School Nutrition Education Program
A New Era for School Nutrition Education
USDA Professional Standards Code 2640/3230/4120/4140
Bart Christian- who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.
Jocelyn Karbo- NSLP Content Specialist
What are a couple of key components of training that school food service programs should consider for
back-to-school this year?
Well first, I don’t think I had a chance to thank you guys. So, thank you for having me on today. I’m so
happy to share about training. Ultimately, we had to switch our way of delivering training in a matter of
weeks. So, we usually have 5,6, 700 people come to our conference at the beginning of the summer, and
we had to switch to an online platform. We learned a lot and I hope I can at least help share a couple of
those things with you today.
• First of all, we have to remember all the things that are changing around us, rules, regulations,
this, that, and the other. Training is the same, whether we’re training in-person face-to-face or
remotely, it’s the same concept.
• You have to know your audience, get to know who they are, what do they need, where are they
coming from, what kind of person they are, what do they have available to them?
• I’ll talk a little bit more about that one in a minute, but also playing an engaging experience. We
have all set-on training, in-person and virtual, and when they’re not engaging, we get nothing
• And then last, make sure that our folks can apply the knowledge to their job. So, I’m going to dive
into those a little bit deeper, but I want to make a point of virtual training versus online training.
Virtual training is typically a training that has a person live presenting. We’re doing virtual training.
We might be recording it as a webinar, but we are facilitating it live.
• Online training is on demand. Online on demand, meaning I could wake up at four o’clock in the
morning, get on, take an online class. It’s self-paced for the participant and they are doing the
training on their own.
• They can go start to finish without interacting with an instructor or a facilitator at all. When we’re
looking at those two words, that’s kind of how we distinguish between virtual and online. Our
audience is special and specific. We have to know; do they have internet access? Do they have a
computer? Are they going to be taking their training on their cell phones, because when it’s really
small, they’re not going to see handouts very well.
• Over-communicate. Help them feel comfortable with this new environment. Send them how-to
videos or maybe a user guide to the platform you’re going to use in advance, so they can feel
comfortable with; where are we going? What are we doing? Where do I click? What should I do?
What time is it being held? So over communicate those things.
• That’s another benefit of the online piece. You can give them all of that in advance. You don’t
have to take training time to do that. You can give it to them before you even start.
• Then consider recording a virtual welcome. You don’t have to do a welcome face-to-face, you
could record that in advance. It could be from your superintendent, or maybe your child nutrition
director, a special guest speaker, the mayor, anyone who might be able to welcome them back to
the school year, sounds like a really fun opportunity you could do in advance.
• You could also tailor those to your individual audiences, your elementary schools, your middle
schools and your face schools. Knowing your audience is still whether you’re virtual or face-toface.
• Claiming that engaging experience, making sure that you’re thinking about activities. If we’re faceto-face, we’re going to do a tabletop activity. Well, some virtual platforms, you can break folks
into breakout sessions, so they could still have that opportunity build in polls, quizzes, Q and A,
let them utilize what it would run them for the technology to help it stay engaging. I always
prerecorded the main thing, keeping the main thing going to be the same, whether I say it in
person or I record it in advance.
• I always write a script, and make sure I have every detail that I want them to capture, and I record
that in advance. The cool thing is that when I’m playing, I can answer the Q and A in the chat at
the same time, because it’s already being recorded and they’re just watching the recording. They
don’t know what’s recorded. They think I’m presenting right in front of them. That’s definitely a
tip that I would definitely share.
• Have a co host. Do not pretend that you can manage all of the things by yourself. There’s screens,
there’s speakers, there’s people like doing their hair or eating something. You need a friend who
commutes with them, turns their video off, and answers questions for you. You also want to give
folks a phone number. If they’re having a problem, they don’t want to go through some guide to
figure out how to get their sound working. Have a co host, have them help you with attendance.
All those things behind the scenes, you do not have to do it yourself.
• It’s gotta be useful. It’s not knowledge. It’s kinda like food, right? It’s not nutrition until it’s in their
body. Well, it’s not as successful training unless they’re applying that knowledge to their job. So,
we really want to make sure that what we’re providing for training, they can take back and use.
But during your training, you want them to practice a little piece of that, so they build the
confidence to be able to implement it on the job. That’s really knowing your audience again, back
to the first one.
