Technology: Data Sharing & Analytics Initiative

The Big Idea

Operators collect terabytes of data every day from electronic systems driven by the recordkeeping required by USDA. Sadly, very little of that data is re-purposed to provide business insights. That’s because the ability to effectively standardize, analyze, and compare data across schools, districts, states, and nationally depends on use of a common language.

The “common language” known as the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) have been widely used for decades within other segments of Foodservice industry. In 2018, new attributes were added to GDSN standards and protocols finally addressing the specialized data needs of the K-12 segment.

Technology Stakeholder Advisory Group

Multiple stakeholders are involved in the design and testing of this solution, including, program operators, state agencies, suppliers and distributors, ag groups, GPOs and national policy groups. Each is providing valuable input and feedback for the development of technology solutions by identifying and refining their informational needs. Suppliers will have the option to subscribe to the new data analytics platform containing a single database supporting real time queries from stakeholders.  Our current roster of Stakeholder Advisors includes:

Dean Alessandrini

Hubert Company LLC
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Dean Alessandrini

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Seven years ago, Dean Alessandrini launched a “K-12 task-force” at the Hubert Company to better understand the challenges associated with K-12 foodservice. As the group began to uncover common goals like “improving breakfast participation”, and “encouraging students to select healthy choices”, Dean spearheaded a design-thinking approach to prototyping, creating, and testing solutions to these challenges. Since the “K-12 team” was established at Hubert, solutions like the Hubert Hallway Breakfast cart, the Hubert Share Station, and Breakfast to Classroom System have launched and become proven industry solutions. Dean has an 8-year old daughter who participates in her school’s meal program in the Cincinnati, OH area. He has developed a real passion for the higher-purpose associated with feeding kids, and helping them to create life-long healthy habits.

Carol Chong

Alliance for a Healthier Generation
National Nutrition Advisor
Carol Chong

National Nutrition Advisor

As a National Nutrition Advisor, Carol provides technical assistance to Healthy Schools and Communities on nutrition, nutrition education, food service management operations and compliance strategies for meeting federal regulations and professional development training for staff in the CN program. Her training topics include but are not limited to nutrition education and integration into curriculum for teachers, marketing and merchandising to prompt students and participants to select the healthiest options offered in school meal programs, customer service and marketing your program to increase revenue and participation and cost controls and safe food handling.  Carol previously worked for almost 15 years at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, serving as the Director of Food and Menu Management, overseeing the menu and food procurement, including bids and writing food specifications.

Daniel Ellnor

Jefferson County Public Schools
Assistant Director, Nutrition Service Center
Daniel Ellnor

Assistant Director, Nutrition Service Center

Dan is a dynamic leader, speaker, and innovator with over 20 years of leadership experience.  He is an Eagle Scout and community volunteer. He is passionate about reacquainting people to their food.  He has served at multiple State and National levels within the School Nutrition Association, most recently as President of the Kentucky School Nutrition Association in 2018.  As Manager of the central kitchen in Jefferson County Public Schools, he has taken the lead in bringing more clean, local, sustainable foods to the district.  He serves on a number of national boards including Kansas State University Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition and International Food Manufacturers Assoc. K-12 Advisory Board.

Carol Erb

JTM Food Group
Director, Education Sales
Carol Erb

Director, Education Sales

Now in her 15th year with JTM, Carole is a graduate of Xavier University.  She is currently serving on the ACDA Board as the Industry Representative and attends all SNA national events.  “I feel enormously blessed to be working with such a phenomenal team of professionals.  We’re dedicated to helping Directors throughout the country redefine the serving line!”

Laura Hatch

FoodCorps
Senior Director, Healthy School Meals Initiative
Laura Hatch

Senior Director, Healthy School Meals Initiative

For over 10 years, Laura has worked with school nutrition leaders, industry stakeholders, and national non-profit organizations to develop solutions to ensure children have access to the healthiest school meals in every zip code across the country. She thrives on partnership and relationship building with the amazing school nutrition professionals who are making change happen on a daily basis. Laura lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two young sons, who eat school lunch every day at their local elementary school.

