ERIC Number: EJ1079330
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
Exploring Operational Issues and Practices of School Nutrition Programs in Large School Districts
Nettles, Mary Frances; Carr, Deborah H.; Johnson, James T.; Federico, Holly A.
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v32 n2 Fall 2008
Purpose/Objectives: The purpose was to explore issues associated with school nutrition (SN) programs in large school districts. Specific objectives were to identify operational issues and practices SN directors encounter and describe characteristics of SN directors and their programs. Methods: A panel of seven SN professionals from large school districts was assembled to ascertain their opinions regarding operational issues and challenges in SN programs. This information was used to develop a survey that was mailed to all SN directors in districts with 30,000 or more student enrollment (N = 232). The survey asked SN directors to indicate their agreement with 52 operational issues/practices related to SN operations in large school districts and provide information about themselves and their SN operations. Results: Ninety-eight surveys (42%) were returned. Most respondents have worked in SN programs for 15 years or more and in their current position for less than ten years. Prior to taking the SN director position, over one-third had worked on their district's SN management team. Operational issues receiving the highest mean agreement ratings were: "putting together an effective management team is critical to the operational success of the SN department," "I serve as the SN representative with district administration," and "the SN department employs district-level professional staff to oversee site-level operations." Regardless of district size, there was strong agreement with the operational issues and practices encountered by the SN directors. Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals: Findings suggest that education and training programs are needed to assist in preparing SN professionals to operate SN programs in large school districts. These programs should target SN professionals who work on SN management teams in large districts and SN directors from smaller school districts. The operational issues and practices identified in this study could provide the foundation for educational and training programs.
Descriptors: School District Size, Nutrition, Health Programs, Administrators, Program Administration, Administrator Characteristics, Administrator Surveys, Administrative Organization, Public Schools, Statistical Analysis, Elementary Secondary Education
School Nutrition Association. 120 Waterfront Street Suite 300, National Harbor, MD 20745. Tel: 301-686-3100; Fax: 301-686-3115; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://schoolnutrition.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Sponsor: US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
Authoring Institution: N/A