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SNA Press Releases

From the Lunchroom to the Legislature:A Chronicle of the Recent History of School Meal Programs in America

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

From the Lunchroom to the Legislature:
A Chronicle of the Recent History of School Meal Programs in America


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 21, 2008) – Sliced kiwi, turkey wrap on a whole-grain tortilla and a bottle of fat-free milk: school lunch has changed a lot in 20 years, and no organization knows this better than the School Nutrition Association (SNA).  Today, the nation’s leading authority on school nutrition released a new book detailing the recent history of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program by recounting its own organizational challenges and triumphs.

A Measure of Excellence: The History of the School Nutrition Association, 1988-2008, chronicles the history of the Association from its move from Denver to the Washington, DC, area in 1988 to the present-day drive for uniform, national school nutrition standards.  The book offers a unique look at the one federal program nearly every American has participated in. Some of the historical highlights include:

  • Defeating the 1995 Congressional effort to eliminate the federal school nutrition programs.  In trying to reduce the size of government, the Contract with America plan included a provision that would eliminate the entitlement status of the federal school nutrition programs in favor of block grants to the states.  Association members fought a tough, difficult battle to defeat the provisions and maintain a national program that remains rooted in nutrition integrity. A legacy of that time, the struggle continues today to ensure that adequate funding is made at the local, state and federal levels in order to allow districts to offer healthy school meals.
  • Rebranding the Association with a new name.  In 2004, the American School Food Service Association became the School Nutrition Association.  The name change reflected the growing professionalism of Association members and the emphasis on providing well-balanced, nutritious meals to over 30 million children every school day.
  • Expanding the mission of school nutrition beyond U.S. borders. In 1997, the Association began hosting an annual forum for child nutrition officials working in different nations to share and learn new strategies for creating self-sustaining programs in their countries.  In 2006, the Global Child Nutrition Forum became the premier event held by SNA’s newly established Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF). 
  • Creating nutrition standards and developing school wellness programs.  During much of the past 20 years, the Association continually has sought to improve the quality of school nutrition programs. Among its efforts, SNA was a driving force in the addition of a provision to the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act mandating that school districts create local school wellness policies.  In 2008, the Association released a set of model school nutrition standards, ensuring that quality meals for students would be based on the latest nutrition science.

“During the last 20 years, the Association has met (many) challenges… with an unwavering commitment to excellence,” write SNA past presidents Karen Johnson, SNS and Donna Wittrock, SNS, in the book’s introduction. “We have recorded these events here to help future leaders build on these achievements. And we hope that, in doing so, we help to preserve the rich history and legacy of our Association.” The book is available for purchase online through the Association website at www.schoolnutrition.org 

The School Nutrition Association (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.  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.

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Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Exemplary Accomplishments

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Exemplary Accomplishments

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2008) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 62nd Annual National Conference, in Philadelphia, PA.  In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition on Sunday, July 20, 2008 for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.

The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Janice Mills, cafeteria manager at Mansfield Middle School in Mansfield Center, Connecticut. Mills was recognized for her 2008 program Looking at Connecticut History through the Eyes of a School Kitchen.  She was the 2002 recipient of the School Nutrition Association’s Louise Sublette Award for Lunch Time Links to Literacy, as well as winner of the 2002 Connecticut Association of Schools non-certified staff award for educational leadership. Janet has been with the child nutrition program in Mansfield Public Schools for the past 15 years and has held jobs ranging from cashier-lunch helper, elementary school manager and most recently, manager at Mansfield Middle School. Janice has served on the School Nutrition Association of CT (SNACT) Executive Board and as Chapter President for the Yankee Chapter of SNACT. Growing up, Mills attended parochial schools that did not provide any type of school meals. That experience has led to her passion for providing nutritious and well-balanced school meals for all students.

