June 6-10 & June 13-17, 1994. First Orientation to Child Nutrition Management – Managing for Healthy Food Practices Delivered

The first Orientation to Child Nutrition Management seminar was a 2-week course offered in connection with the Department of Home Economics, The University of Mississippi, on June 6-10 and June 13-17, 1994. The Institute identified competencies needed by food service directors and training needs. In cooperation with the University of Mississippi, the Institute sponsored the summer course for new and aspiring directors.
The purpose of this course was to provide new and aspiring child nutrition program directors basic information essential to the operation of quality child nutrition programs that teach healthy food practices. It was “A two week summer course for 3 semester hours credit.” The course used UM professors, food service directors, and Institute staff to deliver instruction along with case studies, computer technology, and hands-on experiences for the “new” director.

Image 1: Dr. Josephine Martin, Executive Director of the Institute, and Dr. Jeanette Phillips, Associate Executive Director, presenting in the first Orientation to School Nutrition Management conducted at the University of Mississippi in June 1994.

Image 2 – Dr. Phillips and Dr. Martin presenting in the first Orientation seminar conducted in June 1994.

Image 3 – Carolyn Hopkins, Associate Director of Education and Training, presenting in the first Orientation seminar conducted at the University of Mississippi in June 1994.

Image 4 – Participant receiving certificate from Dr. Martin at the conclusion of the 1994 session of Orientation to School Nutrition Management.

The course began with an overview of Child Nutrition Programs presented by Dr. Josephine Martin, executive director of the Institute, that included discussion of the history, philosophy, and mission of Child Nutrition Programs; the role and responsibilities of a Director; management of a customer-based program for healthy food practices and nutrition integrity; the relationship between local policies, state, and federal regulations; and program organization. Other topics were menus and menu planning, personnel management, procurement, production and service, marketing, financial management, facilities and equipment, and computer applications.
“A look around the U.S. causes child nutrition directors to recognize an immediate need for action to begin a professional preparation program for child nutrition directors. The shortage of professionals needed to manage programs reflects a near crisis in child nutrition management,” Dr. Martin wrote in NFSMI Update, First Quarter 1994.
The University of Mississippi had been conducting two-week training sessions for school lunch professionals as early as the 1940s. The School Food Service News July-August 1949 issue reported on summer workshops held around the country including a two-week workshop for 180 managers held by the University of Mississippi that provided classes in Nutrition, Management, and Your State Program. Dr. Phillips had also led similar seminars as part of the Mississippi NET program. The new Orientation program was built on that strong foundation.
The Institute conducted a two-week course for thirteen of the school nutrition staff of the New Mexico Department of Student Nutrition Programs, the New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico School Food Authorities, and the USDA Southwest Regional Office entitled, Child Nutrition Management on February 8-21, 1997. Attendees participated in interactive discussions, culinary skills practice, and computer-assisted nutrient analysis activities designed to enhance their knowledge and skills of the various components of implementing the nutrition principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in school nutrition programs in New Mexico. This lead to other orientation sessions supported by other state agencies.

Image 6_ May 21-25, 2007. Orientation to Child Nutrition Management. Texas Region 1 Education Service Center, Edinburg, Texas. Edna Ramon, Charolett Bell, Imelda Palacios, Larry Cantu, and Aida Guerra

Image 7_ May 21-25, 2007. Orientation to Child Nutrition Management. Texas Region 1 Education Service Center, Edinburg, Texas. Food Preparation Lab.
After the Institute moved into the new building in 2001, Orientation was conducted annually on the University of Mississippi campus, taking advantage of the new training facilities and the lab kitchen. The food production and culinary lab that included presentation skills was a popular segment of the seminar.

Image 8_Trainer Stewart Eidel presenting during the culinary lab portion of OCNM at NFSMI June 2007

Image 9_OCNM participants in the lab kitchen at the Institute June 2007

Image 10_Participants in the lab kitchen June 2008
In its tenth year, Orientation to Child Nutrition Management was held June 17-25, 2003. Enrollment included 17 professionals from Connecticut, England, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. The faculty was composed of NFSMI staff, expert practitioners, consultants, and USDA staff. Over the first ten years, professionals from 36 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and Washington, D.C. participated in this seminar.
That year, Orientation to Child Nutrition Management Seminar was compacted into a five-day seminar and was offered in other locations than the Institute. In spring 2004 the course was approved as a dedicated course offering three hours of undergraduate credit as FCS 469. Twenty-eight professionals from twelve states attended the June 21-25, 2004, seminar in Oxford. Thirteen participants enrolled for three semester hours of undergraduate college credit. The Institute presented the seminar in two other USDA regions: Indianapolis, Indiana (Midwest Region) in July and Baton Rouge, LA (Southwest Region) in September 2004. This year online components were included for the first time.

Image 12_ August 13-17, 2012. Orientation to School Nutrition Management. Desoto Center, Desoto, MS. In 2012, the name of the seminar was changed to Orientation to School Nutrition Management to reflect the focus on child nutrition programs operating in schools.
The year 2018 marked the 25th year of the Orientation to School Nutrition Management (OSNM) seminar. Through a number of revisions, the seminar is now a 30.5-hour training for new and aspiring directors of child nutrition programs that provided competency-based information and essential components for the operation of cost-effective, customer-oriented school nutrition programs. This signature 5-day seminar is still available for three undergraduate or graduate credits in partnership with the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at The University of Mississippi. In 2018, ICN provided 17 sessions in Georgia, Indiana, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and the US Territory of Guam, reaching 448 participants. As of 2018, 2,590 professionals from all 50 states, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, England, Guam, Japan, Puerto Rico, and District of Columbia participated in this seminar.

Image 19_The new Orientation to School Nutrition Management seminar pilot co-led by Beth Rice and Cynthia Ruffin. July 22-26, 2019, at ICN
The Institute piloted an updated version of Orientation to School Nutrition Management on July 22-26, 2019, at ICN. The new materials cover program accountability, integrity, and the role of the director; USDA Foods and USDA Regulations; Reimbursable School Meals; special dietary needs; Food Production and Operations Management; Customer Service, Merchandising, and Food Presentation; Marketing; Key Performance Indicators; Farm to School; Food Safety and Work Place Safety; and Emergency Preparedness. Fourteen participates from Arkansas, Alabama, Nevada, Washington, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi, Florida, New York, and Tennessee were in attendance. The session was co-led by ICN consultant trainers Beth Rice, PhD, RD, LD, SNS, and Cynthia Ruffin, MBA.
Once all revisions are made, the new name of the program will be Introduction to School Nutrition Leadership.