What type of advice can you give to folks that might not feel comfortable behind or in front of a camera,
and maybe don’t feel comfortable doing all of these virtual meetings? What would you recommend to
them to really help them to gain that confidence, so that they can actually properly convey the
important information that they need to get to their employees without forgetting something or
stressing out and just missing the mark because of the structure of the meeting that they’re trying to
● Just practice, start with your pre-meetings. We’re going to have this conference. So, the meeting
that I’m going to have with my team is going to be on the platform that we’re going to deliver for
the conference itself.
● I’ll build a poll and I’ll have them respond to it. We went through all the settings together because
we wanted to make sure that if someone took a session with me or with one of my colleagues,
that it looked and felt the same. We were using the same tools and mechanisms.
● So, I say, just start, play with it, practice it. There’s so many YouTube videos. There’s so many
different how-to’s or helps, but you really don’t learn it for me anyway, until I do it.
● Those meetings, we have a run through, a practice. We don’t talk about everything that we’re
going to say during the session, but you still have to plan. As you’re building your agenda, you
realize, it’s going to take 15 to 20 seconds of a delay in order for my audience to hear the question
and then respond to the poll. So, I didn’t build in that buffer time the first time and I got to the
end, and I’m like, how am I running out of time? Because I didn’t actually do all of the questions
in the poll during my run-through.
● I say, just start, trust your team, ask them; has anybody used this? My other tip would be to talk
to your technology department. We had people at a help desk as our backup who were familiar
with the platform, but what are they using for their meetings? What are the teachers using? What
platform are they using? Is it my first off team? Is it zoom? Is it go-to-meetings because they’re
doing the same things, they might be able to sit in or be your co host for the first time. I’ve had
that question too. I’m from a small district. I’m a one man show. I don’t have one co host. Call me,
there’s people who will be willing to help you, at least walk through it the first time. So just start.
Well, I know for me, because I’ve been working on a lot. They’ve been developing some things, working
on things, because virtual training is going to be big. Actually, the interesting thing is I actually do have
three districts. I’m going to speak out, live over the next two weeks. But they’re going to be broken into
small groups. So instead of doing one big group, I’m going to do three small groups over the course of the
But as far as my tip for people as kind of a one man show in a lot of ways on different things, I use
PowerPoint a lot. I develop my presentation. I have a secondary monitor, so that I can have my camera, I
can see the stuff, but then I have a secondary monitor, so I can follow my PowerPoint. It’s very different
when you step, I thought I’m blessed in that. I thought I’m pretty good in front of a big group, but when
it’s just me and this one-eyed monster here, and you’ve got to talk to it and there’s nobody else here,
practices everything because it takes practice to get engaging and not a mechanical in what you’re doing,
and I think that your practice is everything. And there are a lot of districts out there that are one-man
shows or one-woman shows that they may find themselves having to kind of do-that, because there’s only
one Jocelyn, you can’t help everybody. So, that practice is going to be the key and getting for me with the
Which one of the tools have you found to be the simplest to work with, Zoom, Go-to-meeting, Microsoft
teams, which have you found to be the most user-friendly simplest to work with?
We use zoom a lot, but again, it’s because that’s what my technology department said, we have a pro
account and we’re using zoom for our other programs in the building. I think that’s where you have to
start because when others are using it, it’s supported and then they have more information, they’re better
able to equip and help you with that.
Start there, but I’ve used all of them now at this point; Go-to-Meetings, Microsoft teams, but Microsoft
teams are a lot easier if everyone’s within the network, but a lot of my school districts aren’t on Microsoft
teams. It’s a whole different ball game, I think they’re all similar.
I think the key is what do you want out of the platform? You have to start with, do I want my participants
to be able to ask me questions during the session, okay, which ones do that? Do I want to share a
document during the session? Originally, a lot of them didn’t have the ability for you to upload or share a
document. You had to do it offline. Well, now you have it, but you can add on these things, so figure out
what you want the session to include and how you want to interact with your audience. That will help
your kind of we-out-the-ones that aren’t going to work for you.
What do you find to be the most successful link for a virtual or online training in the industry that we’re
Really good question, because I was caught off guard by this one as well. So, same thing I started with my
team. What do you all suggest? We have an internal team that works with teachers and principals and
superintendents, and they’re developing training for their audiences, and they said from their expertise,
their side of things, development, what can the human mind handle? They said, take your training. So,
whatever it is, six-hour face-to-face cuts it in half. That’s three hours, now cut it in half again. So, the
maximum amount of time that I should spend on that six-hour content face-to-face should be 90 minutes
virtual. How is that even possible? It was definitely a switch in mentality, but remember what I said earlier,
they can get a lot of the content in advance.
