E. McDonnell, MS, RD, LDN, C. Probart, PhD, RD, J.E. Weirich, M Ed, C. Orlofsky, P. Birkenshaw, MA, and V. Fekete, MS, RD, LDN.
Purpose/Objectives – The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of a teleconference for school foodservice (SFS) personnel. Objectives were to determine perceptions of the teleconference and intentions to act based on information presented.
Methods – A one-day satellite teleconference was developed and presented for SFS personnel through Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition, and Penn State University. Teleconference objectives were to provide motivation and information to help SFS personnel initiate or improve participation in school breakfast programs (SBPs). Through pre-taped segments, a variety of creative strategies featuring successful SBPs from throughout the state were featured. Expert panels responded to questions from participants at the 28 downlink sites. Three hundred-fifty SFS employees attended the teleconference. A 56-item pre/post survey was developed and administered.
Results – Two-hundred ninety-one surveys were returned (83% response rate.) Descriptive statistics were done using SPSS® version 11.5.1. Participants’ knowledge of strategies to improve school meals participation increased significantly (p < 0.001) as did their rating of teleconferences as a training method. Participants rated the teleconference “worthwhile” with a score of 7.8 ± 2.1 on a 10 point scale with 10 being “completely worthwhile.” Participants indicated likelihood to implement one or more of the creative strategies presented (7.4 ± 2.1 on a 10-point scale with 10 being “very likely.”) Seventy percent (n = 191) of participants indicated they might try “Grab ‘n Go” breakfast; 41% (n = 112) said they might try Universal free breakfast; 39% (n = 110) indicated they might try “Breakfast in the Classroom.”
Applications – Alternative SBP delivery methods are accepted by SFS personnel when presented in a compelling format using colleagues as role models. An edited video/ DVD of this teleconference is available through PDE, and proceedings are available through the Project PA website: http://nutrition.psu.edu/projectpa.