When 2010 rolled around and new professional standards were set in motion by the HHFKA to ensure that the professionals feeding our nation’s future had a thorough understanding of all facets of their jobs, getting on board meant acknowledging a new priority in child nutrition.
The causational link between well-fed children and high-performing students means acknowledging a new priority which has been under emphasized: ensuring that those feeding our children have a thorough understanding of as many aspects of a child’s nutrition as possible.
Thoroughly educated nutrition professionals in conjunction with passionate teachers, create holistically nurtured children.
As part of the final rule set within the regulation, effective July 1st, 2015, new employees being hired and even current ones had to abide by the required educational components predetermined by the legislation, with few exceptions for those grandfathered into the new requirements.
Standards are based on the title and responsibilities of the employee in their respective program, so long as their particular school or district was participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP), both of which are federally funded and therefore regulated as such.
Luckily, the headache of federal compliance is eased by the USDA’s earmarked 4 million dollars worth of funds to help facilitate this change, alongside all the resources posted for current nutrition state agencies bring themselves and their staff up to the new requirements pending the approval of their grant proposals.
If you’re looking for a breakdown of the new requirements, they can be found on the USDA website, though I’m sure most of our readers have already become familiarized with them, especially post-implementation.
However, even if the initial change in regulation has already been something most nutrition programs have acclimated to, what continues to be a challenge is an effective tracking method for all employees.
This important check ensures that those managing compliance can accurately track all employees in their state, district, or school system.
Forgetfulness, negligence, or laziness when it comes to tracking the hard work of those within a program means disheartened employees, lessened trust in the leaders of the organization and ultimately, less accountability tracking means opportunities to risk federal funding being stripped from non-compliant programs, and equally as concerning, higher employee dissatisfaction and turn-over.
What are you or your supervisors using to track compliance?
Paper and pen, or an outdated series of excel sheet with poor formatting, maybe google docs, or worse? Paying for a software that claims to cohesively manage all their needs, but is clunky, not intuitive, and fails to comprehensively integrate all levels of state, district, and operations management?
Acknowledging a priority in our programs is different than doing all we can to properly and effectively manage our compliance according to new regulations.
Part of fulfilling a duty to our students means to serve them to the best of our ability and with the best we can offer, and it also means ensuring the success of our own career paths and those of our program.
Self-managing and tracking yourself, or giving your employees the tools to keep themselves accountable and track their progress is just as important as a district-level or state-level employee doing so.
Creating multiple safety-nets which can catch anyone left by the wayside, expiring certifications, or missing requirements must be a full-fledged effort that doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of one head honcho.
Personal accountability with professional oversight will always be the best mode of operations for any organization, including your own.
For more details about how to meet professional standards, how to best manage requirements, and keep your program and employees on a path to federal compliance, join us on our next blog post.
For more solutions to your concerns and to ease the process of tracking your state or district, check out Team Work.
Don’t forget to comment below any questions or anecdotes you have for our readers about how the updated professional standards impacted your program, yourself, or even just your opinion on them!