As the school year closes, most people might think this is the “slow” time of year working in schools. But behind-the-scenes, we all know that gearing up for a new school year is exhausting and time-consuming.
While not only trying to updates policies, make sure new staff are on-boarded, classrooms are cleaned and set up, you have to provide professional development for your staff too!
As you may or may not be aware, anyone involved in the school meal program MUST receive training annually to be compliant with USDA regulations for Professional Standards (this includes teachers who serve meals for Breakfast in the Classroom). Here is a helpful link that summarizes the regulation: https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/cn/profstandards_flyer.pdf
The number of annual training hours depends on if employees are part time or full time working in the school meal program.
The easiest way to knock out these training hours is to do them over summer, prior to the start of the school year. USDA has allowed for flexibility in what topics can be covered to best suit the needs of your program. Here are some topics to help you get started!
Civil Rights (all staff required to be trained on this topic annually)
Offer vs. Serve
Free/Reduced-Price Meal Benefits
Meal Claiming Requirements
Menu Production Records
Oftentimes, training on these topics can become boring, especially if information is repeated each year. So it can become a monumental task overcoming the challenge of providing an engaging and informative training session. Here are some tips to providing a more lively training:
Get staff input on what topics they would like to be trained on. Allowing staff involved in the meal program to fill out a survey on topics they would like to hear about can help keep attendees more engaged.
Find ways to incorporate games or team building activities into your day. Jeopardy to test staff knowledge or the marshmallow challenge for team building are great ways to break up the monotony of sitting at a training for many hours.
Be organized. Having an agenda for you (as the trainer) and for staff to refer to throughout the day can help everyone stay on track. When the attendees know what to expect they may be more likely to pay attention.
Allow for questions throughout the day. This way, staff can fully understand the topics they are being trained on and do not leave with lingering questions. It may be helpful to have someone type up a FAQ after the training so staff have the answers to their questions in writing to refer to later.
As a client of School Food and Wellness Group, we can help you meet your Professional Standards training hours each year. We offer flexible training options, such as in-person training, self-paced webinar training or group webinar training sessions. Contact us today with any questions!