation Agreement that expires on August 3, 2013.

Despite the dedication and tremendous efforts of GCNF leadership and staff, GCNF has faced significant challenges finding project grants and operations funding to fully support the GCNF mission since the economic recession. This is a similar challenge faced by many other non-profit organizations.

SNA has provided substantial financial, staffing and operational support to GCNF since it was established in 2007, and many SNA members have provided time and talent to support its mission. The SNA Board, however, has become increasingly concerned about the viability of GCNF. Upon careful consideration and consultation with legal counsel, the Board determined that SNA could not continue to provide the level of financial and in-kind support needed to sustain GCNF in the future. In addition, the Board deemed it more important to focus SNA resources on the challenges currently facing its members and school nutrition programs.

SNA CEO Patricia Montague, CAE, has been designated by the Board to lead implementation of the Board’s decision. SNA and GCNF staff will work together to ensure a smooth transition before the expiration of the current agreement.

As GCNF explores options to relocate to a university with a strong emphasis on nutrition and agriculture and a commitment to international development, SNA members and staff wish GCNF well in their future pursuits to improve and expand sustainable school feeding programs for children around the world.

Applications for Fuel Up™ Breakfast Grants Due July 26, 2013

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June 19, 2013 – The application period for Fuel Up™ Breakfast Grants from General Mills Foodservice and the National Dairy Council is now open. The grants are designed to help K-12 schools improve their breakfast programs and increase participation. Schools in the United States that participate in the National School Breakfast Program and are enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program are eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in funding.

Additionally, schools must have support from their school principal, district school nutrition director and school nutrition manager, a school enrollment of at least 500 and a breakfast participation level less than 40%. They also must demonstrate an opportunity to raise breakfast participation.

The deadline to submit an application is July 26, 2013. For more information or to apply, visit

Related Link

Fuel Up Breakfast Grants Application

Directors: Don’t Miss ANC’s All-Access Pass!

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June 19, 2013 – As a director-level member, your goal at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) is to not only learn and engage with your colleagues, but also seek out new products that make sense for your operation and come at the right price. In 2013, SNA is making it easier than ever for directors to connect with key industry members with expanded Exhibit Hall time just for directors, and the return of the Directors’ All-Access Pass.

Head to the Exhibit Hall in the Kansas City Convention Center on Tuesday, July 16th, for directors-only access to hundreds of companies and products that can boost the efficiency and participation of your school meal program. For the 2013 conference, this unfettered access has been extended to three hours, from 8:30 to 11:30 am, to give more time for directors to meet personally with key sales representatives.

While there, pick up your Directors’ All-Access Pass card; visit at least five of the booths identified on the card, and you will be entered into a drawing for a meetings registration package for 2014 that gives you access to the School Nutrition Industry Conference (January 2014), Legislative Access Conference (March 2014) and next year’s Annual National Conference in Boston, Mass.

If you haven’t yet registered to attend ANC 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri, visit to learn more about the opportunity to attend the school nutrition event of the year! See you in the heart of the nation!

Related Links

ANC 2013

Exhibit Hall

Summer Feeding Tools & Tips

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June 14, 2013 – You already know how essential it is to spread the word about the summer meals you’re serving in your community. If you’re looking to expand your summer feeding program through improved promotion and marketing, SNA’s summer feeding tools are for you.

Visit to access all of SNA’s summer feeding resources, including:

  • The Summer Feeding Toolkit with ideas and tips
  • Marketing and media relations tools
  • Handouts for parents and activity sheets for kids

SNA’s summer feeding resources are made possible by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

School Nutrition Puts the Spotlight on Kids Today

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June 13, 2013 – Though SNA’s mission—to educate and empower its members to provide healthy meals to students and foster an environment encouraging wellness—hasn’t changed over the years, many factors that affect that undertaking have changed and continue to evolve with time. The June/July issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, explores some of these factors and offers a look at how school nutrition professionals can share wellness messages with today’s kids. The issue also provides a preview of this summer’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City and showcases the flavor-filled delights known as green fruits.