The 2008 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Rhonda DeVaux, School Nutrition Director for Irvine Unified School District in California.  An SNA member for 31 years, DeVaux has found the right balance between nutrition integrity and fiscal responsibility. Years before California implemented nutrition standards, DeVaux successfully worked to eliminate soda and candy sales on her district’s campuses. She used fruit and vegetable promotions to increase their consumption by 40% and implemented “best value” pricing for combination meals to emphasize the importance of eating well-balanced meals. All of this was done while erasing a deficit of $300,000 that she inherited when becoming director and creating a “fund balance” that is used for nutrition education and staff development.  In a little over a decade she has increased meal participation by 63% in a district with a very high rate of “paid” students and open campuses. A wide variety of entrée choices, smart utilization of technology and collaborations with PTAs and other campus groups have paved the way for success. Her creativity spans from providing a nutrition education program to students while they wait in line for lunch to involving student groups in the school nutrition program as a way for the groups to raise funds. A past president of the California School Nutrition Association, DeVaux is also active in her school community and operates a model professional development program to provide all of her staff with skills they need to succeed.

The National Heart of the Program went to Anita Karakesisoglu, a foodservice employee at the Nutrition Service Office of Irvine Unified School District in California. Described by her colleagues as “naturally friendly, warm and engaging,” Karakesisoglu’s energy is only exceeded by her creative resourcefulness. By developing an efficient process for entering district financial data, tracking and transporting food and organizing documents and supplies at each school site, she has saved time, labor and money for the district school nutrition department. Whether volunteering to step in when needed at a school site, for a state or chapter association function or to help with district special events, Karakesisoglu is know for her “can do” attitude and positive demeanor. She has continued to focus on professional development, taking a range of courses and seeking to become SNA credentialed in an effort to improve the district school nutrition operation. Anita’s dedication to her profession is evident from her exemplary attendance record, she has had perfect attendance on the job since September 1, 2005, making her truly the “heart” of the Irvine Unified School District Nutrition Service Office.
The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

SNA (http://www.schoolnutrition.org) 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.

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School Nutrition Professionals Review Nutritious Foods & Equipment

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

School Nutrition Professionals Review Nutritious Foods & Equipment

PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2007) – 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 6,000 school nutrition professionals from around the country will pack into 215,000 square feet of exhibit space today at the 62nd 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 365 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 Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, July 20-23, 2008.  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 milks in 1% and fat free varieties; soy beverages, both flavored and unsweetened, made with organic soybeans; 100% juices, 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 and 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.
  • Snacks – Individually packaged pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins and other nuts and dried fruits
  • 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, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

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Charlotte County Schools, Florida Win Annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Charlotte County Schools, Florida Win Annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 21, 2008) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) and National Dairy Council will recognize the school nutrition staff of Charlotte County School District in Punta Gorda, Fla. as winner of the second annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest. The program encourages SNA members to serve as role models for students and to improve their health by incorporating physical activity and good nutrition into their daily routines.  In addition to Charlotte County Schools, Fla, three staff wellness teams were also recognized for having the highest point totals: Blount High School in Maryville, Tenn., Eastern Randolph High School in Ramseur, N.C. and Punta Gorda Middle School in Punta Gorda, Fla.
Charlotte County Schools, Fla. will be awarded a one-time Wellness Grant valued at $5,000. All winning schools receive a milk merchandiser and other prizes including spa gift certificates and free registrations to the School Nutrition Association’s 2008 Annual National Conference from July 20 – 23 in Philadelphia, Penn.

More than 150 school teams participated in the program, which took participants on a virtual “walk” from Chicago to Philadelphia. The goal to help staff members reach and maintain personal wellness focused on the energy balance between food and physical activity.. Participants were encouraged to work together to implement key recommendations such as eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.  While three teams and one district were recognized, all who participated in “Eat Smart, Get Moving” are winners, demonstrating individual and team commitment to health and wellness based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

SNA is committed to supporting staff and employee wellness. Many of the local wellness policies implemented incorporate staff wellness as a key component in promoting healthy eating habits among children. “Eat Smart, Get Moving” will return next year, taking SNA members on a journey from Philadelphia across the nation to Las Vegas, the site of SNA’s 2009 Annual National Conference. For more information visit, www.eatsmart-getmoving.org. Funding for this program will again be made possible through a partnership with the National Dairy Council.
The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

School Nutrition Association
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.  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.

National Dairy Council
The National Dairy Council® was founded in 1915 and conducts nutrition education and nutrition research programs through national, state, and regional Dairy Council organizations, on behalf of America’s diary farmers. For more information, visit
 www.nationaldairycouncil.org.

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