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Action for Healthy Kids Grants Due April 19

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March 28, 2013 – Action for Healthy Kids announces grant opportunities for the 2013-14 school year. Around 400 schools will be awarded funds ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 with additional in-kind contributions from Action for Healthy Kids in the form of people, programs and school breakfast and physical activity expertise.

School nutrition operations in all states are eligible to apply for grants toward the creation or expansion of school breakfast programs. Operations in select states are eligible to apply for grants toward a universal school breakfast pilot. Additional select states may apply for funding to use toward physical activity-related resources and equipment.

Applications are due April 19, 2013. Awarded schools will be notified in May.

To apply or for more details, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org/upcoming-events/grant-opportunities/school-grants-for-healthy.html.

2013 Winston Equipment Grant is Now Open!

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March 18, 2013 – The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) and Winston Industries are committed to supporting school foodservice nationwide. Now in its sixth year, the Winston Industries Equipment Award Grant program will award equipment to one (1) school district in need of improving its school meal kitchen facilities through a competitive grant process. The Winston Equipment Award Grant 2013 application is now open!

Winston will be awarding 10 pieces of equipment through this competitive grant process to one child nutrition program. Equipment includes holding cabinets, holding drawers and thermalizers. To learn more about the application and equipment available, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/scholarships.

The online application must be submitted by 11:59 EDT on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. For more information, contact SNF at scholarships@schoolnutrition.org or (301) 686-3100, ext. 133.

SNA’s 2013 Little Big Fact Book Available for Purchase

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2013 Little Big Fact Book Cover.jpg

March 18, 2013 – What are the top five locally sourced food purchases by schools? What are the enrollment characteristics of the 100 largest school districts? How do districts define the “speed scratch” approach? The newly released 2013 edition of SNA’s Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition answers these questions—and many more.

This comprehensive overview features facts and figures about the federal programs, USDA Foods, the school market and a variety of hot topics. And the 2013 edition has been developed to reflect the latest at-press-time changes. From the implications of new nutrition standards to the variations in school district administration, this 40-page resource is a must-have for new foodservice directors/managers, school administrators, foodservice brokers, manufacturer marketing/sales teams, state/national legislators and media representatives.

The latest edition of the Little Big Fact Book is available for $18. To order online today, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/bookstore. Need copies for your entire team? Discounts are available for orders of ten or more.

Al Roker, Darius Rucker to Headline ANC 2013

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March 15, 2013 – Have you registered for SNA’s 2013 Annual National Conference (ANC) yet? If not, take advantage of online registration today! Until May 10, you can also take advantage of a special early-bird rate to make your trip to budget-friendly Kansas City, Mo., even more affordable.

SNA is excited to announce Al Roker, NBC Today show co-host and weatherman, as this year’s Opening General Session keynote speaker. Utilizing his charisma, wit and experience, Roker — who has also authored a number of best-selling books — will inform, engage and enthrall you with his tales of weight loss, fatherhood and life on the small screen. Broadcast journalist Lisa Ling will head the second general session on Tuesday. Ling is a regular contributor to ABC News’ “Nightline,” as well as the co-executive producer and host of “Our America” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

But the excitement doesn’t end there — along with Roker and Ling, author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, creator of the “Lunch Lady” series, will join SNA to share his admiration of school nutrition professionals, whom he calls “superheroes,” during the final General Session on July 17th. Later that night, the conference ends with a musical celebration featuring Darius Rucker. You might know this country-rock crooner from his recent hits, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About it,” “Alright” and “History in the Making,” or from his alt-rock days as the front man for Hootie & the Blowfish.

Of course, this is on top of everything else ANC has to offer, including 90-plus education sessions, 700 Exhibit Hall booths and countless networking opportunity among colleagues and industry members. With all ANC 2013 has to offer, why wait to register? Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/anc2013 to take advantage of the early-bird rate today.