● You can send them a prerecorded video; you can send them things to get them all on the same
page. So, when you are face-to-face, you can get to the nitty gritty, meaty stuff of scenarios and
discussion. You don’t need to cover the basic stuff because they’ve already either received that
or you can do it in a series.
● So, the first one would be kind of an intro 101, and then you could break it up into 90-minute
chunks, and I heard this for face-to-face to you, especially with activities, our mind can’t handle
what our seat can’t take.
• If you are sitting, sitting, sitting, it’s not getting absorbed in your mind, because you’re just
thinking about, “Oh, I should’ve gone to the restroom”, “I have all these other things to do that
sort of thing”. So, take your tape content, cut in half, cut in half again, and that should be your
What type of info specifically do you suggest asking your employees to give you feedback on, and what
do you recommend doing with that information after the meeting?
I’ve been working the last year plus on food production records. Same concept, why do we look back at a
food production record to play in what we’re doing in the future? So, if we’re never looking at the data
that we’re collecting during a past training, we’re just taking a shot in the dark for what we’re planning for
a future training.
• If we collect none of this training, even throughout the training, we can gauge where the audience
is and tailor what we’re doing in that next 15-minute chunk.
• If we do our end of course evaluation, which we’re required to do, we have to prove that learning
occurs in our sessions. That is part of training, whether that’s a poll or a post-test or whatever, we
can take that data and say, “Okay, they’ve got down the mail pattern.” They know the mail
pattern. They’re great at the mail pattern. They’re getting a little hung up on offering versus
serving breakfast in the classroom, or they need help with that kiosk, serving the grab and go at
• Now we know what we can tailor and very specifically customize our next training for. So, if we
never looked back at it, for one we’re going to lose credibility and trust with their audience,
because they’re going to say, “I told you that last time and you didn’t do anything about it”.
• I think it’s really important that we, A, ask, but then B, follow through on listening.
• They also might ask a specific question that they’re expecting to hear back from you on. So yes, it
creates a little bit of follow up work for us, but then we can have that one-on-one conversation
and touch base with someone so that we can clear the water quickly.
• So, I say you definitely have to calendar a debrief. For the day after, or maybe two days after, and
I do this with my whole team. We review the follow-up together. If it’s my training I do with the
co-hosts because I don’t want to miss anything.
• And then I also think it’s important that we give that feedback or the response, or we’re going to
have that in the next month’s training communication, pretty quickly after the training itself, but
you have to calendar it or you won’t have time. It’ll just sit there and then you’ll get the alert that
the recording’s going to expire. Do you want to keep it? I do download, which is another key.
• Once you are doing a virtual training, hit record, so-and-so didn’t meet, make it to the meeting.
You can send it to them, orientation, you can give it to folks down the line. They all get the same
How do you feel about that as far as being a tracking component of being something to verify that the
learning has actually occurred?
So again, it’s going to fall back on what your district hasfor their own professional standards, policies, and
procedures. For the state level, we recognize it as long as they document it, if they don’t document it, it
didn’t happen. How they document it is how it happened. I would still need a way for them to sign an
attendance log, some way to initial or verify. Yes, I’m this person, and I did this training and then we have
professional standards once they fill out our evaluation. After the fact, then they can download their
certificate from our website, others just give it to them locally. So, it all falls back on how you’re
documenting it, but yes, it counts. They were there. They did it, but they have to document it according
to what their local and state regulations have.
What types of training tools and ongoing resources are available for folks that might be working strictly
off of Wi-Fi in their home?
Yeah, it’s a good question. I have several that we use in our area locally, but again I would just ask the
district, what are they using? A lot of things are compatible with mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktops,
they’re all pretty much converting to some point to be usable on any of those.
• Regardless, I think you just keep making it available. The software itself should be able to meet
• We’ve used Google surveys, forms, We have Typeform, Menti-meter, Kahoot. There’s so many
that are being developed. The apps that are out there, you see more and more being developed
all the time.
• I even ask your group, ask your audience, ask your team; What have you used? What do you like?
What should we try?
What other types of training are available online that would be appropriate for a school nutrition
professional that would maybe spice things up, give a little bit of variety outside of the ICN, SNA, and
some of the state department training that are provided?
Just like apps, there’s so many avenues for training. I can get so down a rabbit trail of this, to that, to the
next, to a mean to a video, to a YouTube. I have to reel myself back and say, what am I trying to find?
