By Jennifer Lewi 2016-06-10 04:12:53
SNA’s commitment to the professional development of its members stretches back decades and is going strong. THE INTENT BEHIND THE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS REGULATION IS A WORTHY ONE. It establishes a clear understanding that K-12 school meal programs can’t be operated by just anyone who’s made a family dinner. The women and men responsible for feeding children school breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, suppers and summer meals need ongoing training and development to meet the changing demands of these programs. They need regular education to be at the top of their game in this complex business. No other foodservice segment faces the same combination of regulations, under-funding, public scrutiny and demanding customers. Professionals in school nutrition need professional development. SNA gets it, and has been getting it for 70 years. SNA has always been ahead of the pack in prioritizing professional development for its members, reinforcing that commitment in myriad ways, none more significant than its longstanding Certificate in School Nutrition and School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Credentialing Programs. SNA promotes the highest standards in the school nutrition profession through these two programs. When qualified individuals earn their Certificate or the SNS, they can formally demonstrate that they have met a national standard of the requisite knowledge, skills and experience required for professionals working in school nutrition. And SNA’s leaders and staff regularly review and revise (as necessary) the programs, their requirements and the support tools developed to help members achieve these valuable professional development hallmarks. This ongoing scrutiny ensures that the three Certificate levels and the SNS are properly reflective of today’s school nutrition environment. For example, SNA aligned its Certificate program with the federal Professional Standards requirement to cover the four Key Areas that are considered fundamental. In addition, Certificate Level 1 renewal requirements now parallel Professional Standards annual training hours. It’s this type of attention and commitment of resources that is a testament to SNA’s longstanding dedication to the professional development of its members. Certificate in School Nutrition Earning your Certificate in School Nutrition will provide you with a career ladder that you can use to advance in the profession. It adds credibility to your position—and to your school’s cafeteria program. It enhances your professional image with supervisors, parents and administrators. Most important, it helps you stay current on the latest solutions related to your job. There are THREE levels in the program. To earn Level 1, you no longer need a high school diploma/GED. You will need to demonstrate that you’ve met required hours in core Nutrition and Food Safety & Sanitation courses. To earn Level 2 or 3, you must submit a copy of your high school diploma/GED (or higher education documentation) with your application. Significantly more hours of targeted training are required. You do not need to start at Level 1, if you meet the requirements for one of the higher levels. You can earn your SNA Certificate in three simple steps: 1) ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE & REQUIREMENTS. Determine if you’ve met the criteria for the certificate level you are applying for. 2) DOCUMENTATION & PAYMENT. Submit proof of your academic/training requirements and pay the appropriate fee. 3) CELEBRATE! Upon approval of your application, SNA will send you a verification letter within 4 to 6 weeks. Your SNA Certificate is valid for one year from the month of approval. For all the specifics, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/certificate. Are You a School Nutrition Specialist? The SNS Credential is a mark of excellence and achievement that reflects what it takes to manage school nutrition programs in today’s changing climate. An SNS is a person who has successfully passed the SNS Credentialing Exam, which is based on four Key Areas that encompass nine knowledge/content areas and competencies. The four Key Areas are the basis for the USDA Professional Standards requirement. The exam has 200 multiple-choice questions; candidates have four hours to complete the exam. An independent testing company oversees the electronic grading of the exam. Before you can sit for the SNS exam, you must meet a mix of academic and work experience criteria, complete an application and pay a fee. Candidates who are denied eligibility may appeal the decision to the SNA Certificate and Credentialing Governing Council (at right). SNA has developed resources to help candidates study for the exam. These include an Exam Content outline, detailing the percentage of exam questions in each of the nine knowledge areas. An Exam Resource List was compiled to reflect the resources used in developing the knowledge/content areas. It includes links, as available. Candidates also may want to purchase the SNS Study Guide and/or the School Food and Nutrition Service Management textbook. These are available in a specially priced bundle ($109 + S&H) for SNA members. For more details about all aspects of the SNS Credentialing Program, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/sns. Good Council You are surely aware of the SNA Board of Directors. Anyone who attends the annual Legislative Action Conference knows about the Public Policy & Legislation Committee. Maybe you’ve read about the Leadership Development Committee and some of the other groups of volunteers who provide direction and expertise for Association activities. But were you aware of the Certificate and Credentialing Governing Council and the incredible work they do on your behalf? These volunteers oversee the Certificate and Credentialing Programs, offering guidance in numerous ways, from ensuring that the programs are regularly updated to reflect current practices and requirements in school nutrition to establishing policies to reviewing and recommending targeted resource materials. To ensure program integrity, the Governing Council operates autonomously from the SNA Board of Directors. This means they are an independent and separate body, and any decision they make, including the results of an exam appeal, for example, cannot be overruled by the Board or staff. SNA takes pride in this example of best practices for membership organizations with certificate/credentialing programs. Members of the Council are selected to represent different segments of the school nutrition profession and are expected to have knowledge and expertise in each of the four Key Areas of SNA’s Programs (and the Professional Standards rule). Four current openings on the Council are expected to be filled this summer, with the new term beginning August 1. 