Related Links

ANC 2013

ANC Online Registration

ANC General Sessions

ANC Final Event

Deadline Extended to Submit Posters for SNA’s Child Nutrition Showcase

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March 14, 2013 – The deadline to submit a poster idea for SNA’s Child Nutrition Showcase Poster Session at this year’s Annual National Conference has been extended to March 22, 2013.

Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/cnshowcase to learn more about the Child Nutrition Showcase and submit a poster proposal.

If you feel there is something your program does well or if you have recently conducted research related to school foodservice or nutrition, show it off at SNA’s Child Nutrition Showcase Poster Session during the Annual National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., July 15-16. 

The Child Nutrition Showcase is a display of posters highlighting successful practices and research in school nutrition. This is a great opportunity to draw attention to some of the things happening in your program. Posters can address topics such as:

  • menu changes
  • food safety practices
  • marketing and customer service innovations
  • nutrition education initiatives
  • environmentally friendly practices, and more!

If you have any questions about the Child Nutrition Showcase, please send an email to research@schoolnutrition.org.

Wellness Impact Report Highlights the Importance of School Nutrition

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March 13, 2013 – New research highlights the vital importance of school nutrition and wellness.

The National Dairy Council, along with the GENYOUth Foundation, American College of Sports Medicine, and American School Health Association, collaborated to publish a research report which details the correlation between academic success and healthy school environments. The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments addresses the key issues impacting students’ health and wellness: nutrition, physical activity, food insecurity, and more.

An executive summary of the report features tips on how to make the classroom a healthier place to be. The report encourages administrators, policymakers, and parents to make school wellness a priority.

There are three supplemental pieces to the report brief available—one for parents, one for administrators and one for students. Consider this research a valuable resource when communicating the importance of school meals with your key stakeholders: parents, school administrators, political representatives, members of the media, etc.

The report was produced with support funding from the Midwest Dairy Council. For a copy of the complete report, including references and other supporting materials, visit www.NationalDairyCouncil.org.

NSBW 2013 Put the Spotlight on School Breakfast

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March 12, 2013 – On March 4-8, 2013, SNA members across the country recognized National School Breakfast Week. The 2013 theme, “Be a Star with School Breakfast” helped students understand how eating a healthy breakfast at school helps theme shine like their favorite stars. The campaign was created by SNA with the generous support of Kellogg’s Food Away from Home.

Check out a quick sample of some of the NSBW 2013 media coverage:
CBS Atlanta – Gwinnett County Schools
The Charlotte Observer – Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools
La Porte County Life – Michigan City Schools
ForsythNews.com – Forsyth County Schools
Examiner.com – Fulton County Schools
Rockdale Citizen – Rockdale County Schools

Remember, NSBW may be over, but there’s still time to send in your student’s “Whose Your School Breakfast Star?” Writing Contest entries. The deadline is March 31, 2013. To download the entry forms, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/nsbw. Please send entries to:

NSBW Writing Contest
School Nutrition Association
120 Waterfront Street, Suite 300
National Harbor, MD 20745

Send in Your “Be a Star with School breakfast” Photos!
Did you recognize NSBW in your district? SNA would appreciate a brief report of your activities and photos. Your promotion may be featured in the pages of the next NSBW review! Please send your NSBW photos and celebration stories to snmagazine@schoolnutrition.org or:

NSBW Wrap-Up
School Nutrition Association
120 Waterfront Street, Suite 300
National Harbor, MD 20745

Thank you for your continued hard work, creative efforts and overall dedication especially during National School Breakfast Week 2013!


SNA members at Florence City Schools in Alabama embraced the “Be a Star” theme!


“Who Dey,” the mascot of the Cincinnati Bengals, visited Cincinnati Public Schools in Ohio during breakfast to encourage healthy eating habits


“Be a Star” banner at Indian River County Schools in Florida

Submit Your District Profile and You Could Be the Next Winner!

