Hoover City Schools Child Nutrition Program recognized

HOOVER – Hoover City Schools’ Child Nutrition Program was recognized on a state and national level in 2017 for fiscal management and promoting a healthy school environment.

The recognition for fiscal management innovation was related to improving plate costs, HCS CNP Director Melinda Bonner said and added that school systems are monitored for how many meals served relative to expenses.

“We want to keep our plate costs down so we can offer more to our students,” said Bonner, who submitted the HCS entry in this category.

The submission, which received a certificate as a best practice from the Alabama Department of Education, was based on the school system’s new snack program being piloted in two elementary schools.

In previous years, students brought their own snacks from home, but officials wanted to try selling snacks to the students.

Benefits of this approach include being able to ensure the students have healthy snacks and cost savings associated with placing large orders.

“It’s convenient for the students and parents, and it has increased our sales,” Bonner said. “We are trying our best to be good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars.”

Hoover City Schools was also recognized with a plaque from the United States Department of Agriculture for promoting a healthy school environment.

The submission for this recognition, which was prepared by CNP Assistant Director Tricia Neura, detailed the school system’s wellness policies and endeavors.

The submission earned the USDA’s Best Practice Award, continuing a streak of recognition since 2008.

The Hoover Child Nutrition Program, which includes 122 employees in 16 schools, is also recognized as a Program of Excellence.

The submission detailed the framework for the district’s wellness policy and wellness committee, which includes representation from the Hoover City Council, physicians, parents, administrators and other stakeholders.

The committee developed a handbook that provides tools and guidelines for faculty and staff to promote school wellness and encourage lifelong healthy eating.

The program had already been recognized by Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Alabama Champions for Healthy Active Schools, and Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

“This is an ongoing task to maintain and promote wellness,” Bonner said.