SNA Press Releases

Lee's Summit (Mo.) School District Named District of the Year

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Contact: Alexis Steines
703-739-3900, ext. 175


School Nutrition Association Recognizes Lee’s Summit Child Nutrition Department as the Outstanding School Nutrition Program for 2009

LAS VEGAS, July 1, 2009 – Lee’s Summit School District was named the 2009 District of the Year in School Nutrition today during the 3rd General Session of the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference.  The District’s Child Nutrition Department was recognized for improving the health and nutrition of the district’s food offerings, implementing a strong professional development program and exercising superior financial management.  Child Nutrition Director Jane Hentzler, RD, SNS accepted the award on behalf of the school district.

Student taste testing, nutritious meals, staff professional development, and an emphasis on strong customer service have launched the Lee’s Summit Child Nutrition Department to the pinnacle of the school nutrition profession.  The district surpassed the Keys of Excellence, the national standards for operating school nutrition programs.  Lee’s Summit is only the second recipient of the award, for which eligibility is limited to those school nutrition programs that have earned the District of Excellence Distinction in School Nutrition.

As the District of the Year in School Nutrition, Lee’s Summit School District was awarded $25,000 to further improve and enhance their school nutrition program operations.  The funds will be used by the school district to promote wellness and nutrition education by creating a nutrition library for all grade levels, expanding lunch room promotions in the media and the community and strengthening school Nutrition Councils by including more school principals and student advisors.  The district also plans to continue its dedication to professional development by promoting SNA continuing education and certification to staff members.

Committed to professional excellence, the Lee’s Summit Child Nutrition Department established an outstanding professional development program.  All management staff have been SNA certified through classes conducted by the district’s central office staff.  By 2010, the district hopes to certify all managers and production staff.  All school nutrition staff receive comprehensive training through out the year. A further demonstration of Lee’s Summit’s commitment to professional excellence is shown through it’s involvement with SNA. School nutrition staff members are strongly encouraged to participate in SNA activities through the local, state, and national levels. 

Providing both healthy meals and nutrition education is a hallmark of the Lee’s Summit child nutrition program.  Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread items, and low-fat dairy products are staples on district menus for both breakfast and lunch.  The student body actively helps the district nutrition staff select new items through taste testing throughout the school year.  The district also runs a very active student Nutrition Services Council, further empowering students to make healthy decisions about the foods they eat.

Lee’s Summit was one of eight districts nationally awarded the District of Excellence Distinction.  This recognition highlights school districts that complete a thorough self-assessment in all four “key” areas in the Keys to Excellence program then demonstrate that the national best practice standards that make up the “Keys” are met through a comprehensive application packet.  The application documents knowledge and marketing, administration, and operations.  By being named the District of the Year, Lee’s Summit, Mo., rose above the District of Excellence applicants in 2009 by best reflecting the Keys Express national best practice standards.  The district was also evaluated on the integration of their programming into the community and demonstrated dedication and commitment to setting examples for both students and other staff and faculty.


Keys to Excellence is a national best practice standards program that has been a core component of SNA’s professional development and training programs since 1992. This tool serves as the foundation of SNA’s certification and credentialing programs.  It also provides a way for school districts to conduct self-assessments and to compare their program to the industry’s gold standard while helping meet their goals to serve healthy, delicious food in a cost-effective way.

In 2007, an expert committee completed a thorough review of the best practice standards for the District of Excellence Distinction in School Nutrition and added the District of the Year Award component to recognize one outstanding district each year .  Districts submit an extensive application to a formal peer review panel.  District of Excellence recipients may also apply for the prestigious $25,000 District of the Year Award.  The District of Excellence and District of the Year programs are made possible through the support of the National Dairy Council®.

To learn more about the District of Excellence program, please visit

SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

The School Nutrition Foundation, established in 1964, is a non-profit corporation that provides high-quality professional development, financial aid and research programs to child nutrition professionals and members of SNA.  The Foundation’s commitment to the child nutrition community is integral to implementing positive changes in school meals and, ultimately, to the health of school children.



USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Janey Thornton to Speak at ANC 2009

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USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Janey Thornton to Speak at ANC 2009

Contact: Alexis Steines
703-739-3900, ext. 175

LAS VEGAS, June 30, 2009 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Dr. Janey Thornton, Ph.D, SNS will address the School Nutrition Association’s 63th Annual National Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.  Dr. Thornton will speak during the conference’s 2nd General Session today, June 30, 2009.

In her position as Deputy Under Secretary, Dr. Thornton is responsible for providing policy direction to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP).  The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program are among the federal programs she oversees.

