Nancy Thatcher, SNA School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative 2013-10-02 06:15:30
With a new school year underway, I find myself reflecting on how much I love being in school nutrition. This is not just a job; it is a part of me, who I am as a person. One thing that I love about this profession is that I am still learning new things and new ways to please my students. A key factor in pleasing our students is providing good customer service. If we do not present a helpful, cheerful attitude, our students (and their teachers) will not want to eat at our “restaurant.” That’s why it’s important for us to be friendly and talk with our customers so they choose to come to the cafeteria. In addition to being aware of the customer service that I’m providing, I do my best to learn everything I can about school nutrition. I read this magazine every month and visit SNA’s website, SchoolNutrition.org, to learn the latest school nutrition news. Webinars from SNA’s School Nutrition Foundation also help to further our education. Another valuable resource that helps me in my job is the National Food Service Management Institute. If you visit its website, www.nfsmi.org, you will find a variety of workshops and tests to help you improve; the site also has an awesome Food Buying Guide calculator tool (http://tinyurl.com/foodbuyingguide). Part of loving what I do entails feeling comfortable with all of the tasks that I must perform. It’s critical that I learn how to operate all our equipment, following the manufacturer’s instructions so that it works well for many years—and reduces the risk for accidental injury. I also read and follow the instructions on prepared food items and ingredients, as well as our tried-and-true recipes. Paying careful attention results in meals that look and taste great—which gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps those customers coming back for more. (And paying close attention to ingredients lists means that I can ensure that any student with a food allergy or medical condition doesn’t consume a harmful item.) Finally, I know how important it is to follow food safety procedures to guard against cross contamination and other risks of a foodborne illness. [Editors’ Note: For more on safety and sanitation tips, see “Hazard Alert,” September 2013.] I know I’m proud to be a school nutrition professional, and I hope you are, too! There’s always so much to learn and do in this business. I can’t wait to read next month’s issue of School Nutrition, which will focus more on how and why we can —and should—take pride in our profession. Cast Your Vote! SNA National Elections SNA’s Board of Directors is committed to representing you and the school nutrition profession. Be sure to show your support by participating in SNA’s annual election. If you were a valid member as of May 31, 2013, you are eligible to vote for this year’s candidates. Voting begins October 15 and closes November 15. Have your membership number handy and visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snaelection to cast your vote. For more information about the candidates, you can find biographies online at SNA’s website. Interviews with those running for the position of vice president are featured in this issue (see pages 44-45). Time to Celebrate National School Lunch Week October 14-18, 2013 As you read this, your school is probably gearing up to celebrate this year’s National School Lunch Week (NSLW). At the conclusion of your festivities, don’t forget to submit a brief report and photos of your NSLW activities, and they may appear in the magazine’s April 2014 wrap-up article. Send them by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to NSLW Wrap, School Nutrition, 120 Waterfront St., Suite 300, National Harbor, MD 20745. [Note: Submission of photos grants permission to use the images in the magazine or other SNA materials.] Steps to Success STEPS Challenge Year Two of the STEPS Challenge is underway! Whether you participated last year or you are just getting on board, taking part in this personal wellness initiative sponsored by Jennie-O Turkey Store will connect you with other SNA members who have similar goals for improved health and well-being. This month’s challenge focuses on fitness, and November’s will highlight hydration. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/steps to learn more and sign up today!
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