Back to School—Already? This issue of the magazine will arrive in your mailbox in August. As I write this column though, it is May 18, and there are still 12 days left before school ends. But I’m tasked with writing in a “Back to School” issue, so I have to shift my frame of mind! Do you remember your very first day of school? When I was little, I lived in the country in northern Wisconsin. That day, there were five of us neighborhood kids picked up in a car, piloted by a woman I had never met, and driven 7 miles into town for kindergarten. I was scared, but she tried to make us feel comfortable. She dropped us off at the six-room elementary school, where another unfamiliar woman directed us to the basement, which was to be our half-day kindergarten classroom. When we walked in, with our small rugs rolled under our arms for naptime, I was quickly put at ease, because our teacher was the prettiest girl I had ever seen! And, she was so nice and calm—she made me feel safe and excited about this new experience. am still in touch with Mrs. Johnson today, and she still has the same calm demeanor. Fast forward, and things certainly have changed for this year’s kindergarten students! Many attend all-day programs, plus before- and afterschool daycare, often eating breakfast, lunch and a snack at school. Those first few days must be even more overwhelming for them! Learning the classroom routine, meeting their new classmates and teacher, being introduced to the lunchroom rules, serving themselves from unfamiliar meal choices and often memorizing a PIN to enter, too! These are the days that make lasting impressions on our littlest learners. Frequently, it is the kindness of the “lunch ladies” (and men) that they tell their parents about when they get home. A simple smile is something we can do to let all students know we care. Remembering and using their names, lets them know we see and value them as individuals. I hope that each of you has heard this from a parent, a teacher or from the students themselves: “You make a difference.” This is the truth, no matter what ages you serve in your cafeterias. I have found that even high school students need that smile and need to be called by name, getting that important reminder that we value and care about them just as much as our youngest customers. I wish you all the best in this upcoming school year. Remember: Smile! On the Job New! Training Guidelines New recommended training guidelines from SNA will help members (especially managers and directors/supervisors) implement annual training requirements now mandated under federal rules. This resource is available free, as an exclusive benefit for SNA members. Included in these guidelines are: (1) USDA Professional Standards Learning Objectives organized by key area and linked to specific codes; (2) a handy grid, which includes the USDA Professional Standards coded topics (organized by key area), along with other popular training topics that could count toward professional standards, listed with the relevant coding; and (3) a sample training tracking grid to use at conferences and other meetings. SNA encourages operators and SNA state affiliates to direct questions or concerns to their respective state agencies. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/professionalstandards to download your copy of the new training guidelines. Stay tuned to SNA’s website for more tools and resources. National School Lunch Week October 12-16, 2015 National School Lunch Week (NSLW) is only a short time away! This year’s theme, “School Lunch Snapshot,” invites you to share the best images of today’s healthy and appetizing school lunches with students, parents, stakeholders and the media! It’s the perfect opportunity to flex your creativity and make the most of this annual public awareness-building campaign. You can find promotional suggestions in School Nutrition’s April 2015 issue, as well as online at www.schoolnutrition.org/nslw. Be sure to use the hashtag #NSLW whenever you post pictures to social media, so everyone can see what you’re up to. Plus, because this year is all about great school lunch pictures, you’re sure to have plenty to share with SN, too! Tell us about your NSLW success by submitting a short summary of your celebrations and high-resolution pictures via email to email@example.com or NSLW Recap, School Nutrition, 120 Waterfront St., Suite 300, National Harbor, MD 20745.
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