ANC 2014 Boston Bound Only a few more weeks until the start of SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) 2014, and we have just one question for School Nutrition readers: Are you ready to make history in Boston!? Whether you are new to the profession (and ANC), or a seasoned pro (and likely an ANC veteran), you’ll find a jam-packed agenda with numerous program opportunities that meet your education and networking needs. From inspiring keynote speakers, to hot topic education sessions, to a bustling Exhibit Hall, ANC has something for everyone! Check out the preview beginning on page 62 for all the details about this year’s conference, but make note of the following events and opportunities, as well. • SNA’s House of Delegates will meet from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Saturday, July 12, 2014, at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Although voting privileges are granted only to official delegates, all SNA members are welcome to attend the proceedings. For more information, contact the SNA Service Center at (800) 877-8822. • There are three simple letters, SNS, which serve as a mark of school nutrition excellence and achievement, reflecting the breadth of all that it takes to manage school nutrition programs. Have you considered taking the next step in your career by obtaining the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) credential? The SNS Credentialing Exam will be offered during ANC on Sunday, July 13. But hurry: The deadline to register for the exam is June 22; sign up now by visiting www.schoolnutrition.org/careereducation.aspx. • Attention Chapter Leaders! Do you need ideas to reinvigorate your chapter? Would you like to network with other chapters from across the country? Chapter Leadership Day, Saturday morning, July 12, is a fantastic opportunity to gather fresh ideas that will help lead your chapter through a successful year. Presentations will cover such topics as growing membership, building strong chapters and leading effective and meaningful meetings. A separate registration fee is required. For details, contact the SNA Service Center at (800) 877-8822. • Don’t miss the SNA Emporium Shopping Bus, located in the ANC Marketplace. It’s your best source for morale-boosting T-shirts, aprons, tote-bags, pins, mugs and much more! These can be great prizes and incentives for staff activities or upcoming promotions. Don’t delay! If you haven’t already registered for the school nutrition event of the year, there is still time! Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/anc for everything you need to plan your trip to ANC Boston! Awards SN: Shining Bright! This spring, School Nutrition, SNA’s flagship publication, earned a Silver Award in the Best Single Topic/Magazine category in the EXCEL Awards competition, honoring the best in association media and publishing. The School Nutrition magazine team takes special pride that the February 2013 edition, on hunger in America, is the issue that was singled out for this distinction. Communications industry recognition like the EXCEL Awards not only reflects the high quality and hard work of SNA staff, but it helps to expose the professionalism of the school nutrition community to a greater audience. School Nutrition’s award-winning issue helped to educate those outside of the Association to the very real problem of hunger in America, and the crucial role school meal programs play in filling the gap for millions of children. School Nutrition Foundation It’s Never Been Easier to Give Many School Nutrition readers know that SNA’s philanthropic arm, the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), recently celebrated a significant milestone: its 50th anniversary. Since its founding in 1964, SNF has raised millions of dollars to provide a wide variety of scholarships, grants, research, training opportunities and technical assistance to school nutrition professionals at every level. For 50 years, every dollar donated to SNF has made a difference. Now, it’s easier than ever for you to support SNF. With a new mobile-compatible giving site, you can donate directly from your mobile phone or tablet. Just follow these two easy steps: • Go to www.schoolnutrition.org/snfdonate. • Submit your tax-deductible donation. Please consider joining in the celebration of 50 years serving school nutrition professionals with a $50 contribution. But know that whatever the size of your gift—be it $5, $50, $500 or other—it will be truly appreciated and put to good use. Your support of SNF and its efforts is crucial to the future success we will see in the next 50 years! For more details about SNF and its efforts on your behalf, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snf. Online Tools Spotlight Your Summer Feeding Many School Nutrition readers will read this month’s magazine after their summer meals program is already in full swing. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t still looking for fresh ideas to build participation, or perhaps you’re already taking notes about how to improve or expand this valuable hunger safety-net program for 2015! Indeed, you already know that summer feeding programs bridge the hunger gap for millions of children when school is out. But what about everyone else? Your summer feeding program is only as successful as your best promotional efforts. Therefore, it is paramount that you not only spread the word about the availability of summer meals, but about their importance, as well. Here are just a few sample talking points to consider when interacting with parents, community leaders and the media: • For too many children, the end of the school year means an end to the free and reduced-price meals they literally depend upon throughout the year. • With many [Insert County] families struggling to put food on the table, [Insert District Name]’s Summer Feeding Program will help ensure children do not have to worry about their next meal. • Beyond fighting hunger, summer nutrition programs support quality programming for young people by boosting attendance at summer enrichment activities and providing the nutrition children need to fuel their day. Be sure to feature community