USDA Nutrition Standards
Assess and implement newly required USDA Standards due to the program Reauthorization - 4 of 10 years
Each year it is important to assess and create an action plan to ensure implementation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutrition standards. This year our Department focused our efforts on assisting schools with implementing the new Healthy School Team (HST) requirements. Throughout the process we transitioned a staff member to allocate the resources necessary to provide schools with a dedicated school-based wellness contact. Communication regarding Healthy School Teams was dispersed in various methods. Initially a bulletin was drafted and sent out on August 27, 2015 notifying the principals that they needed to establish a Healthy School Team. 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.
During the year, a presentation was given to elementary school principals with regard to the Smart Snacks in School guidelines. Details regarding these guidelines had been communicated via a bulletin the prior school year and language was included in the School Food Service Management Policy 6.185. In an effort to ensure compliance with the Smart Snacks in School guidelines as it related to vending machines, another bulletin was sent out on November 4, 2015. The Nutrition Services Team developed an assessment tool to evaluate the vending machines at all middle and high schools for compliance. While visiting school sites, team members began evaluating the products in vending machines that were accessible to students. A full assessment of each school was not able to be completed. The goal will be to have all middle and high school vending machines surveyed during the next school year. Lastly, the team assisted in the revision of the District’s Vending Services Bid.
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 is 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
The Department also ensured that Charter Schools were included in the communication regarding Smart Snacks in Schools and Healthy School Teams. We presented at their annual year start up meeting and language was infused into the annual Agreement. The new agreement was approved by the Board during the December 16, 2015 School Board meeting.
Lastly, the Department had various representatives attend conferences, seminars, workshops, and webinars to gain the knowledge to implement these standards effectively.
- FY15 Industry Seminar which included round table discussions with various Florida counties
- Attended Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) director's meeting
- Attended both the Florida and National School Nutrition Association’s legislative conferences to provide insight on proposed program changes
- Reviewed House and Senate bills regarding reauthorization and provided input on the revisions
- Reviewed and will implement new CACFP nutrition standards for the Supper program