USDA Nutrition Standards
Assess and implement newly required USDA Standards due to the program Reauthorization - 4 of 10 years
Each year we ensure that all schools are in compliance with United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrition standards. In recent years, the nutrition standard requirements have extended beyond menu planning to include creating culture of wellness at the school sites. This wellness culture begins with the implementation of a strong Healthy School Team. While there are some federal and state requirements that were mandatory, each Healthy School Team had a tremendous amount of autonomy. Again this year, we encouraged our schools to develop a diverse team to create a "Wellness Culture" inside each school that aligned with the principal's vision and best served the needs of their students. We recommended that each team invite the following members to participate on the team to ensure all health and wellness perspectives were incorporated:
Wellness Designee (Assistant Principal)
Wellness Champion (Staff Wellness)
Physical Education Teacher
School Food Service Manager
Initial communication regarding Healthy School Teams was sent out in a bulletin requesting all schools to report their team members. Once all schools reported their team members, newsletters were utilized to communicate important update information. In addition, our Department created a webpage to provide dedicated resources to assist schools in establishing successful Healthy School Teams.
Mandatory Responsibilities of the Healthy School Team:
- Confirm that School is in alignment with the:
- Monitor Food Fundraisers and Report Exemptions outside the Allowable Parameter
- Complete and Submit an Annual Assessment
Healthy School Teams were encouraged to infuse the three "Pillars of Wellness" inside their school -- Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Emotional Well-Being.
Resources were provided to each Healthy School Team which included:
This year a decision was made to combine the annual wellness survey and the newly required Healthy School Team assessment. In order to communicate out the requirements and expectations for this assessment, our Department drafted a bulletin addressed to all principals.
Each year the Department hosts an All Employee Back to School Training. This training was set up to provide our more than 1,300 employees with the same training per area with consistent and relevant messages to prepare them for the start of school. This year the training topics included:
- Professional Development Requirements
- Offer vs. Serve
- General Meal Service Procedures
- Workplace Safety