Are you in need of training for your school nutrition staff?

Montana Team Nutrition is pleased to offer the Montana School Meals Certificate (MSMC). Participating school nutrition professionals will receive a thorough foundation in meal pattern components, weekly dietary specifications, and strategies to achieve compliance with USDA rules through training on food preparation techniques, recipe standardization and crediting, school food forecasting, and procurement.

What does the MSMC include?

  • 40 hours of training for food service directors and 8 hours of training for frontline staff
  • Substantial mini-grant funds (ranging from $5000 to $7500) to support staff bonuses*, staff or substitute pay, travel costs, food for student taste tests, equipment, supplies, and marketing materials
    • *If training is completed within 6 months, staff can recieve bonus pay ($500 for directors and $100 for frontline staff

How will training be delivered?

  • Participating school nutrition program staff can choose from of two training timelines:
    • Option A: February 2023 – July 2023
    • Option B: June 2023 – November 2023
  • They will also be able to choose from a combination of training formats that best suits their learning needs:
    • Live, in person training
    • Live, virtual training
    • Independently paced virtual self-study

Interested in participating? Let us know by completing this form

The Montana School Meal Certificate is funded by a USDA Team Nutrition training grant awarded to the Montana Office of Public Instruction. 


Resources for Current Participants

The Montana School Meals Certificate Program contains 3 main components to provide 40 hours of professional continuing education for School Food Service Directors.

Participating frontline staff will complete 8 hours of training, choosing their 8 hours from the 40 hours provided. 


School Nutrition Basics – 15 hours

Self Select Topics – 10 hours

Culinary Workshops- 15 hours


Hourly Tracking Form 

Please keep track of the hours you complete for the MSMC in your personal Google Drive tracking form.


Training Opportunities

school lunch tray with chili, salad, fruit, milk, cinnamon roll

School Nutrition Basics (15 hours needed for Directors and Managers)

  • Wednesday Webinars-Wednesday Webinars are hosted by OPI and MT Team Nutrition. Each webinar during the months of February and April 2023 counts towards MSMC training hours. See the Wednesday Webinar schedule here.                    

Below is the Zoom link and passcode to access the webinars: 

Wednesday Webinar Zoom link  

Passcode: 075278

If you missed a webinar or would like to revisit a training, access recordings of past webinars here.  

Follow this link to download a certificate of completion for this training. 

Click file in the top left corner, choose download as a word document, and fill in the pertinent information. 


  • Virtual and Self-Paced Trainings on the Learning HUB- Coming soon!

All school nutrition basics topics will be available at your own pace on the Learning HUB. 


  • MT SNA Conference - June 26-29th, in Great Falls, MT. This conferece provides numerous sessions which will count towards School Nutrition Basics hours. Registration coming soon! 

This conference counts toward School Nutrition Basics and/or Self-Select hours. 


Meadowlark elem salad bar

Self-Select (10 hours needed for Directors and Managers)


Self-Select Training Options  

Directors participating in MSMC need 10 hours of self-select training. Frontline staff are welcome to participate in any of the self-select training options to complete their 8 hours of training. The approved trainings counting for self-select hours are listed below and include virtual and in-person options. If you would like to count a training towards self-select hours that is not on this list, please contact Haley Scott before starting the training to confirm that it will count towards self-select hours. 

After completing a self-select training, please complete the following tasks: 

  • Record the training in your personal tracking form. The google tracking form updates in real time so there is no need to save your document. 
  • If you'd like to download a certificate of completion for this training, visit this link and click “File” in the top left corner, choose download as a word document, and fill in the pertinent information. 

In Person Trainings: 

Join the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Farm to School of Park County, Gardiner Schools, and partners for the first of three Farm to School Workshops! This workshop will provide general training on farm to school and Montana Harvest of the Month as well as feature how Gardiner Public Schools and Farm to School of Park County implement these initiatives. The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases a different Montana grown or raised food each month. It is a perfect way to launch or grow a farm to school or farm to cafeteria program. 

Friday, April 21, 2023, 10am-4pm 

Find more information and register here. 

Virtual Trainings: 

Chef Ann Foundation’s Professional Development  

Engaging online courses give participants the opportunity to learn how to transition school meal programs to scratch-cooked operations that provide real, healthy food to kids at school every day. 

Chef Ann Foundation offers two types of Professional Development: 

  1. Free recorded webinars/training videos. Usethese video resources for your personal professional development and to inspire your team. Webinars are a great tool for staying up-to-date on the field of school food and scratch cooking. 
  2. The School Food Institute- Courses which cost $99.00 - $149.00 to enroll.  (MSMC schools can use their sub grant funds to pay for this cost if needed). The School Food Institute gives child nutrition professionals the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, tasty and eye-appealing. 

Montana Farm to School Past Training & Webinars 

Visit the Montana Farm to School site and scroll down to view recorded trainings and webinars on topics including Beef to School, Harvest of the Month, and Montana Crunch Time. 

