What documentation will be required for the new Professional Standards?
(1) Contracting entities (CEs) must have documentation to support the education level and professional experience of the employee based on the requirements for their position who are hired on July 1, 2015 or after, as well as records of continuing education/training hours completed for each school year for each employee in their Child Nutrition Department. The review of this documentation will be part of the Administrative Review process. (2) CEs must have documentation related to staff continuing education/training that demonstrates the following:
- The program director meets the hiring professional standards. If the program director’s length of employment covers a period of time that is longer than the required records retention standard, the CE must keep those records for as long as the employee is on staff plus the required number of years.
- The program director has met the requirements for food safety training within the last five years. CEs need to ensure that records related to food safety training are kept for the full five years even if other records retention periods expire.
- All CE employees have completed the continuing education/training hours each school year.
Are there requirements about what agencies or entities provide continuing education/training?
No, Regulations do not require that continuing education/training sources be provided by specific agencies, organizations, or individuals. However, it is the CE’s responsibility to ensure that all continuing education/training opportunities focus on nutrition-related topics and are conducted by knowledgeable nutrition sources. Nutrition program-related continuing education/training may be provided by, but are not limited to, the following sources:
- Education service centers
- Local school nutrition program (in house)
- Nutrition conferences
- Nutrition focused vendors
- Nutrition organization
- Other knowledgeable nutrition sources
- State or federal agency
- Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)
Will TDA provide additional continuing education/training opportunities to help schools meet Professional Standards?
(1) TDA will continue to provide continuing education/training to school districts through the 20 regional Education Service Centers (ESC’s). ESCs base their continuing education/training schedules on needs of their region. (2) USDA is working with the national Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) to create more continuing education/training opportunities for all school districts.
Will there be money available for schools to help cover continuing education/training costs to meet the continuing education/training Professional Standards?
: (1) Continuing education/training provided by the regional ESC’s is available at no cost to school district employees. (2) Many NFSMI continuing education/trainings are available in an electronic format and can be accessed at no cost.(3) Continuing education/training costs are an allowable expense (Child Nutrition funds can be used to pay for the continuing education/training).