Birkenshaw P, Probart C, McDonnell E, Michelman M.
Making the Choice. Presented at American School Food Service Association Annual Conference; Houston, TX, July 1996. This poster won "Nutrition Education and Training" poster award at the American School Food Service Association's conference in Houston, TX, in July 1996.


USDA's School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children requires implementation of the Dietary Guidelines with the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. While school food service facilities have been working toward meeting these guidelines, many people have expressed confusion and concern regarding the details and implications of this requirement. Formative evaluation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania determined the following relating to the impact of the initiative: 1. A need exists for information that is consistent, reliable, and authoritative. 2. Six specific concerns exist: cost, time, limited knowledge of nutrition, limited technical expertise, lack of resources, lack of experience. In response to these identified needs, The Pennsylvania Department of Education, in collaboration with The Pennsylvania State University has designed a two-year educational campaign targeted to school food service directors, administrators, and cafeteria managers to address their concerns and provide information and training necessary to facilitate implementation of the School Meals Initiative. Phase One of the campaign, and the focus of this poster, is a satellite conference, "Conference One: Making the Choice." This conference was designed to enable districts to select one of the menu planning options as required by USDA regulations. The use of satellite technology enables training to be provided in a consistent manner, over a short period of time to a large, geographically dispersed audience. Satellite conferences can also facilitate networking--as smaller, regional groups participate in an informal workshop environment. The model used in the conference involves providing centralized instruction transmitted to downlink sites, interspersed with local, hands-on activities to provide interest, interaction, and skills development. The local, off-satellite portion of the program is conducted by trained facilitators, selected from the target audience. The purpose of this poster is to describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of the satellite conference broadcast to downlink sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Knowledge and attitude changes in conference participants will be presented, as well as recommendations for future educational strategies.