Each month, our staff reads hundreds of media reports on the subject of school nutrition. We curate our favorites in a monthly blog post we call, “In the News.” Highlighting positive stories about the great things going on in school cafeterias helps us in many ways: providing inspiration, connecting school nutrition professionals from across the country, and promoting those programs and individuals who are taking the extra step to make their school nutrition program the very best it can be.
National Dairy Month
June was National Dairy Month, and we could not have enjoyed it more! Delicious, nutritious milk is a favorite, even among SNF staffers!
One of the biggest dairy-related stories to break this month was the announcement that as part of their commitment to increase the availability of healthy, American-made food products in schools, the USDA is expanding its pilot program for Greek-style yogurt for the National School Lunch Program in SY 2014-15. Last year schools in Arizona, Idaho, New York, and Tennessee were able to order any quantity of Greek-style yogurt from September to November 2013, within the balance of their USDA Foods entitlement, and the response was so successful that eight new states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont, and Washington—will have access to pilot purchasing of Greek-style yogurt for the 2014-15 school year.
Media Events: Good PR for School Breakfast
Good PR is essential for any successful school nutrition program, and can be particularly effective when implementing—or expanding—a school breakfast program. Inviting a public figure is an excellent way to bring attention to a kick-off party, or the new school year. Earlier this month in New Jersey, Congressman Frank Pallone stopped in to observe ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ at New Brunswick Middle School. Not only do these opportunities provide good press for your school and/or district, it helps elected officials to better understand the school nutrition landscape.
Another breakfast event that caught our eye was this ‘Role Model Breakfast’ held at Petway Elementary School in Vineland, New Jersey. Students wrote essays about their role models, who were invited to eat breakfast with the student essayists; one student from each classroom was invited to read their essay aloud. You can see excerpts of some of the speeches online. Although this event wasn’t “for” school breakfast, it’s easy to see how this idea could be adapted for a school breakfast kick-off, or National School Breakfast Week celebration.
Fuel Up to Play 60
There were some terrific Fuel Up to Play 60 stories amongst the June headlines, including this one about Ashley Lekkerkerk, a senior at Filer High School in Idaho. Ashley received a $10,000 scholarship from AXA Equitable Financial Services for her leadership and community involvement, including her role in initiating the Fuel Up to Play 60 club at her school.
Moving on, we head straight to the Fuel Up to Play 60 blog, where the inaugural class of the FUTP60 Hall of Fame was revealed earlier this month! Now in its fifth year, Fuel Up to Play 60 will select a new class of Hall of Fame inductees each spring—a great incentive for student leaders!
At Macdonough Elementary School in Middletown, Connecticut, students recently enjoyed a breakfast tailgate party that brought community leaders, school staff, students, parents, local business owners, and NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 team together—along with a great PR opportunity for the school.
Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
Our Google Alerts have been full of stories about schools across the country opting into the new Community Eligibility Provision. Has your district considered the switch? Check out our three-part webinar series on CEP, which will be posted soon on the updated School Nutrition Association webinar archives page.
Earlier in June we published a guest post by Karen Banks, Program Manager at No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices entitled, “Calculating How to End Hunger in Schools.” Karen wrote about the new, No Kid Hungry School Calculator, designed to help school nutrition professionals calculate the hard data needed to determine whether implementing or expanding a program is financially feasible. It’s a great blog, and a terrific tool—check them out! Find more information online about the USDA Summer Food program.