C. Probart, PhD, RD, LD; E. McDonnell, MS, RD; P. Birkenshaw, MA. Penn State University, Nutrition Department, University Park, PA 16802 and Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333.
A decentralized model was developed for training School Food Service (SFS) personnel in Pennsylvania, based on a series of needs assessments.


SFS personnel in 3839 schools in Pennsylvania serve lunch to more than 905,000 children daily. Training for SFS personnel was precipated in 1995 by passage of the School Meals Initiative requiring school meals to meet the Dietary Guidelines and Nutrient Standards. Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Penn State University, and SFS personnel, was formed as a response to this need. Project PA has initiated a variety of training methods. Two statewide satellite teleconferences have reached over 1500 SFS employees; local workshops have trained more than 3000; three videos have been distributed to all 875 sponsors of the NSLP in Pennsylvania. An integral component of the model is the "grass-roots" involvement of the target audience with the recruitment of SFS directors to serve on a project advisory board and as trainers for their colleagues in local areas. The SFS audience has also been involved in a series of needs assessments that have shaped the project's educational efforts. Formative evaluation of each component of the program has been conducted. Survey forms that have been developed to assess changes in knowledge and attitudes will be displayed. This project was administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition, with funds provided by the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service.