specifics and statistics to help boost your case. This includes data demonstrating the need for summer feeding programs in your state or region, examples of the healthy foods you are serving, your anticipated participation levels and so on. For more tips and advice on starting or expanding a summer meals program, especially through better promotion and marketing, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/summer. There you can access a wide number of helpful resources found in the online Summer Feeding Toolkit, made available by SNA and the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Publications Revealing Research Managing efficient school nutrition operations means availing yourself of every advantage and every (free) source of information that you can find. Have you ever checked out the fascinating research results you can find specific to school nutrition programs in The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management (JCN&M)? The latest issue, Spring 2014, has reached the “digital newsstand” and is available for you to review at no cost. JCN&M is SNA’s peer-reviewed journal, published twice each year and available online at SchoolNutrition.org. Every issue features a variety of research articles on topics critical to the successful operation of school meals programs. In the Spring 2014 issue, you will find: • An analysis of school food safety programs based on HACCP principles; • A focus group study of child nutrition professionals’ attitudes about food allergies and current training practices; • School nutrition employees’ perceptions of food safety practices, barriers and motivations; • An evaluation of new federal nutrition standards for school lunch servings and patterns of consumption; and • Plate waste and attitudes among high school lunch program participants. To access these research articles, as well more features in the latest issue—plus the JCN&M archives—visit www.schoolnutrition.org/jcnm. Advocacy Stepping Into a Policy Whirlwind Preparing for Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 is a long and involved process for SNA’s legislative team. School Nutrition is keeping tabs on SNA’s steps through its new “Road to Reauthorization” column (page 136). But Reauthorization is hardly the only policy priority for SNA these days. Your Association has been exceedingly busy on many legislative and regulatory fronts in recent weeks! Most notably, SNA has opted to seek meal pattern flexibility through legislative action. Appropriations bills being reviewed in both the House and Senate contain language to provide an element of relief to SNA members struggling with the upcoming whole grain-rich, sodium and competitive foods requirements. Specifically, SNA has called on Congress to: • Retain the current requirement that 50% of grains offered for reimbursable school lunches and breakfasts be whole grain-rich, rather than further increasing the requirement to 100%. • Retain the July 1, 2014 Target 1 sodium levels and suspend implementation of further sodium levels unless and until scientific research supports such reductions for children. • Eliminate the requirement that students must take a fruit or vegetable as part of a reimbursable breakfast and/or lunch. • Require USDA to allow any food item permitted to be served as part of a reimbursable meal to be sold at any time as a “competitive food,” in the acknowledgement that a food that is nutritious enough to meet strict school meal standards is nutritious enough to be sold as a competitive food. While SNA supports nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, changes to the current standards are necessary to preserve the financial sustainability of programs in many, many school districts. School lunch participation has dropped by more than one million students since the new federal standards were implemented, resulting in a 15% decline in paid meal participation. School cafeterias face greater hurdles this fall, when the first sodium limits take effect and all grains offered must be whole grain-rich. Is your district one of those feeling the strain? SNA members are asked to write to your congressional representatives immediately. Whether you are a cook/server, a manager or a district director, your lawmakers in Congress need to hear your opinions—and they will listen. Stay tuned for Action Alerts from SNA, and invite your representatives to join you in your cafeteria for a school meal (see the article at right). Remember, your individual action does make a difference! The appropriations bill and subsequent pushback by the Administration also have meant extensive recent media coverage. As usual, not all of it has been balanced and accurate, and SNA’s media team is working feverishly to clarify the Association’s positions. But there have been a number of even-handed pieces that detail the challenges faced in many districts. For example, in early May, an Associated Press story featuring thoughtful commentary by several directors (including incoming SNA Vice President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS) was carried by dozens of local and national news outlets. In addition to its efforts toward meal pattern flexibility, SNA formally submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on two other provisions from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act this spring. Visit SchoolNutrition.org to see SNA’s positions regarding the proposed rules related to local school wellness policies and professional standards. Earlier this spring, when the issue of unpaid meal charges made national news, SNA developed talking points to help members communicate with local authorities and the media on this controversial issue (http://tinyurl.com/unpaidmealcharges). In the meantime, SNA President Leah Schmidt, SNS, commended Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon for a letter he sent to state agencies about plans to analyze national survey data on the issue and the intent to convene a multidisciplinary working group to solicit best practices and recommendations. Finding it hard to keep up with the fast-breaking changes affecting SNA’s advocacy efforts? Sign up for Tuesday Morning, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the most recent happenings in federal and state policy and legislation. