As a former school nutrition director, I can tell you that school nutrition professionals are dedicated to serving nutritious meals to their students and committed to making the new meal patterns work. Established by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the new standards require schools to prepare healthier meals for the nearly 31 million children who rely on them each and every school day. At USDA, we understand school nutrition professionals are on the front lines every day as we all work together to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in our nation’s children….and we’re glad we have them in our corner!
In March, USDA announced the final rule to establish national professional standards and training requirements for school nutrition personnel who manage and operate our meal programs. The rule establishes education and training standards to ensure personnel have the training and tools to plan, prepare, and purchase healthy foods. These strategies will support our hardworking school nutrition professionals as they create nutritious, safe and enjoyable school meals for our kids.
We aim to help equip school nutrition professionals with the tools they need to enhance their professional development. That’s why we’re so excited to offer them this new professional standards tracking tool. The downloadable resource will assist school nutrition staff with tracking and monitoring all of the training needed to adhere to the new professional standards. The tool offers several types of reports that can be printed out and used to show that individuals and groups are meeting the qualifications during state reviews.
As our nation continues to tackle childhood obesity, we commend our schools for being an important part of the solution and for making so much progress in providing healthier options for their students. Many of our children and teens consume up to half their daily calories from meals they receive while in school each day. By enhancing school nutrition careers, we provide caring professionals the knowledge and know-how to ensure our children are healthy, engaged and productive learners.
USDA is committed to working closely with school nutrition directors, managers and staff to meet the professional standards. We will continue collaborating with partners to identify free and low-cost training at locations that are convenient and easily accessible or available online. To find training near you visit: http://professionalstandards.nal.usda.gov
Click here to find the link to download the Professional Standards Tracking Tool: http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/professional-standards