Through the School TABLE (Team Adirondack Breakfast and Lunch Educators, the mission is "to promote healthy eating patterns in our youth through education and the provision of nutritious meals in our "cafeteria classrooms". Objectives are established annually for the academic year.
Objectives for 2005-2006 school year are:
Facilitate the development of nutrition and physical activity policies in two additional school districts by June, 2006;
Sponsorship of a "School Food is Good News Food Fair" incorporating physical activity options to introduce area students to healthier food options available through local vendors and activity options available locally in October, 2006;
Sponsor a guest speaker for a cardiovascular health workshop at a local superintendent`s networking day for faculty, staff and administrators to discuss the school`s role in chronic disease prevention in October, 2005; and
Develop, distribute and present sports nutrition information to area athletic directors and coaches at the Regional Athletic Director`s meeting in October, 2005.
The incidences of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity in Clinton County is followed through local and state generated statistics. A MAPP process assessment has also been completed for the community to examine public health issues of concern. Prevention of these chronic diseases is preferable to late stage treatment. Limited resources for prevention activities make it necessary to engage large segments of the population at a younger age, which logically lends to the school environment. Solidifying the school nutrition managers as a cohesive group working towards common goals was a method to help implement internal changes in the school environment to address these concerns in a cost effective manner.
Through this collaborative relationship, public health has been able to work with the majority of the schools represented in the county to implement programs and practices that may not have been initiated. Funding from a variety of sources has been obtained and a number of initiatives have been launched to create healthier school environments, educate the school community, and set the stage for lowered incidences of chronic disease through behavior changes. Some of these initiatives as a result of this practice that have been accomplished include: lowfat milk vending machines placed in schools, menu analysis of school meals, nutrition and physical activity curriculum adaptation, creation of dairy and breakfast carts for lowfat, portable healthy snacks, pedometer based waling program implementation, development of nutrient guidelines for snack and ala carte foods, among others.
Agency Community RolesThe local public health agency initiated this collaborative effort and sustains it through routine ongoing meetings, minutes, assistance with goals and follow through. The nutrition unit director serves as the contact for this group effort. Public health can bring new ideas for initiatives based on known issues found within the community assessments and from best practices found throughout the country. The Health Department may also facilitate application of funding sources to initiate projects of interest to the school and community. Stakeholders and partners consisting of local school nutrition managers provide input, develop goals, and network within their school to gain support and create opportunities for action within their school.
The public health agency attempts to provide opportunity for inclusion for all schools. Meeting minutes, newsletters, and educational efforts are continually sent to all schools in the area. Educational workshops which may include other disciplines highlight sponsorship by the TABLE group to help support good will and working relationships in the schools. Current wellness policy collaborations have been positive due to the pre-existing working relationship that was developed as the result of their group.
ImplementationGoals are developed each year for the coming academic calendar year, and are generally completed by the end of that year. Development of the goals, and the associated tasks, may be influenced by funding availability for that year. In the present academic year, the goals are:
Facilitation of development of nutrition and activity policy in two additional district schools. Tasks involved:
Creation of policy guide notebook which can be used to guide schools through process of policy changes;
Input from other districts that have adopted policies to lend assistance to other schools;
Provision of a training for all districts interested in implementing policies; and
Facilitation of the group process within each school district to help conduct assessments and formulate policies.
Sponsorship of a "School Food is Good News Foodfair" incorporating Physical activity options at an area school. Tasks involved:
Arrangement of school facility to host event from partner schools;
Application for additional funding stream from local insurance company;
Contacting all school based vendors to display at event;
Partnering with local hospital to provide physical activity options and education at event; and
Scheduled taskforce/workgroup meetings to plan event, including student survey sheets, incentive prizes, and vendor nutrient guidelines.
Sponsorship of a wellness workshop at superintendant`s day training to discuss the school`s role in cardiovascular disease prevention for school faculty, staff and administrators. Tasks involved:
Partner with hospital for additional funding for event;
Contract with a cardiologist (MD) specializing in school based prevention to be the keynote speaker;
Partner with local multi county educational service to arrange time for workshop billing and hosting of event; and
Create learning objectives, evaluations, handouts, registration, and other workshop details through committee of partners.
Development and distribution, and presentation of sports nutrition education materials to athletic directors and coaches. Tasks involved:
Arrange for presentation through school based regional athletic director`s meeting;
Research and create copy ready nutrition education materials for a variety of sports; and
Prepare folders, CD`s and presentation for the group.
Goal: To develop a network of partners in the school and community poised to initiate nutrition, activity and wellness programs in the school setting through collaboration within the School TABLE.
Objective: To facilitate the development of nutrition and physical activity policies in two additional school districts by June 2006:
Performance measures: Two school districts have initiated committees, have met regularly, completed assessments, and will have completed policies by June approved by local school boards.
Data collection: Meetings held nutrition coordinator collected collected through meeting minutes and recorded.
Outcomes (short-term): Data kept by local health dept and shared with school committees, and other schools not currently involved in process Lessons learned involved mechanisms of committee facilitation and process of school nutrition and health assessments. Process was adapted and created into a guide that was made available to all schools in the area.
Objective: Sponsor a guest speaker and a workshop at a school superintendent's:
Performance measures: 120 attended a 2 part workshop at a superintendents day in October 2005.
Data collection: Attendance, names, position and numbers and evaluations workshops. Collected by hospital, schools and public health Collected via sign in registrations and written evaluations.
Outcomes (short-term): Data results summarized and received by all partners( school, hospital health dept); Learned: needed follow up presentation for implementation of suggestions made Follow up modification may be made for next year`s goals.
The School TABLE is enjoying its seventh year of practice, and is clearly sustainable. It is integrated as a part of our Nutrition Unit`s goals and is highly regarded in the school foodservice community. In addition, due to the ongoing relationship and commitment, initiation of school wellness policies was adapted prior to the current regulation requiring such action. Goals and objectives are developed in part, depending on additional grant based funding. However, even when no grant funds are available, practices can be put into place with existing resources.