Food for Thought: Changing Job Descriptions, Changing How We Prioritize Healthy Eating at School

April 20, 2011

By Mark Bishop, Vice President of Policy and Communcations

With Jamie Oliver in the news, new school food regulations being considered, and concerns over the increased costs associated with improving school food, it just seems that making change in a school is a loud and brash process. But sometimes change is subtle, and sometimes it’s the subtle changes that can make a real difference.

This article, which talks about obstacles one school district in New Hampshire faces in an attempt to improve nutritional standards, caught my eye. Not because it spoke of the increased challenges associated with providing kids healthy food, but for this point that may get lost in the details:

“The School Board has updated the job description of its school nutrition director… Under the revised job description, the director will coordinate the nutrition program according to requirements and select foods and meals to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, assess customer preferences, industry trends and current research and plan menus that encourage participation in the lunch program as well as utilize community resources to support the program.”

Making healthy eating a priority is now officially part of this school nutrition director's job, allowing him or her to prioritize this effort.This kind of subtle change helps make wellness a real part of the school culture.

Change may be hard. But creating health-promoting job descriptions so schools can assess staff and provide support related to agreed-upon goals is so obvious that it’s brilliant.