FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Joins Chairman Lincoln in Calling for Swift Passage of Child Nutrition Reauthorization
National Harbor, MD (July 29, 2010) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) joined Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and numerous child nutrition advocacy organizations in an event calling on Congress to take immediate action on Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation.
With few days remaining on the Congressional calendar prior to the Child Nutrition Act’s September 30th expiration, Congress has little remaining time to debate this legislation, which is critical to national efforts to promote healthy eating habits for children in the midst of a growing childhood obesity epidemic.
“School nutrition programs desperately need additional funds from Congress to support ongoing efforts to offer more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products in the lunch line,” said SNA President Nancy Rice, M.Ed., RD, LD, SNS, State Director of the Georgia Department of Education, School Nutrition Division.
“The First Lady, health professionals, school administrators, parents – everyone - has been talking about the importance of healthy eating to children’s well-being and academic achievement,” said Rice. “After all, what is more important than nourishing the minds and bodies of America’s future generation? Congress cannot afford to go on summer vacation without completing this assignment. The School Nutrition Association and its members commend Chairman Lincoln for her commitment to passing Child Nutrition Reauthorization.”
SNA, (http://www.schoolnutrition.org) the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 53,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Founded in 1946, the Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.
SNA Commends House Committee on Child Nutrition Reauthorization Mark Up
National Harbor, MD (July 15, 2010) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) commends members of the House Education and Labor Committee for forwarding HR 5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act, to the House floor for debate. Members approved the legislation by a vote of 32 to 13 during the Committee’s mark up today.
“With little time remaining on the legislative calendar, the House Education and Labor Committee’s rapid approval of HR 5504 acknowledges the importance of reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act prior to the upcoming school year,” said new SNA President Nancy Rice, M.Ed., RD, LD, SNS, State Director of the Georgia Department of Education, School Nutrition Division.
“Healthy school meals are critical to the well-being and academic success of America’s children,” said Rice. “Too many families are struggling to feed their children during the economic downturn, while others are struggling to adopt healthy lifestyles. Congress simply cannot afford to wait until next year to provide school nutrition programs with the necessary resources to reach more children in need and offer additional servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products in school cafeterias.”
Nancy Rice Named 2010-2011 President of the School Nutrition Association
Dallas, TX (July 14, 2010) — During the closing session of the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 64th Annual National Conference, over 5,000 members and participants welcomed a new president of the Association. Nancy Rice, M.Ed., RD, LD, SNS, State Director of the Georgia Department of Education, School Nutrition Division, was named the 63rd president of SNA.
Rice has held a distinguished career in the school nutrition arena for 25 years. In 2008, Rice accepted her position as State Director, School Nutrition Division at Georgia’s State Department of Education, where she oversees child nutrition programs throughout the state, serving approximately 1,188,000 lunches and 516,000 breakfasts daily.
Prior to joining the Department, Rice successfully managed three school nutrition programs, working as Nutrition Services Director for the Clayton County Board of Education (2006–2008), the Griffin-Spalding County Board of Education (1996–2006), and the Pike County Board of Education (1993–1996). Nancy Rice has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgia State University (2001-2009), teaching classes in Nutrition Services and Food Service Management.
Rice has earned numerous awards throughout her career, most notably receiving the Dr. Josephine Martin Award of Excellence in 2000, the highest honor from the Georgia School Nutrition Association. Rice, a Registered Dietitian who launched her career in the field of clinical dietetics, has also received awards from the Georgia Dietetic Association.
Nancy Rice earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Institution Management and her Master of Education in Nutrition and Food Service Management from the University of Georgia.
Rice was named president at the final session of SNA’s Annual National Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Annual National Conference, July 11-July 14, 2010, featured over 5,000 school nutrition professionals and school foodservice industry members participating in more than 80 education sessions. Guest speakers included Food Network star and best-selling author Ellie Krieger.
Fairfax County Public Schools Named District of the Year
School Nutrition Association Recognizes FCPS Food and Nutrition Services as the Outstanding School Nutrition Program for 2010
DALLAS, TX (July 13, 2010) – Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) was named the 2010 District of the Year in School Nutrition today during the 2nd General Session of the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference. On behalf of the school district, Food and Nutrition Services Director, Penny McConnell, RD, SNS, accepted the award of $25,000 to further improve and enhance the district’s school nutrition program operations.
