EDUCATION STEM-Minded! When most people hear the word “stem,” they likely think of the base of a flower. In the case of a recent report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, however, STEM refers to the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The report, Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology Engineering and Math, explores how girls can better become engaged in these professional pursuits by examining their interests and perceptions about these fields. It’s a timely occasion to delve into the issue. Currently, the United States ranks lower in math and science achievement than several Asian and European nations. Nonetheless, technological advances in the past 10 years have prompted the growth of STEM jobs in this country at a rate that is three times the pace of non-STEM jobs, and they are projected to continue to grow at this pace for the next decade. But women’s representation has been low at all levels of the STEM career pipeline. Advocates can take heart in the fact that research shows these trends might be changing in the future, with 74% of the study respondents indicating interest in STEM fields and subjects. Additionally, so-called STEM girls are found to be higher achievers and better students, with supportive adult networks and having been exposed to STEM fields. In addition, 88% of STEM girls like to understand how things work, 85% enjoy puzzles and problem-solving and 83% have interest in hands-on science projects. Still, researchers found that a gap does exist between general STEM interest and career choice. For example, while 81% of STEM girls expressed interest in pursuing a STEM career, only 13% say it is their first choice. In fact, even among STEM girls, the study found varied interests in both STEM and non-STEM subjects, as is evidenced by their top four career choices: medicine/healthcare (65%), arts/ design (64%), social science (60%) and entertainment (59%). Additionally, the findings indicate that perceived gender barriers are still high for girls and also may explain why STEM fields are not top career choices. Although interest in STEM proved high in all ethnic groups (73% of Caucasian girls, 76% of African-American girls, 74% of Hispanic girls), the study finds that African-American and Hispanic girls have had less exposure to STEM education, less adult support for pursuing STEM fields, lower overall academic achievement and a greater awareness of gender barriers in STEM professions. To learn more about this report, visit tinyurl.com/89x8wqf. SMART SNACKING Seeking “Mom” Approval Nearly two-thirds (64%) of moms are concerned that their kids are consuming too much added sugar in their snacks, according to a national survey of approximately 1,000 mothers conducted by California Raisin growers. The respondents, who weighed in on topics related to healthy eating and feeding their families, also largely (86%) indicated that they believe that “natural foods” are healthier choices than highly processed options. Additionally, the majority of respondents (87%) said that it is important to them that the snacks they buy for their children have no or “as little added sugar as possible.” About half of the moms asserted that they would put a snack back on the retail shelf if it contained trans and saturated fats, added sugars and/or artificial dyes and colors. FOOD COSTS Eat Healthy, Pay Less? Many Americans believe that a healthy diet, one that corresponds with the recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), is more expensive than one based on seemingly inexpensive convenience foods. A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service challenged this longstanding perception and found that a nutritious diet is the better economic choice. Researchers compared the prices of healthy and less-healthy foods using three price metrics: the price per calorie, price per edible gram and price per average portion. They defined “healthy foods” in two ways: those containing an amount of a food in at least one of the major food groups equal to at least half the portion size used in the DGAs and those that contain only moderate amounts of saturated fats, added sugars and sodium. Their findings are detailed in the report Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price, which examined more than 4,400 different food items. Overall, the study found that many healthy foods cost less than foods that are generally considered less healthy. The researchers also discovered that grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy items are less expensive than most protein foods, as well as those items high in saturated fat, added sugars and/or sodium. However, when examining the food group recommendations at ChooseMyPlate.gov, the report concludes that it is more costly to meet the recommendations for vegetables and protein foods, than it is to meet those for grains, dairy and fruit. To view the entire report, visit http://tinyurl.com/cxnuq24. Calendar 2012 Oct12 OCT. 10-13 86th Annual ASHA School Health Conference, American School Health Association San Antonio, Texas, (301) 652-8072 OCT. 12-15 Annual Meeting and Expo, Association of School Business Officials International Phoenix, Ariz., (866) 682-2729 OCT. 15-17 Annual CACFP Conference, Child Care Food Program Roundtable San Diego, (530) 677-9410 OCT. 17-19 Whole Grains Conference, Whole Grains Council San Antonio, Texas, (617) 421-5500 OCT. 23-24 Food Integrity Summit, Center for Food Integrity Chicago, (816) 880-5360 OCT. 28-31 PACK EXPO, Packaging Manufacturers Machinery Institute Chicago, (703) 243-8555 OCT. 29-31 Annual Distribution Solutions Conference, International Foodservice Distributors Association Las Vegas, (703) 532-9400 Nov12 NOV. 1-3 Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival, Culinary Institute of America Napa Valley, Calif., (845) 452-9600 NOV. 5-8 Annual International Foodservice Editorial Council Conference Nashville, (845) 229-6973 NOV. 7-10 Annual Convention, National Ice Cream Retailers Association Greenville, S.C., (866) 303-6960 NOV. 8-10 39th Annual Conference, Association for Middle Level Education Portland, Ore., (800) 528-6678 NOV. 14-18 40th Annual Conference, National Alliance of Black School Educators Nashville, (800) 221-2654 DATEBOOK October American Cheese