Monday, June 13, 2016

Dietetic Internship Rotations at Needham Public Schools

As a part of the M.S. Coordinated Program in Dietetics at Framingham State University, I completed my food service and school nutrition rotations at Needham Public Schools (NPS) this spring. At NPS, the school cafeteria is considered the nutrition classroom, where students can learn about healthy eating through the nutritious and delicious food options offered.

For my food service rotation, I visited and learned about how each of the school cafeterias in the district operates. At NPS, each school is lucky to have its own kitchen! Projects that I was involved with included updating and training the cafeteria managers on the department's standard operating procedures and designing and running a plate waste study at the three secondary schools. I attended meetings and events, such as monthly manager meetings, the USDA Foods Conference, and The Education Collaborative (TEC) food service director meetings. During staff relief, I helped to manage the cafeteria at High Rock Middle School, which is a HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC), Gold Award of Distinction winner. The HUSSC is a voluntary certification, highlighting schools with healthier environments by encouraging nutrition and physical activity.

Buffalo chicken "wings of fire" with a warm biscuit, melon, vegetables, and salad for lunch at Needham High School
In addition to food service, I had the opportunity to teach nutrition lessons in the classroom for students in elementary, middle, and high school. This included an activity on the five food groups with third grade students at Mitchell Elementary School, and a lesson on food marketing with middle school students at Pollard Middle School. I enjoyed teaching to students of various age levels at the different schools.

Teaching the five food groups with MyPlate
Throughout the experience, I worked with a variety of staff in the Nutrition Services department, including the Nutrition Services director, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator, secretaries, cafeteria managers, and food service workers. I also worked with other staff and members of the school community, including teachers, custodial staff, and students.

I learned a lot about school nutrition at Needham Public Schools. I'm looking forward to continuing to learn more about school nutrition by assisting the food services department at Dedham Public Schools!