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March 11, 2013 – A congratulation goes to Jeff Murphy of Dearborn (Mich.) Public Schools for being the first District Profile Contest Prize winner! He has won a $50 SNA Emporium gift card.

It’s not too late you for you to win, too! Click here to submit an up-to-date District Profile for your school nutrition program and you will:

  1. Be entered for a chance to win a $50 Emporium gift certificate on April 2nd;
  2. Be entered for a chance to win an Apple iPad 2 on July 15th in the Grand Prize drawing; and
  3. Receive complimentary access to the District Profile Database

SNA’s District Profiles Database is an online tool that allows SNA members to view profiles of school nutrition programs. Over the past year, SNA has been working on a number of improvements to improve this tool including making it more user-friendly and updating the types of information in the database to reflect the changing regulations facing school nutrition programs.

See the complete 2013 District Profile Entry Prize Drawing Rules for more details on the prize drawings.

To learn more about SNA’s District Profile Database and for more details on the 2013 District Profile Entry Prize Drawing, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/districtprofiles.

Help Wanted: Board Nominations Now Open

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March 11, 2013 – Have you (or someone you know) considered taking the next step in your commitment as a school nutrition professional? SNA is seeking qualified candidates for its national Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. These leaders play an integral role in guiding the future of the Association, as well as the school nutrition profession as a whole. If you or a colleague is up for both the challenges and the rewards of leaders, it’s time to step forward!

Open positions on the Board of Directors for the Fall 2013 election include Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, Northeast Regional Director, Northwest Regional Director, Southwest Regional Director, School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative, State Agency Representative, Member Services Committee Chair and Nutrition Committee Chair. Representatives are also sought to serve on the SNA Nominating Committee from the Mideast, Midwest, Southeast and West regions. The positions will be elected in Fall 2013 and be installed at the 2014 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston.

To propose a name—including your own!—send an e-mail containing the nominee’s contact information to Nominating Committee Staff Liaison Jean Geraghty at jgeraghty@schoolnutrition.org. Submissions must be received by May 31, 2013. The Nominating Committee will meet in Kansas City, Mo., in July just prior to ANC 2013 to select the candidate slate.

2013 LAC Showcases Pragmatic Passion

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March 8, 2013 – Bitter winds gusted across the nation’s capital just days after bitter words were exchanged (again) on Capitol Hill following yet another failure of bipartisan compromise regarding the nation’s debt woes. But at the J.W. Marriott, situated blocks between the Capitol and the White House, a record-breaking number of school nutrition professionals, industry partners and other advocates remained undeterred by either the forecasted snow nor the recent sequester. These 800+ attendees of the School Nutrition Association’s 41st Legislative Action Conference (LAC) were fired up and ready to make the most of a long history of bipartisan support for child nutrition.

Indeed, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs were among the few to have been exempted from the sweeping sequestration budget cuts and support from both major political parties was evident with the pre-LAC announcement of a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) introduced S. 427, the “Sensible School Lunch Act,” which would eliminate the weekly maximums for grains and meat/meat alternates established in the nutrition standards regulation published in January 2012. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had waived that requirement for the rest of SY 2012-13 and through 2013-14, SNA, in its 2013 Legislative Issue Paper, has requested permanent elimination of this provision. Addressing LAC attendees at the closing session on Wednesday, March 6, Sen. Hoeven remarked, “This is how it should work. This is a good example of how we can work together to get the job done.” The bill already has several other cosponsors from both parties.

The 41st LAC officially kicked off on Sunday, March 3, with a number of inspiring breakout sessions showcasing and sharing best practice innovations from districts of all sizes and demographics. From learning of the marketing tips in Minnesota to nutrition/physical education breaks in Kansas to new product sampling procedures in Florida, attendees could find any number of useful “nuggets” to take home and try out for themselves. After the breakouts, the agenda turned squarely to what operators, industry and other advocates needed to know about working with lawmakers in Washington.

NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd conceded that the climate in Washington these days was not conducive to productivity. “I’m a little ashamed to get up and speak about the inability for Washington to get anything done in light of all that you get done every single day,” he noted. He equated the communications clashes between the dominant political parties to those discussed in popular relationship advice books: “Republicans are from Mars and Democrats are from Venus, and none of us here on Earth feel like they are listening to us.”

Todd went on to project his optimism for future budget battles, outline the likely transformative priorities for each major party in the years ahead and reflect on the lessons of history as our country labors to redefine itself for the future. “You’re feeding kids to do what? Training them to do what? We’re still struggling as a society to define what that is,” he remarked.

LAC is also an important occasion for dialogue between school nutrition advocates and representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), which has oversight of the federal child nutrition programs. FNS representatives acknowledged and thanked school nutrition operators and industry for rising to some difficult challenges in meeting the new meal pattern requirements, emphasizing the importance of working together in partnership for America’s kids. “If you’re not successful at your job, then we’re not successful at USDA,” reiterated Dr. Janey Thornton, SNS, deputy under secretary.

Presentations about several related research studies will help to arm school nutrition professionals with the data they need to support a variety of initiatives and priorities, from expanding school breakfast service to upgrading outdated facilities and equipment. The annual Charge to the Hill was supported by real-world examples from industry and operators struggling with such issues as paid meal equity and unpaid meal charges. SNA’s Washington Counsel reminded attendees that the positions of the Legislative Issue Paper are “small enough and precise enough” that they are issues that members of Congress can solve.

Monday’s official program ended with a surprise visit from NFL greats Brian Mitchell, retired from the Washington Redskins, and Torrey Smith, of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The football players expressed their appreciation and admiration for the work of school nutrition employees at all levels. “On behalf of all the students who act like they don’t care, know that you are appreciated,” lauded Smith. Mitchell urged attendees to own their expertise: “When you go to Capitol Hill, don’t you take ‘no’ for an answer. You put your foot down!”

Other conference highlights:

  • Hundreds helped to raise funds for the Global Child Nutrition Foundation at its annual “A Possible Dream” Gala. Arlene Mitchell was honored as the latest recipient of the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition. Also honored were SNA’s 2012 Outstanding Director of the Year Sherri Knutson, SNS, and 2012 Industry Member of the Year Barbara Jirka, PhD, SNS.
  • Industry members enjoyed a special luncheon featuring insightful reflections from a panel of school nutrition directors and state agency directors. The panelists reviewed the ongoing challenges of meeting the new meal pattern provisions, as well as some of the positive consequences. “The new regs gave us a great platform for school meals, nutrition and wellness,” noted Elizabeth Wallace, SNS, director of food and nutrition services, Cherry Creek Schools, Englewood, Colo. And June Barrett, CNP program coordinator, Alabama Department of Education, thanked all of the vendors in the room for their “proactive approach to reformulating products.”
  • While a doom-and-gloom forecast for heavy snows sent some LAC attendees off to the airport for earlier flights back home, a special Capitol Hill Reception in the Cannon House Office Building was “packed.” Participants reported a “lovely networking” event with fellow attendees, Hill staff and some members of Congress. Among them, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) addressed those assembled, expressing her interest in sponsoring the House version of the grains/meats maximums bill.
  • Although the federal government shut-down made in anticipation of significant snow accumulation meant much of D.C. was shut down as well, LAC attendees were grateful that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) still were able to join Sen. Hoeven and offer reflections about the recent election and expectations for the 113th Congress. All the lawmakers made generous and sincere comments of appreciation for the great work of school nutrition professionals in schools across America and reiterated their support for pragmatic changes that benefit kids. “I will support any bill that focuses on healthy children,” said Fudge, noting that “a nation that ails its children, fails.” And Hoeven encouraged SNA members to continue to share their experiences and stories. “It makes such a big difference to hear from the experts,” he explained. “When you talk to your member of Congress, it matters!”
  • Sens. Hoeven and Pryor called a press conference on Wednesday to announce their sponsorship of the “Sensible School Lunch Act” bill and applaud SNA for its advocacy. “We’re working with a fabulous group,” credited Hoeven. “These are the people who are on the front lines across this nation, every single day, making sure that our children get the nutrition that they need.” SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS, was invited to speak at the event, and offered her appreciation for legislation that will “provide cafeterias the flexibility that they need to plan healthy menus that appeal to the students…. Under this bill, school menus will make sense again.” The rest of the SNA Executive Team, as well as delegations from North Dakota and Arkansas also were featured guests at the press conference.

