Partnership Improves School Meal Environments and Participation


Partnership Improves School Meal Environments and Participation

16, July 2018 3:32 PM

Milk cooler donated by California Milk Advisory Board featuring Dairy Council of California nutrition education via the cling.Throughout the 2017–2018 school year, Dairy Council of California partnered with California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) to improve the school nutrition environment. CMAB worked with Community Nutrition Advisers (CNAs) to identify school foodservice departments in need of new milk coolers.

Thanks to involvement in the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of CA, CNAs were able to connect CMAB with districts and schools to place the milk coolers. CNAs further enhanced the relationship and commitment to the schools by providing additional cafeteria support, Smarter Lunchrooms Movement advising, nutrition posters and classroom nutrition education materials for students and families.

In total, 21 milk coolers were placed in schools across the state. The accompanying nutrition education included milk promotion events, milk cooler posters, food group posters and classroom nutrition curriculum.


(ABOVE: Bret Harte Elementary School,
Burbank Unified School District)
CNA Heather Berkoben hosts a milk cooler welcome party with nutrition education at Rancho Viejo.

The donations were celebrated with CNA-hosted events to highlight the importance of milk in the reimbursable meal. Foodservice directors and staff shared their appreciation for the new equipment.

"The milk cooler has been a welcome switch in our serving line as well.  With a shorter style of cooler, my staff have been able to showcase our milk selection more effectively ... Children have a place to set their plate when selecting their milk. This helps increase the number of students SELECTING milk as part of their meal ... This is the quicker way to ensure our students have a reimbursable meal.” —April Mackill, Nutrition Services Manager Plumas Lake Elementary School District

(ABOVE: Heather Berkoben, CNA leads celebration
at Rancho Viejo Middle School, Hemet Unified School District)

Milk displayed without refrigeration at Sutherland Elementary School in California before cooler donation.After Image of Milk Cooler with Cling at Sutherland Elementary School in CaliforniaMilk cooler posters, featured in the Bret Harte image at the top of the article and in the Sutherland image at right, are another way CNAs worked on a local level with schools to increase access to milk.

Adding milk posters to the coolers provided additional nutrition education, explaining how the various nutrients in milk promote health. Over 100 posters were placed on coolers to increase access to milk in school cafeterias. 

Together, the milk coolers, nutrition education and posters achieved great results. At Sutherland Elementary in Lodi Unified School District, switching milk from a cart  (pictured at left) to a cooler (pictured at right) increased milk sales by 30 cartons per day. 

Additionally, average daily participation in Sutherland's school meals program increased by 40 meals a day after adding the milk coolers. More students participating in the school meal program means more access to healthy, balanced meals that include milk- a positive outcome for the students and the schools.

Phoebe Copp
CNA Supervisor

Tags: cafeteria connections California Milk Advisory Board Healthy eating nutrition education Phoebe Copp school cafeteria smarter lunchrooms movement of CA students

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