2015-16 GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBERS • Diane Santoro, SNS, Chair • Janice King, MEd, RDN, SNS, CDE (practitioner) • Donna Martin, RD, SNS (practitioner) • Aleshia Hall-Campbell, PhD, MPH (Institute of Child Nutrition representative) • Sheldon Gordon, RD (USDA representative) • Kevin Sauer, PhD, RD, LD (educator) • Linda Sweeney, MS, RD, SNS (educator) • Cheryl Johnson, RD (state agency representative) • Barry Sackin, SNS (industry representative) The ABCs of CEUs The purpose of annual Continuing Education Units (CEUs) is to provide job-related professional development and growth experiences. To maintain your SNA Certificate (or change levels) or the SNS Credential, you must meet a designated number of CEUs (depending on the program and level). You can earn CEUs in many ways: • SNA live webinars • SNA Webinars On-Demand (SNA members only) • SNA-approved core courses • SNA national conferences • SNA state association programs • USDA training programs • State agency training programs • School Nutrition “To Your Credit” articles • School district-sponsored training • Institute of Child Nutrition courses • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics courses and meetings • Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals courses and meetings • University and college courses For the Certificate Program, SNA encourages participation in 1-hour trainings to earn CEUs, but two 30-minute trainings (or four 15-minute trainings) within the same subtopic code, within the same year, will be accepted as one CEU. Renewal CEUs must be completed during the certificate year. For the SNS Credentialing Program, CEUs must be a minimum of one hour in length. If audited, you will be required to submit documentation of 45 CEUs for the three-year credentialing period, and these must fall under one of the four Key Areas. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/earningceus and www.schoolnutrition.org/HowToEarnCEUs to discover more sources of training, determine if a specific offering is eligible for SNA’s programs (or the Professional Standards requirement), calculate CEUs and understand documentation requirements. WHAT’S AHEAD? In January 2016, SNA kicked off a project to perform a training needs assessment among school nutrition professionals. The project is being conducted in partnership with five state agencies: Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina. It’s the first partnership of its kind between the national Association and state agencies. The assessment will help SNA and state agencies across the country identify the top training needs of school nutrition professionals and provide direction in the development of innovative training that meets those needs. What Is Past Is Prologue Forward-thinking school nutrition pioneers like Thelma Flanagan and Louise Sublette were instrumental in developing a national, professional certification program for school foodservice employees to use as an avenue for ongoing professional growth. Competencies expected of those personnel were established as a bridge between continuing education and a formal recognition of proficiency. According to A Pinch of Love, Louise Sublette, the Association’s 1972-73 president, noted, “Upgrading training opportunities for school food service staffs could well make the difference in whether or not we maintain our present role or give way to management companies that demonstrate greater ability than we.” During Sublette’s term, the first Certification Committee and Continuing Education Committee were identified, with the latter becoming a standing committee. Today, the Professional Development Committee remains a standing committee in the organization’s governance, and Professional Development is one of the four cornerstones of the Association’s three-year Strategic Plan. Sublette also oversaw the first certification plan pilot, implemented in three states, as well as the first official continuing education program, which was established to provide a foundation for the certification plan. This included the identification of meaningful training materials for broadened inservice opportunities, as well as an educational career ladder. Today, four decades after the original official certification program was launched, and after multiple revisions, nearly 20,000 individuals have earned their Certificate in School Nutrition. In 1998, the Association introduced a more-rigorous program to recognize the highest levels of school nutrition professionalism and expertise. The first exam in the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Credentialing Program was given in January 1999. “In today’s competitive world, consumers expect the very best from all professionals—no matter what the field. A special expectation falls on those responsible for feeding the nation’s greatest resource: our children,” wrote Association Presidents Ruth Jonen (2005-06) and Phyllis Griffith (1999-00) in this magazine. The SNS “designation will add credibility to your program and your professionalism, indeed to our entire profession.” At press time, a record number of Association members had earned and maintained the SNS Credential: 1,471! Head to SchoolNutrition.org to learn more about SNA’s professional development programs. Head to SchoolNutrition.org to learn more about SNA’s professional development programs. Jennifer Lewi is SNA staff vice president of Membership, Marketing and Professional Development.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Your+Professionalism+is+Our+Top+Priority/2507169/310083/article.html.