P. O. BOX 2120

June 2, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: 2000 USDA Best Practices Awards Program

 Once again this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mid-Atlantic Regional 
Office (USDA-MARO) is sponsoring the "Best Practices Awards Program."  These awards 
were established to recognize excellence in school nutrition programs.

During the past seven years, more than 30 local school nutrition programs in 
Virginia have been selected to receive Best Practices Awards.  More than 40 percent 
of these awards have been first-place winners.  I encourage each of you to look at 
the successful accomplishments you have made this year, and submit your application 
with the proper documentation to be entered in this contest.

The award categories emphasize the importance of providing quality services to our 
customers and to the community.  This year, two additional categories include a 
focus on the Afterschool Snack Programs and food safety.  The categories are as 

 Creative Implementation of the School Meals Initiative;
 Innovative Food Service Practices;
 Establishing Cooperative Partnerships;
 Increasing Nutrition Awareness;
 Training and Professional Development;
 Community Involvement;
 Improved School Breakfast Participation;
 Afterschool Snack Program Achievements;
 Successful Food Safety and Sanitation Practices.

Competition is among the Mid-Atlantic Region representing West Virginia, Virginia, 
New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin 
Islands.  Winners will be selected in each of the nine categories.

Included with this letter is a detailed description of the categories and a 
nomination form.

To compete for this coveted award, please submit the nomination form and the 
supporting documentation to the Department of Education, School Nutrition Office, 
P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120 by June 30, 2000.  Your application 
will be reviewed and forwarded to the USDA Mid-Atlantic Regional Office by the 
deadline of July 28, 2000.  The nomination packet must include the following 

 the category for the nomination;
 a description of the program (300 words or less);
 the time period during which the practice has taken place;
 documentation, such as videos, photographs, or newspaper articles;
 a copy of any materials that have been developed;
 the name, address, and telephone number of a contact person at the school or 
  school division level and the name of the division superintendent.

The Best Practices Program is an opportunity for the school nutrition staff to be 
recognized for their contributions to the health and nutritional well being of the 
commonwealth's children.

For further information, please contact Catherine Digilio Grimes, director of School 
Nutrition Programs, at (804) 225-2074.