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Professional Standards for SNP Personnel

Includes information, regulations, and resources for School Nutrition Program (SNP) personnel to implement the professional standards.

Overview

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established minimum professional standards for school nutrition professionals who manage and operate the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. These standards address Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The standards will ensure that school nutrition personnel have the knowledge, training, and tools they need to plan, prepare, and purchase healthy products to create nutritious, safe, and enjoyable school meals. The professional standards, effective July 1, 2015, include:

  • Minimum hiring standards for new school food authority (SFA) directors based on a school district’s size
  • Minimum hiring standards for new state directors of SNPs and state directors of food distributing agencies
  • Minimum annual training for all new and current school nutrition professionals

The Profesional Standards in the SNPs Management Bulletin SNP-17-2016 provides comprehensive information about the requirements of the professional standards and policies and procedures for implementing the professional standards in California. 

To review or download the final rule, please visit the Federal Register Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

Professional Standards Resources

The following resources provide information to help with understanding and implementing the professional standards in California.

USDA

USDA Professional Standards Training Tracking Tool External link opens in new window or tab.
Access the Professional Standards Tracking Tool, developed by the USDA for SFA to track training attendance and completion. Use of this tool is optional.

USDA Professional Standards for School Nutrition Professionals External link opens in new window or tab.
Find the following resources regarding the USDA Professional Standards on the Professional Standards Information tab.

  • Summary of Professional Standards Flyer
  • Professional Standards for SNP Employees brochure
  • Guide to Professional Standards for SNPs
  • Professional Standards Learning Objectives and Topics with Codes
  • Professional Standards Final Rule Webinar for State Agencies
  • Job Description Template for Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Director (developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition [ICN])

USDA School Meals Professional Standards Web page External link opens in new window or tab.
Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for help with implementing the professional standards.

California Department of Education

California Professional Standards by Position
Refer to this reference chart to learn about California specific professional standards requirements for SNP directors, managers, and staff.

Questions and Answers on Professional Standards
Refer to questions and answers regarding implementation of the professional standards. This is a supplement to the FAQs that the USDA provides on the USDA School Meals Professional Standards Web Page External link opens in new window or tab..

Training Resources

Key sources of free or low-cost trainings to meet the annual training requirements of the professional standards are listed below.

Training Database on USDA Professional Standards External link opens in new window or tab.
Access training opportunities from a variety of sources; searchable by the following key areas: (1) nutrition, (2) operations, (3) administration, and (4) communications and marketing. Each training listed includes the source, format, learning objectives, date, and a Web link to access the training.

ICN Education and Training Resources for SNP External link opens in new window or tab.
Find free online trainings and resources for SNP directors, managers, and staff, designed to prepare participants to meet the challenges of day-to-day operations.

School Nutrition Association Education and Professional Development External link opens in new window or tab.
Access free online trainings and resources such as Web links to upcoming and archived Webinars and the School Nutrition University for career advancement in school nutrition.

Food Service Education and Training
Find education and training information from the California Department of Education (CDE) on school food service, nutrition, and food safety.

California Professional Nutrition Education and Training Centers

The CDE funds the California Professional Nutrition Education and Training (Cal-Pro-NET) Centers system, which serves as a statewide resource for professional development and training needed to meet federal CNP requirements for serving attractive, nutritious meals to children. The two Cal-Pro-NET Centers that focus on training for school nutrition personnel are:

  • Cal-Pro-NET—Davis External link opens in new window or tab.
    The University of California, Davis, Cal-Pro-NET Center provides training and resource materials targeted mainly to established SFA directors, nutrition education specialists, and school administrators. This Web site contains downloadable train-the-trainer curricula and archived Webinars. It links to resources on district wellness policies, nutrition, and garden-based learning.

  • Cal-Pro-NET—San Jose External link opens in new window or tab.
    The San Jose State University Cal-Pro-NET Center provides training and resources to CNP professionals primarily at the manager, SFA director, and nutrition education specialist levels. This Web site contains A Primer for SNPs, which offers basic information on selected administrative topics, program fact sheets, and resources for new directors.

Training and Education Needs Assessment (TENA)
Read about the TENA project (December 2010–March 2012) that resulted in the TENA stakeholder committee’s recommendations, and the CDE five-year training plan.

Food Safety Resources

The professional standards emphasize job-related food safety training for all school nutrition personnel. Below are resources to support food safety training.  

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service Office of Food Safety External link opens in new window or tab.
Connect to food safety education and online training resources.

Find free and downloadable materials on food safety:

Food Safety Posters External link opens in new window or tab.
Posters available in English and Spanish from the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in CNPs.

The Stomach Bug Book External link opens in new window or tab.
A booklet available in English and Spanish created by the National Education Association Healthy Futures and the USDA to inform and educate school personnel on norovirus and provide helpful resources for the school community.

Food-Safe Schools Action Guide External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A USDA guide for school nutrition staff working to create an environment of best practices in food safety.

ICN Food Safety Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
Access numerous food safety materials and trainings from the ICN.

CDE Food Safety Web Page
Information and links about food safety during food preparation and transfer, and California Uniform Retail Food Facility Law requirements.

Questions:   Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act | HHFKA@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 22, 2017
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