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Child Nutrition Staff Strives for "Smarter Lunchrooms"

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August-2014 (HCS) – “Smarter Lunchrooms” – that was the main focus this year of Hoover City Schools’ Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Professional Development Day.  Held in August at Spain Park High School, the annual event brings together more than 100 lunchroom workers from across the Hoover school system for professional development, training and awards.

CNP Director Mrs. Melinda Bonner and her staff crafted and conducted the training.

“The training session consisted of a 2-hour training module from the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (www.smarterluchrooms.org)  A ‘smarter lunchroom’ is one that nudges kids towards nutritious foods.  More than 30 million children are fed by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).   The Smarter Lunchroom applies research-based principles that lead children to make healthy choices when provided with the full spectrum of choice,” Bonner said.

Bonner says in an effort to reach out and provide resources to schools across the nation, the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement has assembled a set of “Best Practices” which are effective at creating an environment that nudges kids toward healthful choices. These Best Practices are solution-based principles which focus on specific aspects of the school meal.

As part of this training day, lunch and breakfast were served, showcasing some potential new food items for Hoover lunchrooms this school year.  The employees also had training on safety/security, including a look at the CNP Code of Conduct Handbook.  Rounding out the day, CNP workers were treated to a showing of the video, “Kid President:  20 Things We Should Say More Often.”

During this professional development day, Bonner recognized ten CNP members who had perfect attendance last school year. 

"At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, I challenged all of the HCS CNP employees to give their best to the service of the students and their co-workers by striving for perfect attendance to their job positions," Bonner said.  "Of the 134 CNP employees working in the CNP, ten received the perfect attendance award.  There was also an award for the seven employees that only took their two allotted personal days as well."

The honorees included: Pat Wright (Shades Mountain Elementary), Butch Butler (Hoover High School), Cynthia Butler (Hoover High School), Fred Harvey, (Hoover High School), Fannie Daniels (Hoover High School), Indu Patel, (Hoover High School), Janice Mims, (Trace Crossings Elementary), Cathy Watts, (Deer Valley Elementary), Jayshree Gandhaklawa, (Spain Park High School) and Liz Whidden, (Riverchase Elementary) all were recognized for not missing work during the 2013-14 school year. 

"These employees reported to work for 186 days of the school year.  When one employee is absent, it puts a constraint on the ability to perform and provide the full service and presentation in the Cafeteria. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments and dedication to the service of nutritious meals to the students, faculty and staff of Hoover City Schools," Bonner said.

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