Month Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month Filipino American History Month National Book Month National Farm to School Month Vegetarian Month Customer Service Week (Oct. 1-5) National School Lunch Week (Oct. 15-19) Walk to School Day (Oct. 3) Columbus Day (observed) (Oct. 8) World Food Day (Oct. 16) Pablo Picasso’s Birthday (Oct. 25) Halloween (Oct. 31) November Aviation History Month National American Indian Heritage Month National Inspirational Role Models Month PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month American Education Week (Nov. 11-17) Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 11-17) National Game and Puzzle Week (Nov. 18-24) Sherlock Holmes Weekend (Nov. 2-4) National Family Literacy Day (Nov. 1) National Sandwich Day (Nov. 3) Election Day (Nov. 6) Veterans Day (observed) (Nov. 12) National Education Support Professionals Day (Nov. 14) America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) National Day of Play (Nov. 17) Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) December National Pear Month Safe Toys and Gift Month Worldwide Foodservice Safety Month National Handwashing Awareness Week (Dec. 6-12) Hanukkah (Dec. 9-16) Human Rights Week (Dec. 10-17) Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) Rosa Parks Day (Dec. 1) Special Education Day (Dec. 2) Enter to Win The Grain Game The Whole Grains Council invites schools to enter the Sixth Annual Whole Grains Challenge. Participants can enter as “Veterans,” for those schools that had been offering a variety of whole grains even before the new meal pattern regulation, and “Rookies,” for schools that have made significant progress in boosting whole grains in school meals, but could use some additional assistance in preparing kid-friendly options. One school will win the grand prize: a visit from a guest chef, who will conduct a workshop on preparing whole-grain kid-friendly dishes. Five winners from each category will receive a variety of cases of whole grain-rich products. Entries are due November 1, 2012. For more information or to enter, visit www.wholegrainscouncil.org/getinvolved/2012-whole-grains-challenge. Rice Rates USA Rice Federation invites K-12 school nutrition professionals to submit their best healthy brown rice recipes for its annual recipe contest. Entries may be submitted in three categories: Rice Bowl, Breakfast and Lunch. Three grand-prize winners each will receive a 2013 SNA conference registration, a supply of brown rice and two rice cookers. There also are prizes for runners up. Entries must be submitted by October 31, 2012. To enter or for more information, visit www.healthybrownriceonthemenu.com. Top Honor Congratulations to SNA Past President Dora Rivas, RD, SNS, executive director for food and child nutrition services for the Dallas Independent School District, who was named the 2012 recipient of the Dallas Dietetic Association (DDA) Lifetime Achievement Award. The highest honor given to a DDA member, it recognizes Rivas for “extensive contributions to [the] profession and the community.” Enter to WIN Do your students love milk? Encourage them to take their love for dairy a step further by submitting their creations using repurposed milk cartons to Evergreen Packaging’s Made by Milk™ contest. Teams of students who enter must use at least 100 intact milk cartons to create a piece of art that fits the theme “habitat.” Accompanying photos and essays are other required elements. One grand-prize team will win $5,000, and the People’s Choice Award, determined by online voting, will receive $2,500, while three winners each in the elementary, middle and high school categories will receive $1,500. The deadline to submit an entry is November 16, 2012. To enter or for more information, visit http://madebymilkcontest.com. Healthy Challenge Congratulations to the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Recipe Contest! The contest, administered by Epicurious and sponsored by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education (with advisory support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture), recognized winning recipes submitted by students between the ages of 8 and 12, one from each state. Each winner was invited to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House earlier this year. Visit www.recipechallenge.epicurious.com for a list of winners and a free downloadable e-cookbook of all of the winning recipes. Protein Punch Two home cooks showed their peanut butter prowess as winners of the Jif New Classics Recipe Contest. Sonya Goergen of Moorhead, Minn., earned top honors in the Savory category with her Peanutty Chicken Pad Thai Sliders, while Mary McShack of Montgomery, Ala., took home the grand prize in the Sweet category for her Peanut Butter Baklava With Maple Syrup. To view the winning recipes, visit www.jif.com/promotions/New-Classics-Promotion. NutrıNET Kellogg’s KelloggsFoodAwayFrom Home.com This updated website features a section dedicated for the GROW GREATNESS™ operator rewards program, designed to provide product news, complimentary Kellogg’s items and accompanying materials. Site visitors also can receive business-building tips and tools tailored to the school segment, plus recipe ideas and new product information. Smithsonian Education http://smithsonianeducation.org/students/index.html This online extension of the worldfamous Smithsonian museums provides kid-friendly information on topics of all kinds: art, history and culture, people and places and science and nature. As part of their exploration of the activity-packed site, students can design their own online sculptures, take a virtual trip to the Galapagos, play a board game and complete other educational games and activities. The School Day Just Got Healthier www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/healthierschoolday/default.htm This initiative from USDA/FNS offers school cafeteria staff ideas and guidance for implementing new changes to school meals. Resources include a toolkit containing fact sheets, flyers, downloadable campaign badges and other materials, as well as success stories and blogs, plus a list of local and national events being held in support of the campaign, such as a webinars and a virtual back to school night.
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