Eating disorders, food allergies and overweight top the list of increasingly common health-related concerns for America’s youth. “A Lot on Their Plates” explores what you and your school nutrition colleagues should know about these and other top health issues facing kids today. Bonus Web Content: Learn how to find credible online health-related sources and check out a comprehensive list of some useful resources.

“Kids Today, Having Their Say” introduces you to three student leaders in the fight against childhood obesity who are working to make their peers—and the adults in their communities—sit up, take notice and make changes.

It’s time to explore emerging social media platforms and cloud-based applications in order to revolutionize and rejuvenate your marketing efforts. “Are You ‘Social’ Savvy?” leads the way through an overview of social media marketing and a look at strategies from some major companies that have successfully reached out to your students and their parents. Bonus Web Content: Traditional social media options aren’t the only 21st-century technologies that school nutrition operations are turning to in their attempts to reach students and other stakeholders, however. Additional online-only content examines some other cutting-edge approaches.

For decades, numerous K-12-based health initiatives have been launched by public and private entities in an effort to create lasting societal change in our dietary, activity and overall wellness decisions. Are they actually starting to make a difference? “Are We Moving the Meter?” investigates.

Are you coming to Kansas City this summer for ANC 2013? The school nutrition event of the year will feature all of the inspiration, learning and product solutions that your heart desires! Don’t miss “ANC 2013: The Heart of School Nutrition” for a preview of the action!

If you’re headed to ANC, take a few moments to review “ANC Exhibitors” to identify the companies that will be in attendance.

Eaten on their own, as ingredients in a recipe or as the perfect toppings, green fruits dazzle. “Green Giants” takes a closer look at these lean, green nutrient machines. Bonus Web Content: Looking for more recipes incorporating green fruits? You’re in luck!

New: If you are viewing this issue on an iOS mobile device or tablet, please visit An Android version is forthcoming.

Related Links

School Nutrition—June/July 2013

Mobile Device or Tablet Version—June/July 2013 (for iOS devices only; Android version forthcoming)

A Second Year of STEPS: Challenges, Competitions, and More

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June 12, 2013 – Are you a fan of the STEPS Challenge, SNA’s personal wellness program? If so, you’re in luck. The program will continue through 2014 and the new monthly challenges begin again in August!

Whether you want to make better nutrition choices, get inspired with fitness ideas, or just need a simple healthy dinner recipe to make tonight, the STEPS Challenge provides plenty of tools to help you meet your goals.

Year two of the program features some new updates:

  • Brand new monthly challenges: challenges will take place from August 2013 to May 2014. New challenges and tracking sheets are available on the STEPS website.
  • Upload your monthly points directly to the website, instead of emailing or faxing a tracking sheet. Just visit and click ‘Submit Your Challenge Points’. For members that want to continue faxing in their tracking sheet that option will still be available.
  • STEPS Challenge All-Star States: states with the most members participating in monthly challenges will be rewarded! At the end of year two, the states with the highest overall participation will be entered in a special Grand Prize drawing. These states will also be honored at SNA's 2014 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston.

To learn more or register, visit There, you can download your tracking sheets and browse fitness tips and recipe ideas. There’s still plenty of time to sign up before the first monthly challenge – remember, only registered participants are eligible to win prizes!

Spring 2013 Issue of The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management Now Online

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June 10, 2013 – When you’re trying to keep up with all the changes that affect school nutrition operations, you need all the resources you can find to make informed decisions. SNA’s online-exclusive The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is a terrific resource to tap, and the Spring 2013 issue is now available on SNA’s website. The peer-reviewed research journal, which is published twice a year, provides relevant insights into a wide range of issues relating to child nutrition programs.

Research studies featured in the current issue of JCN&M focus on several timely topics, such as:

  • A look at flavored milk for sale in school from the perspective of school nutrition directors;
  • the effectiveness of in-classroom breakfast service in five school districts across the United States;
  • factors that contribute to plate waste left by elementary school children; and
  • consumer support for policies aiming to reduce the sodium content of food served in school cafeterias.

To access these articles, as well as the JCN&M archives, visit

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is a peer-reviewed research journal published twice a year.

Related Link

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management—Spring 2013

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