SNA Celebrates International School Meals Day

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March 7, 2013 – SNA along with USDA will take part in the inaugural celebration of International School Meals Day (ISMD) on March 8, 2013. The purpose of the first ever International School Meals day is to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children around the world about good nutrition, to foster healthy eating habits in school and at home, and to share policies, practices, and research between countries.

Schools selected to take part in this year's activities will focus on topics related to the school nutrition environment, such as the menu choices available in the cafeteria, classroom instruction on nutrition education, or growing and/or cooking food at school. Students will then discuss these topics with students in the UK. Initially, 14 classrooms (grades 3-8) in the US are now connected with 14 classrooms in Scotland. USDA plans to expand the initiative to include partnerships with additional countries in future years.

The 14 participating US schools are:

  • Nathanael Greene Elementary School, Chicago, IL
  • JB Lancaster Elementary School, Madisonville, LA
  • Rolling Terrace Elementary School, Montgomery, MD
  • Harmony Hills Elementary School, Silver Spring, MD
  • Oak Grove Upper Elementary School, Hattiesburg, MS
  • Hampton Bays Middle School, Hampton Bays, NY
  • Cartoogechaye Elementary School, Franklin, NY
  • Sterling Elementary School, Pineville, NC
  • AB Combs Elementary School, Wake County, NC
  • Washington Elementary School, Mt Lebanon, PA
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Pittsburg, PA
  • M.B. Henderson Elementary School, Dallas, TX
  • Holmes Middle School, Alexandria, VA
  • Parklawn Elementary School, Alexandria, VA

Don’t forget to join the ISMD conversation on twitter where you can share ideas with others @IntSchoolMeals and by using #ISMD13 hashtag.

You can also find out more at www.internationalschoolmealsday.com.

School Nutrition Explores Personal Health and Wellness

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March 5, 2013—There’s only one person who can change your health status and prospects: You. If you’re ready to take steps that will leave you happier, more energized and more likely to live a rich, full life, don’t miss the March issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, which explores topics in health and wellness as part of the magazine’s annual personal development issue. This issue also takes a look at how operators and industry are addressing the challenges of new nutrition standards for whole grains in school meals.

Meet four school nutrition professionals who are confronting America’s obesity epidemic by serving as bona fide wellness role models and learn about how their personal wellness journeys have transformed their lives in “One Life to Live.” Bonus Web Content: Additional advice and wisdom will inspire you to create—and stick to—your own health and wellness goals.

Technological tools can provide valuable assistance in your pursuit of all forms of wellness, from weight loss to physical activity to handling stress. “Healthy Living: We Have an App for That!” showcases a crop of wellness-related apps and websites that might be the kick-start you need to get you started on—or continuing—your wellness goals. Bonus Web Content: Websites and apps also can help you pursue other areas of wellness. Check out a list of resources designed to help in such areas as grief, anger management and addiction.

“Diabetes in Depth” offers a look at what you need to know for your body and for your family about this increasingly prevalent medical condition. Bonus Web Content: As part of additional online-only content, you’ll find a detailed list of recommended diabetes resources, as well as other fascinating diabetes-related myths and facts.

“The Quest for Whole Grainy Goodness” explores some of the ways in which operators and industry are responding to the challenges presented by new nutrition standards for whole grains in school meals.

Related Link

School Nutrition –March 2013   


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