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/tuesdaymorning to subscribe. Advocacy Cafeteria Site Visit Sweepstakes With Child Nutrition Reauthorization right around the corner in 2015, SNA is encouraging its members to showcase the excellent work of your school nutrition programs directly, immediately and in person to your respective lawmakers in Congress. One of the simplest and most effective ways to accomplish this is by inviting your U.S. representative and two senators to pay a visit to your school cafeteria. Encourage them to see firsthand the importance of school meals, the complex steps involved every day to feed the nation’s children and the salt-of-the-earth individuals on the front lines making it happen! For hosting a cafeteria site visit (and telling SNA about it), two randomly selected members will win a trip for two to SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) 2015 in Washington, D.C.! The winners will enjoy free registration, hotel stay and travel, as well as be recognized during LAC. Hosting your lawmakers at your cafeteria is a perfect occasion to show off your summer feeding site or highlight your new fall menus. SNA has made it easy to get started. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/LegislativeAction.aspx (click on “Cafeteria Site Visit 101”) for step-by-step guidance on how to reach out and set up a visit with your members of the House and Senate. Be persistent—it may take some time to get on the lawmaker’s busy calendar. Be sure to emphasize the value of them coming during the media-intensive back-to-school season—you won’t have to spell it out, but it’s a great photo opportunity for them mere weeks before the November election. To enter the “SNA Cafeteria Site Visits Sweepstakes,” you must be an SNA member and submit your entries by November 4, 2014. Send documentation of the visit (pictures, videos, thank-you letters, press clippings, etc.) to Nichole Westin at email@example.com or by fax to (301) 686-3115. Visit http://tinyurl.com/SiteVisitSweepstakesRules for details. Publications Big Help From a Compact Source The importance of educating allies and would-be allies about the complexities of school nutrition has never been higher, as SNA and its members contend with media-circulated misinformation. This summer is a perfect time to purchase copies of SNA’s Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition, so you can be ready for the upcoming back-to-school season. Little Big is a comprehensive overview, overflowing with facts and figures about federal regulations, USDA Foods, school district demographics and the hottest topics being discussed today. It’s a must-have resource for new foodservice directors and managers, school administrators, vendors, state and national lawmakers and media representatives. The K-12 school nutrition profession is easily misunderstood and underestimated. Help others to understand this complex business by purchasing Little Big online or at the SNA Emporium Bus at the Annual National Conference in Boston. With a new edition scheduled for release in 2015, discounts on the current edition are available. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/bookstore for details. Vendor Support Reap the Rewards! You likely are aware of companies serving the K-12 school market that offer programs that allow you to accumulate reward points for case purchases. What you may not know is that SNA has teamed up with several industry partners to allow Association members to use these reward points toward SNA memberships, certification fees and conference registrations, as well as purchases in the online Bookstore and Emporium. Participating programs include Schwan’s Branded Concept Rewards Program, Domino’s Smart Slice Rewards Plus Program, Cool School Cafe and Cafe Fuel and more. Simply put, it’s like being rewarded twice for buying the things you need for your school cafeteria. SNA has developed A Guide to SNA Industry Rewards Programs, which includes all the pertinent information for applying points toward SNA member benefits. Learn how each program works, how to enroll, how to accrue points, how to redeem them with SNA and more. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/industryrewards to access the Guide. For vendors seeking more information about starting a rewards program with SNA, contact Staff Vice President of Industry Relations & Development Sherry Carrigan at firstname.lastname@example.org. STEPS CHALLENGE Make the Third Time the Charm! Get ready, get set, go—the STEPS Challenge will return for a third year in August, helping SNA members make small lifestyle changes to improve personal wellness and model healthy choices for the students they serve. Made possible with support by Jennie-O Turkey Store, STEPS has helped change lives, one simple step at a time. In preparation for Year Three, attendees of SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston will get some early motivation. A STEPS wellness event on Tuesday, July 15 will feature a special appearance by Ali Vincent, the first female winner of “The Biggest Loser,” who also will pose for pictures and sign autographs at the Jennie-O booth in the Exhibit Hall. Attendees also should be sure to pick-up a free STEPS pedometer, which will help keep track of your daily steps during the last, busy days of ANC—and all through the year to come. Finally, Vincent will share the importance of overall wellness and discuss her own weight-loss journey at a can’t-miss STEPS Challenge education session on Tuesday afternoon (see School Nutrition’s interview with Vincent on page 151). Year Three STEPS challenges will kick off in August, featuring a mix of healthy eating, physical exercise and mental wellness tasks and goals. Be sure to check School Nutrition’s August issue for more details. If you haven’t tried the STEPS Challenge, or you took a slight detour previously, Year Three is sure to be the charm! For more information, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/steps.
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