The Advisory Council for School Nutrition (ACSN) informs and advises the Colorado Department of Education School Nutrition Unit on development and implementation of Child Nutrition Programs and serves as a resource for school food authorities (SFAs) within specific regions.
The ACSN will serve in an advisory capacity to the CDE School Nutrition Unit. With input from SFAs, members will inform the School Nutrition Unit of school nutrition issues at the SFA level. The ACSN, while not vested with decision making authority, serves a critical role for improving the work of SFAs by: providing input on and sharing of best practices, training needs and resource needs; engaging in peer-to-peer learning and peer support; and collaborating with other relevant professional organizations. The School Nutrition Unit will promote the ACSN to SFAs, so members are utilized to their full potential and can provide greater input from their regions.
The ACSN will promote relationship building and enhance collaboration between SFAs, the CDE School Nutrition Unit and school nutrition partners by sharing successful strategies; by addressing local, regional, and state resource, program implementation and training needs; and by improving communications within the state.
The ACSN membership will be comprised of food service directors or supervisors, managers or assistant directors who have been recommended by a SFA food service director. Members will serve a minimum two-year term to ensure council consistency and to encourage leadership opportunities for SFA personnel. Members may have the option to serve an additional term as needed.
The ACSN members agree that attendance and participation are critical for the success of the council; however, in the event of an unavoidable absence, the member may send an alternate to attend the meeting and report back to the member and the SFAs. Alternates should not attend more than one half of the meetings for the ACSN member.
- Alternates could include supervisors, managers or assistant directors from the member’s SFA, or an alternate director from a SFA within the region.
Partner stakeholders may be included in special meetings and/or portions of meetings, depending on content and topic areas of the meeting and the stakeholder. Partner stakeholders will be invited as guests; however, their attendance is not intended to provide an opportunity for promoting their agenda(s) to the ACSN membership or the OSN.
ACSN members have specific responsibilities during and between council meetings.
During Council Meetings:
- Come prepared by reading pre-meeting materials.
- Stay focused and engaged in all discussions and activities.
- Bring accurate and relevant feedback from SFAs in their region to ensure they are able to participate in meeting discussions.
Between Council Meetings:
- Develop and sustain working relationships with SFAs in their region.
- Share CDE OSN materials and talking points with SFAs in their region to promote accurate, informed and consistent messaging.
- Gather input/feedback on key issues from SFAs to inform discussion at council meetings via tools provided by CDE OSN.
- Provide electronic or hard copy of SFA feedback gathered through data collection tools prior to meeting.
- Respond to requests for action, such as requests for information via email or surveys.
Support & Process
The ACSN will meet three times per year and more, if needed. Meetings will be held in locations throughout the state, coinciding with major school nutrition events, when feasible.
The ACSN meeting agenda will be built from input by the School Nutrition Unit, ACSN members and school nutrition partners on topics, issues and concerns around the implementation of child nutrition programs. Standing meeting agenda items will include program updates; solicitation of input on key issues; and sharing of information, best practices and problem solving. The School Nutrition Unit will commit to support the ACSN by:
- Arranging for technology and meeting space.
- Providing meeting announcements to all SFAs (via Thursday Update), including agenda items to encourage SFAs to contact ACSN members with input and feedback.
- Providing School Nutrition staff, with program specific and agenda relevant information, to create presentations and to participate in meetings; and a staff member who will document talking points and action items for members.
- Providing meeting materials prior to meetings. These materials should clearly define what to bring and what to prepare for, and will be made available to members with time to allow for study and for solicitation of information from SFAs in the members’ regions. The School Nutrition Unit will provide tools for gathering specific feedback.
- Providing follow-up materials, including talking points, slides and resources to share with SFAs and clear action steps for members.
- Maintaining an ACSN web page with meeting talking points, best practices and member contact information.
- Promoting the ACSN to SFAs and encourage SFA communication with ACSN members.
Providing current and updated contact information to ACSN members and soliciting input from SFAs on best practices for communications between ACSN members and SFAs.