Accountability is key to the success of any school nutrition program. Four main types of accountability are important for the school nutrition director to consider. These are financial, nutritional, program access, and school wellness. Previously we discussed the importance of remaining accountable with your finances and with your nutrition data. In this final post we will talk about the last 2 types of accountability: program access and school wellness. If you ignore these two areas then the programs are unlikely to ever succeed.
Type of Accountability 3: Program Access
The importance of program access is high. Program access ensures that the school nutrition program is available to all students. If students cannot use this program they are not reaping the benefits of the healthy and nutritious meals served each day. The school nutrition program is a federal initiative. This serves as a national safety net to ensure the health and well-being of each child in our schools.
To remain accountable, the school nutrition director should make every effort to inform the public and the community of the beneficial program. By doing this, each child has the opportunity to experience the meal benefits. Along with knowing about the meals, it is important that the school nutrition director ensures each student has the opportunity to apply for free and reduced meals. This will help many children, who in the past may not have had the opportunity to enjoy the nutritious offerings.
Type of Accountability 4: School Wellness
The last type of accountability to consider when running a successful school nutrition program is school wellness. It is up to each district to develop and implement a school wellness policy that is supportive of program initiatives. When creating this plan the district must also come up with a way to test its effectiveness. Finally, a plan must be in place to inform the community on the progress of the new wellness policy.
A solid school wellness policy has several requirements it must meet. First, goals must be in place for nutrition education, physical activity, and nutrition promotion. Second, all interested parties must play a role in the wellness program. Also, the public needs to be informed of the content and implementation of this policy. As mentioned before, the district must assess the implementation plan and evaluate the compliance of the wellness program. Finally, several district officials are chosen to ensure that the implementation of the policy is proper. If all this is done correctly than the school nutrition director will have completed their job of remaining accountable for school wellness.
Hopefully after reading these three posts the importance of accountability in your finances, nutrition data, program access, and school wellness have become clear. Following these important concepts will lead to successful school nutrition programs. What have you done to ensure that you remain accountable in your program access or school wellness?