School Nutrition in the News: August 2014

chalkboard and newspaperIn case you missed it, we are #BackToSchool around the country! We have truly enjoyed watching school nutrition professionals share their back-to-school rituals and celebrations on Facebook these last few weeks. Some of the photos are pretty amazing, so we have to guess that some of you are taking Dayle Hayes’ advice on how to take great photos of school lunch!

We here at SNF are wishing all of you a safe, happy, and nutritious school year!

High Tech Innovations

As we mentioned, we love connecting with school nutrition programs around the country via social media like Facebook and Twitter. We’ve also noticed an increase in schools that are beginning to utilize mobile apps. Whether developing their own school or district-wide app, or using technology from companies like Nutrislice like Chesterfield County Public Schools, the practice is becoming popular with everyone—students, parents, administrators, and school staff. In the case of the Nutrislice app, school nutrition programs can eliminate printed menus as well as give menu information in both English and Spanish; detailed nutrition information is also available.

Other schools, like Hoover City Schools in Alabama, are developing their own app which will deliver a wide variety of information to parents—including school nutrition information. We chatted about the app (among other things!) with Child Nutrition Program Supervisor Melinda Bonner in our SNF Scholarship Series Spotlight.

Mobile Keeps Moving

Mobile feeding is particularly advantageous during the summer months, but the trend toward using mobile trucks is gaining plenty of traction during the school year as well. In the Traverse City Area Public Schools in Colorado, Food and Nutrition Services Director Tom Freitas is hoping that a school bus makeover will help raise the program’s profile, and deliver food to students at events like football games and school musicals. The estimated $50,000 price tag is being offset with the help of local sponsors—a great way to build community relationships, and improve the school nutrition program!

Breaking in the Year with Breakfast

We thought this idea for a ‘Boo-hoo-Yippee!’ Breakfast—for parents whose children are heading off to school for the first time—was simply adorable. What a fun way to introduce kids to school breakfast on their very first day, and ease the transition for everyone!

Community Commitment

Healthy schools don’t exist in a vacuum—they exist within a greater community. When that community becomes invested in the health of the school, everyone wins! When school nutrition programs make connections with community partners, they strengthen their own program initiatives while increasing stakeholder buy-in all-around. It makes a lot of sense, really—when we share an investment, we work together to make it a successful one! Several stories drove this point home for us in August, including this one about the efforts the California dairy community is making toward supporting the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in the 2014-14 school year. The California Milk Advisory Board that is activating FUTP60 in California represents more than 1500 dairy families—now that’s a community!

One of our favorite things about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is that it was designed to foster community support both within the school, and the greater community. The FUTP60 website is divided into helpful sections for students, educators, and community supporters; there is even a new blog this year, written by and for Fuel Up to Play 60 students. Not a week goes by that we don’t see an article about NFL stars visiting schools in support of the FUTP60 program, and the Fuel Up to Play 60 funding opportunities also double as team-building opportunities for students—often with a community-building component.

What are some of your favorite school nutrition trends and headlines as we move into the new school year? Share them with us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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