What am I looking for? Is it motivational? Is it safety and sanitation? Is it health and wellness? Like what
is the goal that I’m trying to look for?
● And then actually what I start with is my social network of my colleagues, my Instagram, Facebook,
all of my social networks, and I asked that group first, “Hey, I’m looking for a motivational
something to start back to school, or I’m looking for a safety and sanitation tool that I can share.”
That’s professionally put together to show happy wear face masks.
● So, I start with that group on the first day and I look at it, it’s kind of like when someone posts,
what books are you reading or any good books lately? It narrows down all of those things to like
a few that I can research because I don’t have time to find all of the new ones or all of the latest
and greatest, but I trust my group. I trust my network, my fellow dietician friends, my fellow child
nutrition friends. I started there honestly.
Are there any other groups that people should be aware of to really tap into other people’s expertise
and the resources that other districts might have available?
Are you familiar with the school meals that rocks the tips page? I know that Hayes is pretty active there.
Dieticians of course, I’m in the school nutrition practice group with the academy of nutrition dietetics, and
they have a whole another platform that they have Q and A and questions and all of that sort of thing.
They’re just dieticians that work in schools and there’s nearly 800 of them across the country. They’re very
helpful in that world, and that’s my world really.
● I am attending a Bob pike training coming up in the next couple of weeks. So that’s all on virtual
training and we kind of did a co-operative to join. It’s not content specific, It’s the education world
of delivering material online or virtually.
● The other thing is, this is funny. I was meeting with the child nutrition director cohort last week
and they are looking for ways to pay their staff when they may have less meals to prepare. What
are we going to pay them to do? How are we going to make use of that time? And training is one
way that you can do that, and there’s so many resources out there for them to do that.
● So, don’t forget about training. If there’s a downturn in participation or you have people who have
another hour, I think that their end of their day, or they’ve prepped everything, make a training
plan as a backup for them to have ready that they can use as a checklist to keep them fully trained
on your staff.
Do you see the old version model of training that we became so accustomed to being in person and
group style meetings, do you see us ever going back to something like that, or do you think that the
future is really developing and finding these online training resources for a new era of training?
Absolutely, we will go back for some skills training. You cannot teach knife skills without putting a knife in
someone’s hand and coaching them on how to properly cut onions. Those skills, hands-on coaching
scenarios that you need to do give immediate feedback on, they are going to return, they might be in
smaller groups. One of my directors is going to go to each kitchen individually to do back to school training
this year. What a lovely idea. They’re going to go to their kitchen to do the training and I absolutely do
think we will go back face-to-face with those types of things. The benefit is we’re going to nail this virtual
side of things too, and we’re going to be able to do both.
We’re going to hybrid. We’re going to say, counting and claiming it can really be done online. They can
drag and drop. We can test their knowledge. Boom. When we’re face-to-face, we’re going to get some
team building hands-on, down and dirty, like nitty gritty stuff that we couldn’t achieve in that virtual world.
● So, I think it’ll start with, what can we tackle virtually. Check, check, check, and then, “Oh, what
did we kind of miss the mark on? What are we falling behind on that we need skills or hands-on
or face to face training”, and then we’ll return to that, we’ll fill in the gap there. That’s my personal
● I think that we have such a great opportunity. The people that are willing to do this is to get better
at the virtual training and get better at this face-to-face type of atmosphere and I’ll be on a
computer, because I see so many trainings in other organizations, I don’t name any, but they’re
child nutritional organizations that offer training, but there are long PowerPoint slides and there’s
no way you literally talk to, I said, thank you said in one of your answers that people tune out and
eight to 12 minutes, uh, yeah. And maybe shorter than that for some of those.
● I think that if we can get better at this, that we can tackle a lot of things virtually and have better
tools for outside of just the PowerPoint outside of just the presentations that people are used to
doing, because I think this is going to be here for at least year and maybe a year and a half. Because
live training will come back, I have no doubt that it will come back. I’ll be standing on the stage in
front of a group sooner or later again, I know that, but in the interim, I have to get better at this
new medium, which is just going to make me better and offer better tools to school nutrition
groups. And I think that’s the challenge, are you willing to really get better at it? Are you just going
to sit and read?
● Please check the dates, please make sure that the information that you’re sharing is current. If
you’re going to share a video, watch the video in its entirety. We learned so much about just
playing like Pandora. We wanted to have music going so that when our participants joined, they
would hear music and know that their audio was working.