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Letter from the Professional Standards Task Force Chair Nancy Rice
Nancy Rice
Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 4:11 PM
Joined: 7/31/2008
Posts: 1

 As the School Nutrition Association President-elect and Chair of the Professional Standards Task Force, I thank you for your comments regarding National Professional Standards. SNA has had a long-standing practice of helping school food service personnel improve their knowledge and skills, and the work of the Task Force on Professional Standards is another step in that direction.

Our goal is to do the very best possible job we can in promoting the service of healthful meals to the millions of school children we feed each and every day. I believe I can speak for all of the Task Force members when I say we understand where you are coming from and appreciate all that the food service professionals do to nourish children all across the country. We must persist in improving the quality of the meals served in schools, and to ensure that food safety protocols are a matter of constant attention.

The Task Force, after extensive, thoughtful deliberation, issued recommendations, which the SNA Board of Directors approved on October 15, 2009. If Congress adds Professional Standards to the Reauthorization bill, they will likely task USDA with developing the final standards. As an association, we felt we needed to put something in writing before other very well-intentioned allied organizations did it for us. We thought it important to be proactive, raise the bar, and think and act as the true professionals that we are, in order to be considered "highly qualified". If USDA is tasked with the job of developing the final standards, there will be the customary public comment period. SNA will make the members aware when that time comes and we hope all SNA members will support the recommendations, and if needed or desired, continue to offer suggestions for improvements.

Thank you again for your input and comments. SNA appreciates the continued lively discussion on the Professional Standards Recommendations.

Craig Weidel
Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 7:50 AM
Joined: 7/15/2008
Posts: 1

I would like to thank the 'task force' for their hard work on this very important topic.  I would also like to commend SNA for moving forward on this topic.

I truly believe that if SNA does not do this that someone else will and that in the long run if this happened that our members would not be happy because whomever did, may not have the best interest of our members at heart.

Janice King
Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 3:14 PM
Joined: 7/25/2008
Posts: 1

The School Nutrition Association provides timely and highly relevant training and development for all of its members.  Always take advantage of what is offered.  Sometimes we don't know, what we need to know. As a profession, we need professional standards to meet the ever growing complexity of job responsibilities we have related to feeding children, whether it is in the areas of food and nutrition, HACCP knowledge, financial management, computer skills, personnel management, marketing, and communication, etc.  No member should feel they have learned all that they need (because they have been doing their position for 20 years) to perform their position into the next decade and beyond.  Continual life long learning is required of all professions, and our profession is no different.  As recognition for our time devoted to learning and receiving education, SNA provides certification at 3 levels as well as credentialing.  Along with recognition comes the respect for what you have accomplished, and for the type of skills you have attained it will help you perform at a higher level.

It is of great concern and hope that members embrace the opportunities to learn and to keep educating themselves or they risk the possibilitiy of being outplaced by competition from others more highly trained and qualified.  We are at a crossroads, and at a critical point as a profession and in the evolution of strategies, standards, and guidelines for feeding children in schools.  We moved from the School Food Service Management Association to the School Nutrition Association because we are and need to be about so much more than managing food.   With respect for everyone reading this, all members, at all levels need to understand the realities of the marketplace and take notice and reflect that what we know today will not be enough to retain or responsibly function in our positions 5 - 10 years from now unless we keep improving our skills and adding to our expertise.  Many external driving forces will determine how we will operate the "next generation" of school nutrition programs of which we will have no control.   SNA is taking the lead and is responsibly presenting a draft for national professional standards reflecting the best interests of its members. 

Will it be difficult to change, grow and learn? Without a doubt, yes.               Thank you.

Darrel Davis
Posted: Monday, November 9, 1:40 PM
Joined: 10/28/2008
Posts: 7

I believe and continue to believe that our Local SA should be doing this training and not SNA!  I think the training opportunities they offer are sufficent and have provided me and my staff with the education to run a sucessful operation.  WE do cover everything yo mentioned and more!  Leave it to the state level and it does get done, make it federal and we won't have any control.

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