Superintendent’s Memo #109-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 27, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week, May 7-11, 2012

School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week is May 7-11, 2012. Please join the Department of Education (VDOE) in celebrating the professional commitments made every school day by school nutrition employees across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Preparing healthy school meals, promoting good nutrition habits, and offering a friendly greeting are all in a day’s work for our men and women who work in the school cafeterias. Please join VDOE in recognizing the important contributions that school nutrition employees provide to the success of Virginia’s students as they strive to achieve academic excellence and optimal health.

School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state, and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools.  They are trained sanitation and food safety experts, and must manage financially self-sufficient programs.  School nutrition professionals also provide nutrition education to students and use their creativity to make the cafeteria a fun and welcoming place.

This year school nutrition employees take on a new responsibility.  In January, the federal government finalized new nutrition standards for school meals, requiring schools to serve more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  School meals must meet these new requirements starting in the 2012-2013 school year, however, school nutrition professionals have already been working toward these goals by changing the menu, offering a wider variety of menu choices and getting students excited about trying new, healthier meals in the cafeteria.

This week is a great opportunity to recognize the school nutrition staff that makes your program a success.  Let these professionals know you are thinking of them by celebrating School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week.

For more information, please contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division or Catherine Digilio-Grimes, director of school nutrition programs, at (804) 225-2074 or .