Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE SNP) has been awarded a Team Nutrition Training Grant in the amount of $498,010. The United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a total of $5.6 million to 11 states.
“If we want to continue to build the new Virginia economy, the first step is making sure we’re providing our students with the tools to find success,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Virginia Department of Education’s selection as one of 11 states to receive this funding from the USDA demonstrates the tremendous progress we have made on this important issue. This grant will help schools across the Commonwealth to get one step closer to our goal of making sure that every child has access to nutritious food.”
The grant will help VDOE and local school nutrition programs provide: 1) appealing and nutritious school meals, 2) nutrition education, and 3) school environments that promote healthy eating. Training will be provided to school nutrition professionals in all eight superintendent regions and will be championed by peer-mentors (Cultivators) and VDOE SNP subject matter experts (Tillers), who will gain leadership skills to support development of a healthy school environment throughout Virginia.
“Our school nutrition programs are a bedrock for student success, in and out of the classroom,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “This grant will support the great work being done in school divisions across Virginia, and continue the progress we’ve made in improving both meal quality and food access to help ensure academic success for all children.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said the grant will allow the department to expand and enhance the training VDOE provides to school nutrition directors, dietitians, cafeteria managers and other school nutrition staff.
“Over the next three years, the grant will support a series of training opportunities covering everything from culinary arts, nutrition and marketing to the practical aspects of increasing the amount of locally grown-and-raised food served to students,” said Dr. Staples. “We will identify best practices in every region of the commonwealth and establish formal networks for sharing these with all school nutrition programs statewide.”