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Training and Education Needs Assessment

The Training and Education Needs Assessment (TENA) was launched in 2010 and completed the School Nutrition Programs Assessment in 2012.


The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) mandated numerous changes to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The changes include provisions to improve fiscal operations, program access, wellness through healthy school environments, and to update the meal patterns and nutrition standards for the NSLP and SBP. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the Proposed Rule Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (76 FR 2494) on January 13, 2011. The proposed changes were based on the 2009 Institute of Medicine report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children. The USDA issued the Final Rule on January 26, 2012, with an effective date of July 1, 2012, for the NSLP and a phased in timeline for the SBP. As a result, school food authorities (SFAs) are required to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; reduce the level of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat; and meet the nutrition needs of schoolchildren within the calorie requirements.

These regulatory changes—as well as many obesity prevention and health promotion initiatives such as the Let’s Move! Campaign, HealthierUS Schools Challenge, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Team California for Healthy Kids campaign—influence the training, education, and technical assistance (TA) needs of SNP personnel. To ensure that the CDE directs the limited funding toward training, resources, and TA that meet the needs of SNP personnel, the NSD launched the TENA project.


The goal of the TENA project is to identify quality and timely trainings and educational resources SNP personnel need to support their professional success and growth over the next five years.


Objective 1: By June 1, 2011, the NSD and TENA committee members identified the training and education resources needed to prepare SNP personnel to implement the new federal meal pattern regulations.

Objective 2: By June 1, 2012, the NSD and TENA committee members identified the priority training and education needs of SNP personnel for the next five years to help them be successful and grow professionally.

The TENA project included convening a diverse stakeholder committee and conducting a needs assessment survey.

TENA Committee

The NSD convened the TENA committee by inviting some stakeholders and selecting the rest using a competitive application process. The 29 members represented a variety of district sizes and geographic regions, and included residential child care institutions (RCCI) and charter schools. While the 19 appointed members represented several key stakeholder organizations, eight of them were also food service directors in school districts.

Process and Outcome

The TENA committee met through three Web conferences in January, February, and July 2011 and two in-person, two-day meetings in May 2011 and March 2012.                        

For Objective 1: In May 2011, the TENA committee identified the training, resource, and TA needs of SNP personnel to implement the new lunch meal pattern requirements and made recommendations in the following areas: (1) marketing; (2) communicating; (3) training, resources, and TA; (4) supporting professional development; and (5) needs assessment survey.

For Objective 2: For in-depth feedback on SNP personnel needs, the NSD partnered with the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Center for Nutrition in Schools (CNS) to conduct the Training and Education Needs Assessment Survey. The survey determined training, resource, and professional development needs of child nutrition personnel in schools, afterschool programs that participate in the NSLP, and RCCIs. The survey also gathered feedback about preferences with regards to training format and delivery modes. The survey took place in November and December 2011.

The SNP-TENA Survey Report External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) is posted on the UC Davis CNS Web site. The results of the survey were published in 2013 in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management per citation below:

Jones, A.M., Punia, M., Young, S., Chase Huegli, C., and Zidenberg-Cherr, S. (2013) Training Needs of Personnel Employed in Programs Participating in the National School Lunch Program in California. Journal of Child Nutrition and Management, 37 (1).

In March 2012, the TENA committee made its final recommendations, available at SNP TENA Committee Recommendations, to address the unmet needs. To receive a copy of the recommendations, see the contanct information below.

Contact Us

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Mandeep Punia, Nutrition Education Consultant, by e-mail at or by phone at 916-323-6037.

Questions:   Education and Nutrition Policy Unit | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 29, 2018
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