In her remarks, Dr. Thornton discussed the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce childhood overweight and obesity.  She noted that the USDA is taking numerous steps to encourage families to lead healthier lifestyles by encouraging people to make smart food choices, eat more fruits and vegetables, control portion sizes, and increase physical activity. Ultimately, it’s parents and children that must take responsibility for themselves.

“We need to empower parents and challenge kids to take personal responsibility for their actions… As role models, each of us needs to set the example of making healthier food choices and participating in daily physical activity for our children to emulate,” Dr. Thornton remarked.

Nutritious, healthy school meals are one solution in helping families eat healthier and teaching children valuable health lessons.  “The school meal program is instrumental in teaching kids how to eat… As we all know, lifelong nutrition and physical activity habits are formed in childhood.  Helping children develop these values through the school meals programs is an investment in our future,” said Dr. Thornton.

Dr. Thornton was appointed Deputy Undersecretary in April 2009.  For over 25 years, Dr. Thornton was the school nutrition director for the Hardin County School District in Elizabethtown, Ky.  She served as the President of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) from 2006-2007.  Dr. Thornton has also served as the President of the School Nutrition Foundation and was a founding member of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation Board of Directors.

The SNA Annual National Conference, June 29 – July 2, 2009, featured over 5,500 school nutrition professionals and school foodservice industry members participating in over 80 education sessions, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including best selling author Jeannette Walls. 



New Healthy Food Choices and Efficient Equipment to Debut at School Nutrition Conference

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New Healthy Food Choices and Efficient Equipment to Debut at School Nutrition Conference

Contact: Erik Peterson

 (703) 739-3900, ext. 124

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (June 30, 2009) – Whole grain noodles, hummus dip, sunflower seeds, frozen bananas, soy nut butter, reduced sugar yogurt and 100% pure Alaskan Pollock are just a few of the nutritious new foods and beverages that could be served in schools next year. Low-fat versions of student favorites, new ways to serve whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and supplies all contribute to more than 30 million balanced, healthy meals served in schools each day.

More than 5,500 school nutrition professionals from around the country will pack into 200,000 square feet of exhibit space today at the 63rd Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association. With food and labor costs escalating, they will scout for ways to aid in the delivery of affordable, high-quality school meals in their local school districts. More than 315 companies will display a wide variety of healthy food and beverage products, equipment, nutrition education materials, software, services and more on the largest exhibit floor in the school nutrition industry at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center from June 29 to July 2, 2009.  Among the healthy products on exhibit and expected to appear in lunchrooms this fall:

  • Fruits and vegetables – Fresh, ready-to-eat, single-serve, prepackaged cut fruits and vegetables including sliced carrots, oranges and apple-grape and apple-orange mixtures as well as dried fruit mixtures and frozen bananas.
  • Beverages – Low sugar, low calorie flavored and plain milk in 1% and fat free varieties; soy beverages, made with organic soybeans; 100% juice, 100% fruit juice smoothies, 100% juice with carbonated water and no-calorie, flavored waters.
    Dairy – Low-fat cheeses and blended, nonfat yogurt with reduced sugar, in age-appropriate servings.
  • Whole grain and multigrain products – Pasta, noodles, tortillas, flour, cereals, breads, buns and breaded chicken products designed to be baked.
  • Nutrient-rich spreads and dips – Hummus, “yogurt & cream cheese” and low fat ranch dressings.
  • Lean protein – 100% pure Alaskan pollock, zero trans fat, whole grain breaded chicken patties, antibiotic and hormone free deli meats, Cuban pork and lean beef patties.
  • Healthy student favorites – Pizzas with whole grain crusts, low-fat cheese, and low sodium toppings; zero trans fat, baked potato fries and wedges, including sweet potato fries.
  • Peanut-free alternatives – A variety of spreads including soy nut butter and sunflower seed butter.
  • Equipment – Combi ovens, serving counters, milk merchandisers, convection ovens, self-service bars, heated cabinets and point-of-sale systems as well as vending machines designed to dispense balanced, nutritious school lunches that comply with federal nutrition requirements.
  • Attendees will also be visiting “Produce Row,” an aisle of the exhibit floor dedicated to fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Nearby is “Dairy Way,” an aisle solely for dairy-based products. Nutrition education resources, point-of-sale software systems and programs, and kitchen and cafeteria equipment also round out the booths.

The SNA Annual National Conference, June 29 to July 2, 2009, features over 5,500 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 80 educational workshops, the school best selling author Jeannette Walls.