December 12, 2011
FROM THE PRESIDENT , Kathy Alexander
I would like to start by congratulating our Board and membership for another very successful conference which took place just about one month ago at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT with 160 attendees. We want to thank our Gold Sponsors - New England Dairy Council and the VT Child Nutrition Division of DOE for their very generous support of our programs. We also had support from many businesses who donated local food to reflect the work we strive to accomplish in our school kitchens and other sponsors who share our mission to educate and feed children in Vermont well. In addition we are grateful to the many vendors who came to share their products with us in an effort to help us move towards meeting new guidelines on our tight budgets.
Some conference highlights included our two Keynote speakers Janice King and Christine Wallace who came to VT to share their experience and expertise. Janice gave us some perspective and guidance on leadership in the food service profession as we move towards needing to be stronger advocates and champions of our programs. Christine shared current best practice in cafeteria design and food service to our customers and gave us a lot to think about as we work to encourage students to choose new foods and make healthy choices for themselves. We also benefitted from the expertise of many of our own local heros who are working tirelessly to improve our school food systems.
At the Annual meeting on Saturday afternoon we had the great pleasure of honoring local heros who were won in four categories of our new SNA-VT awards program. It was such a pleasure to be able to highlight the work of these women who have given so much to our work and who continue to advance child nutrition in their schools and set an example for all of us to follow.
This year’s winners were:
Julie Bean, Browns River Middle School –
Greet the Challenge Award for Food Service Directors and Managers
Bunny Ploof, Porters Point School –
Greet the Challenge Award for Supervised Staff
Lynne Keyes, Tinmouth Elementary School
Student’s Choice Award for Excellence in School Food Service
Rosie Pallota, Orleans Elementary School
Hunger Free Vermont School Nutrition Advocacy Award
We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate all of this year’s nominees – you all help us to strive for excellence every day!
Carol Brill – St. Johnsbury School Kelly Lamke, Flood Brook Union School
Lee Clark – Westshire Elementary School Sandi Lussier, Pownam Elementary School
Karyl Kent – Richmond Elementary Scott Wagner, Williston Central School
Kelly Lamke – Flood Brook Union School
We appreciate everyone’s thoughtful feedback about this year’s conference and we are taking all of your comments and suggestions into consideration as we start to plan next year’s conference. There is always room for people to help out on the conference committee so please do not hesitate to contact Abbie Nelson, Conference Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Executive Board Update
Our Executive Board gives huge thanks to our outgoing Vice Presidents Abbie Nelson and Paul Morris for their two years of dedicated service. Abbie will continue on the Board as the Conference Chair for one more year. Her leadership in this area of our work is invaluable and she guides our professional development efforts through this position with expertise and skill.
We welcome Steve Marinelli to the position of Vice President. Steve is the Director of Milton Middle/High School and Elementary School Food Services. We are so pleased to have Steve join our Board. Steve is making a three year commitment to SNA-VT. In 2012 Steve will become President Elect and then President in 2013.
Our new executive Board structure represents our effort to build strong leadership in school nutrition. As we move forward we hope that more of our members will consider getting involved in the leadership opportunities presented by our Executive Board and our committees.
Please see the full listing of Board members in the Board Member scroll down menu.
In the next month committee appointments will be made for our Membership Committee, Conference committee, Professional Development Committee and Legislative Committee. Members will be contacted for service on these committees. If you are interested in serving on a committee this year, please contact Kathy Alexander at email@example.com as soon as possible.
By now you have all read articles or heard about the Congressional vote to block funding of USDA’s new guidelines for school meals. This is certainly a disappointment and a setback for USDA’s work to make significant improvements in school meals. SNA-VT is going to work on a formal response to this action in the next few weeks and it is still unclear exactly what this action by Congress will mean for our programs. We recommend that VT school nutrition programs continue to work towards improving nutrition for students by
The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a great way to work towards these changes and get the entire school community involved in the process of change towards healthy school food systems and healthier students. SNA-VT will continue to help schools achieve these challenges – look for information about workshops and opportunities for training on the HUSSC coming soon.
A good article about the recent Congressional action can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/us/politics/congress-blocks-new-rules-on-school-lunches.html?_r=1
Message from President Elect, Doug Davis
The current news out of DC as it relates to the new Meal Pattern Guidelines is, as Kathy said, disappointing. The goal that the USDA had when creating the language, was to make the meals served in schools begin to meet the IOM standards. One of the ways they wanted to accomplish this was to force schools to use a variety of foods by eliminating the counting of tomato paste on pizza as a vegetable and to reduce the number of times schools could offer white potatoes and corn. Even though they kept saying white potatoes (or starchy vegetables) the consensus is that they were talking about French fries.
I was invited to participate on an SNA Task Force last winter to put together comments to USDA on the proposed meal pattern guidelines, the comments that were submitted are available here, http://www.schoolnutrition.org/uploadedFiles/School_Nutrition/101_News/NewsArchives/SNA_News_Articles/SNAProposedSchoolMealPatternReqsComments.pdf?n=3060
I still believe that the recommendations put forward by SNA remain the best course of action in terms of nutrition for children. My feeling is that industry members leaned heavily on congress members to get the starchy vegetable, tomato paste and sodium language changed in the bill. Vermont is way ahead of the curve in the meals that are being offered as well as the variety of foods that our children get to choose from. We should not see this proposed language change as an excuse to do less for our children, on the contrary, we should continue to be the standard that other states look at as the way school children should be fed.
Message from Vice President, Steve Marinelli
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I would also like to thank our Board and especially the participating members for an outstanding and successful conference held at Lake Morey Resort. The energy that surrounded the conference shows the leadership and focus we have in Vermont to “Greet the Challenge”.
We all understand the difficulties and challenges that lay ahead. With limited budgets, resources and changing mandates from USDA, Vermont continues to be a leader in serving nutritious meals. Many thanks to Doug and his tireless efforts representing Vermont and SNA in their efforts to obtain the best nutritional standards for the children we serve.
As your newly elected Vice President I look forward to representing SNA-VT and our dedicated members. We all have much work to do. During my tenure I will work towards expanding membership, offering more professional development opportunities, and building stronger relationships with our business partners. I look forward to meeting many of our members and working hard to make these priorities work for you.
Steve Marinelli, Director