The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition Trainings  

The Nuts & Bolts of School Nutrition Programs On Demand is an interactive online training series on fundamental topics in School Meal Programs. The Nuts and Bolts includes six modules with multiple lessons in each module. The following lessons are approved:  

  • Module 1: Introduction to School Nutrition Programs  
    • Lesson 1: School Nutrition Programs Overview (26 min) 
    • Lesson 2: School Nutrition Program Requirements (13:30 min) 
  • Module 2: USDA Foods 101 and Inventory Management  
    • Lesson 1: Role of USDA Foods in School Meal Programs (22 min) 
  • Module 3: 
    • Lesson 1: Administrative Review Basics (9:44 min) 
    • Lesson 2: Meal Access and Reimbursement, Meal Pattern and Nutritional Quality (22:13 min) 
    • Lesson 3: Resource Management, General Program Compliance and Other Federal Program Reviews (23:13 min) 
    • Lesson 4: Administrative Review Process Summary (6:29 min) 
  • Module 4: Resource Management  
    • Lesson 1: Financial Management and Budgeting (15:39 min) 
    • Lesson 2: Maintenance of the Nonprofit School Food Service Account (5:48 min) 
    • Lesson 3: Key Financial Reports (20:36 min) 
    • Lesson 4: Nonprogram Foods and Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) (17 min) 
  • Module 5: Civil Rights for Child Nutrition Programs  
    • Civil Rights for Child Nutrition Programs (37:40 min) 
  • Module 6: Food Allergies  
    • Lesson 1: Food Allergies (34:40 min) 

Institute of Child Nutrition Courses  

The Institute of Child Nutrition provides 88 free, online, self-paced courses to meet professional standards requirements. The Institute of Child Nutrition provides free professional development courses through iLearn.   

Instructions for accessing a training are listed below. Additional information and “how to” videos on navigating iLearn are available here 

To register for a course, you will need to create an account. Here are the steps to create an account: 

  1. Register by creating a user profile. 
  2. Complete the user profile page. You will need to provide an email address and create a password.   
  3. Complete the additional fields page. On the bottom right-hand side of page, click REGISTER.

Please select courses within these 4 areas: 

  1. SN Administration 
  2. SN Operations 
  3. SN Communications 
  4. SN Nutrition

Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition (CICN), a division of the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) provides school nutrition professionals with in-depth, hands-on culinary training and resources that are foundational for scratch-based cooking and the creation of culinary-inspired school meals that are healthy, flavorful, and student-approved!


All of these online culinary trainings are free and easy to access. Find the trainings by clicking on the Resource and iBites Recipe Videos options within the green bar across the top of the page. Topics range from baking, batch cooking, knife skills, flavor enhancements, salad bars, and more!

USDA LEAD to SUCCEED Trainings (a training course within SNA)- LEAD to SUCCEED includes hours of workforce and training tools designed specifically for school nutrition professionals seeking to Learn, Educate, Advance, and Develop in the areas of Personnel Management and Communication, and Marketing and Customer Service. 


If completing LEAD to SUCCEED, choose one of the following training series:  


  • Communications for Impact, Leadership Growth 


  • Adult Training Series 

 Click ‘start training’. The site will prompt you to create an account if you are not already signed in. 


School Nutrition Association 

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is the national, nonprofit professional organization of school nutrition professionals. The state affiliate in Montana is the Montana School Nutrition Association (MT SNA). SNA offers a wide variety of online training.  An SNA membership is required to have full access to the trainings.  An SNA membership can be purchased with your Montana School Meals Certificate sub grant funds.  Questions? Contact the MT SNA membership chair Chandra Plakke [email protected] or 406-239-5751. 

Instructions for accessing a training: 

  1. Visit the School Nutrition Association Professional Development webpage. 
  2. In the top right corner, click member login. Sign into your account or click ‘member registration’ to create an accountwith your SNA ID.– located in the top right-hand corner 
  3. Scroll down to ‘Training Zone’ and change the filters based on your preference 
  4. Use the search and filter function to choose a training that is interesting and relevant to your program.

USDA Professional Standards Database  

The Professional Standards Training Database allows school nutrition professionals to search for training that meets their learning needs in one easy-to-use website. More than 500 free or low-cost training resources are available in a variety of formats and most trainings are free.  

Instructions for accessing trainings: 

  • Click on ‘learn more’ under the ‘search for training’ section  
  • The menu along the left-hand side allows for selection of free trainings.  
  • Note the ‘format’ column and identify trainings that are either online, a webinar, or video. 
  • Select the title of the training for more information, including the website link where you can access the training resource(s). 
Scott Plainfeather demonstrates knife skills by slicing butternut squash

 Culinary (15 hours needed for Directors and Managers) 


We will be offering 2 day in-person culinary trainings in regional locations during late July 2023 and in October 19-20, 2023 (over the statewide PIR days). 

Please contact MT Team Nutrition staff to set up an individualized culinary training in your region.

Listed below are some online culinary training options.

Culinary Skills Resources



Contact Information

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the team at any time.

Molly Stenberg - Co-Director

(406) 994-7217

[email protected]

Haley Scott - Program Lead

(406) 994-5641

[email protected]

Kylie Cassidy - Administrative Coordinator

(406) 994-5397

[email protected]

Aubree Roth - Co-Director

(406) 994-5996

[email protected]


The Montana School Meal Certificate is funded by a USDA Team Nutrition training grant awarded to the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. 

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