FCPS’s Food and Nutrition Services department was recognized for its commitment to excellence in creating nutritious, appealing meals, implementing innovative nutrition education initiatives, developing a strong professional development program and exercising superior financial management.
As the District of the Year in School Nutrition, FCPS will use the $25,000 award to expand its unique nutrition education programs. For example, the district will develop an animated video, “5 Star Lunch,” for Preschool – grade 6 students to teach them about healthy food choices and how to assemble a well-balanced lunch from the variety of daily lunch options.
As School Nutrition Association members work to meet their commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, FCPS offers a model for schools working to educate children about healthy food choices.
FCPS’s Food and Nutrition Services department partners with teachers, hosting approximately 500 nutrition education sessions a year, and the department reaches the broader community by conducting monthly nutrition education sessions in Head Start classes and at senior citizens centers and participating in approximately 30 district health fairs a year.
The department’s popular “Give Me 5! Colors That Jive” program introduces students to new and unfamiliar fruits and vegetables each month (such as jicama, butternut squash and sweet potato wedges). Items are featured on the menu and in flyers on the serving line, and students enjoy the colorful trivia and activity pages provided to teachers to incorporate into classroom instruction.
“Fairfax Kids Cooking” teaches students about healthy food choices and gives them the opportunity to bring home some basic cooking skills. Parents can also access critical tools for talking with their children about nutritious choices through the department’s online videos and Nutrition Calculator for Healthy Snacks. This year, the district will take its 9-5-2-1-0 Zip Code to Your Health program countywide to help teach students about healthy lifestyles.
These nutrition education lessons culminate in the cafeteria, where nutrition information for entrees is posted right on the serving lines. With some of the strictest competitive food regulations in the country and cafeterias that offer more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, Fairfax County has earned numerous awards for nutrition integrity.
Running the largest child nutrition feeding program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which serves students from over 100 countries, FCPS has been a leader in planning menus that reflect students’ personal, cultural and therapeutic preferences, and as a result, program participation has increased. Hosting monthly student taste tests, including surveys of students’ favorite fruits and vegetables is one FCPS’s recipes for success.
Fairfax County Public Schools was one of eleven districts from across the nation awarded the District of Excellence Distinction this year through SNA’s Keys to Excellence program.
Keys to Excellence, a core component of SNA’s professional development and credentialing programs since 1992, is a national best practice standards tool for school nutrition professionals seeking to assess, benchmark and improve their school food and nutrition operations. School districts may apply for the District of Excellence Distinction by completing a comprehensive application process including a thorough program self-assessment in all four “Key” areas: Administration, Communications and Marketing, Nutrition and Nutrition Education, and Operations. All applications are judged by a formal peer review panel.
Only districts that have earned the District of Excellence Distinction are permitted to apply for the prestigious $25,000 District of the Year Award. FCPS is the third recipient of the 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 www.schoolnutrition.org/KEYS.
School Nutrition Professionals Preview New Food Products and Equipment
ANC 2010 exhibit floor to feature healthy trends in school meals
DALLAS (July 12, 2010)- The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is helping thousands of school nutrition professionals plan ahead to greet students with healthy meals this fall when they return to the classroom.
More than 5,000 school nutrition professionals from around the country will visit the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit floor today at the Dallas Convention Center during the 64th Annual National Conference (ANC). Over 340 companies will showcase healthy, energy efficient and kid-friendly improvements in school nutrition at 760 exhibit booths.
With school nutrition professionals working hard to meet the goals of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, exhibitors are stepping up to the challenge with new, healthier, kid-friendly products. Among the items school nutrition professionals will sample and may serve in schools this year:
• Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh, ready-to-eat, single-serve, prepackaged cut fruits and vegetables including sliced carrots, citrus fruits, berries, US-grown dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. • Beverages – Low sugar, low calorie flavored and plain milk in 1% and fat free varieties; soy beverages, made with organic soybeans; 100% juice and flavored waters.• Dairy – Low-fat and shredded cheeses, yogurt, cottage cheese • Whole grain and multigrain products – Pasta, noodles, tortillas, cereals, breads and pizza crust. • Nutrient-rich spreads and dips – Hummus, sour cream, dips, creams, butter • Lean protein – Genuine Alaska pollock; whole muscle pork, beef, and turkey products; egg-based entrees and lean deli meats. • 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; breaded whole-grain chicken products; high quality, calcium-rich ice cream. • Peanut-free alternatives – A variety of spreads including soy nut butter and sunflower seed butter. • Energy efficient equipment - Combi ovens, serving counters, self-service salad bars, milk merchandisers, convection ovens, heated cabinets and point-of-sale systems.