 

Tonya Keyes-Christianson, MA, RDN, LDN

Arizona Department of Education
Director of School Food Programs
Tonya Keyes-Christianson, MA, RDN, LDN

Director of School Food Programs

Tonya Keyes-Christianson is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She has a diverse background of work experience, serving over 13 years in Foodservice Operations through operational management in corporate dining and assisted living communities, and leading quality assurance management in healthcare facilities. Her most recent transition was in September of 2019 to the Arizona Department of Education, Health and Nutrition Division, where she currently works as the Director for the School Food Programs that includes the USDA Foods in Schools Program, Procurement Reviews, Contract Management, and the Farm to School Program. Life balance is important to Tonya. She enjoys traveling to remote areas and spending time outdoors with her husband, kids, and dogs. Tonya is an ultra-endurance trail runner and ultra-endurance triathlete.  In her downtime, she takes her motorcycle on joy rides and runs a private nutritional consulting practice.

 

Stacy Lofton

Premier, Inc.
Director of Food and Nutrition Support and Services
Stacy Lofton

Director of Food and Nutrition Support and Services

In her current role, Stacy works collaboratively with members and suppliers to grow and drive greater savings and efficiencies within Premier’s portfolio of contracts and solutions. Beyond contracting, Stacy partners with members on menu planning, product innovation and utilization, education & training including food allergies, federal guidelines, and more.  Prior to joining Premier, Stacy was a Premier member and corporate dietitian for Knowledge Universe, a leading provider of early education in the USA where she managed the food and nutrition program for more than 1500 centers nationally. Stacy is a Registered Dietician and has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Management from Oregon State University and master’s degree in Health Promotion & Education for the University of North Texas. She is a Registered Dietitian and has completed the requirements for School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) through the School Nutrition Association.

 

 

Laura Trujillo, RD, SNS

Buena Vista Foods
President
Laura Trujillo, RD, SNS

President

Laura began her career in school foodservice as the Director of Food Distribution with the State of Arizona. Where she managed a ten-million-dollar entitlement budget for over 400 school districts in the State of Arizona for two years.  She was the Director of Child Nutrition for the Phoenix Elementary School for six years serving breakfast, lunch and snacks to more than 10,000 students each day.  As the Non-Commercial Account Manager for Shamrock Foods, she directed five departments including K12, and she also worked for the National Dairy Council as Director of Nutrition Services for the K12 market in Arizona. In her current position, Laura serves as President of Buena Vista Food Products, Inc. where she oversees all aspects of the company leading a team of 175 employees daily focusing on customer service, superior products and building lasting relationships.  Laura received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Nutrition from the University of Arizona and her Post Baccalaureate at Arizona State University in Nutrition and Food Science. She is a Registered Dietitian and a School Nutrition Specialist (SNS).

 

 

Sal Valenza

West New York Schools, New Jersey
Food Service Director
Sal Valenza

Food Service Director

Sal has over 25 years of experience in school food service working in self-operated districts in addition to large and small management companies.   Sal was instrumental in leading Memorial High School in West New York to achieve Gold level recognition from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program.  Sal is the Past President of the New Jersey School Nutrition Association and the recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence as well as both the New Jersey and Northeast Region’s Outstanding Director of the Year award from the State and National School Nutrition Associations.  Sal was also recognized as one of 21 outstanding individuals across the nation as a National Champion for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Andrew Williams

Tyson Foods
Director of Marketing, K-12 Channel
Andrew Williams

Director of Marketing, K-12 Channel

Andrew has been with Tyson Foods for 14 years with 9 years on the K-12 team. As the Director of Marketing for Tyson's K-12 Channel, he is excited about helping the K-12 industry feed America’s students great tasting and nutritious food.

Infrastructure

The basic infrastructure is in place and several major suppliers are already on board and are publishing data to the Nourish to Flourish (N2F) data pool. All have agreed to support the industry wide initiative by carving out a “quiet” development period supporting the N2F initiative in order to refine the standards and avoid duplicative splinter efforts. Local dairy councils, state agencies and school districts have also agreed to participate in the pilot to test the data collection and reporting protocols. This pilot will start in May 2019 and run for approximately 18 months.

Business Model Transparency

Following agreed to protocols with Nourish to Flourish leadership, and in consultation with K-12 stakeholders, Nourish to Flourish will publish open data standards following an 18-month pilot period.  In addition to GTIN attributes, N2F will also address data standardization and sharing for school operational attributes (subject to FERPA and COPPA restrictions) to create compatibility with any school nutrition software.  There is no obligation for pilot schools to continue using the software following the pilot period, although the current plan is to allow schools the option of continuing to use the N2F software at no cost.  Suppliers will also have the option to subscribe to the new data analytics platform generated from a single industry wide database supporting real time queries from stakeholders.

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Scaling Up Excellence in the School Meals Experience that’s Vital to Fueling Every Child’s Success