Attendees will also be visiting popular dedicated aisles including “Dairy Way”, “Produce Row”, and “USDA Lane”. New this year is the “Green Aisle” which will allow attendees to discover new products that are making school nutrition programs more eco-friendly.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
Three School Nutrition Professionals Recognized for Extraordinary Achievements
DALLAS, TX (July 11, 2010) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 64th Annual National Conference, in Dallas, Texas. In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition on Sunday, July, 11, 2010 for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.
The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Cheryl Dixon, Manager at the Horace Mitchell Primary School in Kittery Point, Maine. Dixon was honored for her work teaching good nutrition and promoting lifelong healthy eating habits among the students at her school. She created a program that combined the elements of two existing nutrition education programs in her school: The 5-2-1-0 Program, which teaches students to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, watch less TV, exercise more and eliminate sugary beverages, and the Farm to School Initiative, which provides schools with farm fresh foods. Dixon then added a third component to the program to teach students about composting and recycling. To execute the program, Dixon enlisted the help of several school administrators, including the school’s principal and district’s superintendent to model and teach healthy nutrition habits. At the end of the school year, students showed a dramatic increase in their knowledge of good nutrition. Dixon’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching students about healthy eating is evident in her work.
The 2010 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Mary Kate Harrison, General Manager, Student Nutrition Services for the Hillsborough County School District in Florida. As SNA member for 21 years, Harrison has had a prolific career. When she first came to Hillsborough County, the district had lost $2.2 million during the previous school year. In just four years, Harrison turned around the program with the department showing a profit of $3.4 million dollars. She put profits back into the school meal program by increasing the offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, offering more nutritious a la carte items, improving procurement, and reallocating labor to save costs. Harrison also demands professional excellence from her staff, demonstrated by the in-house training program she created. Harrison is dedicated to ensuring that all children receive nutritious, healthy meals each day. For the past 10 years, Harrison has provided universally free school breakfasts to all students in her school district, regardless of family income. To further increase student participation in the school meal programs, Harrison eliminated the reduced price category for school lunch five years ago. A long time SNA member, Harrison has served as the president of the Florida School Nutrition Association, SNA Secretary-Treasurer and chair of SNA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee.
This year’s Heart of the Program Award goes to Sandi Hansen, Food Service Associate at Northview Elementary School in Eagan, Minnesota. Hansen is described by her district’s food service director as a “take charge, can do, bubbly, lively” employee. She works hard to engage the 500 students in her school and educate them about good nutrition. She knows the name of each student and gets them involved in the school cafeteria. She works closely with her school’s student council, allowing them to serve breakfast and lunch to their fellow students. Hansen has an active role on the district school nutrition department’s Promotions Committee. She has developed wildly successful promotions for National School Lunch Week and National School Breakfast Week that significantly increased participation in the school meals programs. Hansen is committed to teaching students about healthy lifestyles. Each year, she dedicates a month to reducing the amount of wasted milk in the school. She works with the students to calculate the amount of milk thrown out and the amount of money wasted. By the end of the month, the students drink more milk. Through her creativity and her dedication to her job, Hansen truly is the heart of the program.
SNA Calls for Quick Passage of HR 5504
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (July 1, 2010) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) commended the House Education and Labor Committee for holding today’s hearing on H.R.5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act, and called on Congress to pass this critical legislation before Congress departs for August recess.
“Today’s witnesses are testament to the importance of nutritious school meals to the health and success of America’s future generations. Doctors, military leaders, dietitians, experts in food security, even America’s top chefs are all joining school nutrition professionals in calling on Congress to pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization,” said School Nutrition Association President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services for Dallas ISD (Tex.).
“With very few days left on the Congressional calendar, our leaders cannot afford to go on their summer vacation without first completing their assignment to meet the nutritional needs of students who will be returning to lunch lines this fall. School nutrition professionals are working hard to meet the goals of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and the Institute of Medicine’s recommended nutrition standards for school meals, but to succeed, these under-funded programs must receive the additional resources promised in H.R. 5504,” said Rivas. Rivas testified before the House Education and Labor Committee regarding school nutrition issues in March.
The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 includes many critical improvements to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which SNA has advocated for, including:
For additional information SNA’s legislative priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010, please see SNA's 2010 Legislative Issue Paper.
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 53,000 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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