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Director of Child Nutrition Academy

The United States Department of Agriculture has become more stringent on academic requirements for Child Nutrition Directors and requires specialized training and ongoing instruction. The directors of this academy will be prepared for the demands of managing one of the biggest departments in any school district through this comprehensive curriculum, which is designed to fulfill state training requirements.

Class Schedule for 2024

(Friday 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM PST, Saturday 08:00 AM - 03:00 PM PST)

  • September 5th & 6th
  • October 4th & 5th
  • November 1st & 2nd
  • December (TBA)

Class Schedule for 2025

  • January (TBA)
  • February (TBA)
  • March (TBA)
  • April (TBA)

Comprehensive Curriculum

The ACSA/TSS Director of Child Nutrition Certificate Academy is a comprehensive curriculum developed to build new capabilities for seasoned Child Nutrition directors or to enhance their current ones. The course includes both classroom instruction and hands-on training, covering a wide range of knowledge and skills. The Academy places the Child Nutrition directors in their position within the organization, explains how school districts are organized, and highlights the vital role that the nutrition services division plays in a district and how it affects the educational program. Instruction will revolve around several major themes including Child Nutrition funding, Special Provision options, preparing for the administrative review, meal access and reimbursement, menu planning, resource management, food safety, procurement, human resources/personnel, collective bargaining, and other federal programs and reviews.
The course will provide an opportunity for participants to expand their skill set in a challenging yet encouraging environment. Specialized assignments and class projects are done individually and as part of small teams, and learning is evaluated with monthly assessments and a final exam. Participants who successfully complete the course will be issued an ACSA/TSS Director of Child Nutrition Certificate.


The instructor for the program Jose’ Alvarado has worked for 34 years in education, most recently as the Food Services Director for Fresno Unified School District. Jose Alvarado has obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master’s in Business Administration from California State University Fresno along with a Chief Business Official Certification from an SB352 State Board of Education certified training provider. He has also presented for the California Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on various school nutrition topics at local, state, and national workshops and training venues.
Other presenters for the program include directors from organizations like the California Department of Education Child Nutrition Division as well as active and former school administrators, who are among the best in the state. TSS Executive Vice President Dr. Joseph Pandolfo manages the program and moderates several sessions to guarantee the consistency of the curriculum. He has over 30 years of expertise in the education sector.

Course Currilcum

    • Unit 1 – Introduction to Child Nutrition 00:00:00
    • Director of Child Nutrition Inventory Skills Assessment 12 months
    • Session 2 00:00:00
    • Unit 2 – Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – Special Provision Options / State Meal Mandate 00:00:00
    • Director of Child Nutrition Month 1 Assessment 2 months
    • Director of Child Nutrition Academy Assessment 3+4 Unlimited
    • Unit 3 – Preparing for the Administrative Review (A/R) – Meal Access and Reimbursement 00:00:00
    • Director of Child Nutrition Academy Session 5+6 Unlimited
    • Unit 4 – Meal Pattern and Nutritional Quality / Resource Management 00:00:00
    • FUSD Food Services Non-Program Foods Procedure 00:00:00
    • Unit 5 – School Nutrition General Program Requirements / Section A-B 00:00:00
    • CNA Session 7+8 Quiz Unlimited
    • DCN Session 9 + 10 Quiz Unlimited
    • Unit 6 – Other Federal Programs and Reviews / Food Safety 00:00:00
    • DCNA Session 11 + 12 Quiz Unlimited
    • Unit 7 – Food Service Procurement, Ethics, Program Marketing, and Promotion 00:00:00
    • DCNA Session 7 Quiz Unlimited
      • Unit 8 – Human Resources / Collective Bargaining / Effective Public Speaking / Writing Skills/ Personal Goals 00:00:00
      • DCN HR Quiz 1 year
        • Director of Child Nutrition Final Exam 03:00:00
        • 00:00:00
        • District and Nutrition Services Funding 00:00:00

      Course Reviews


      5 ratings
      • 5 stars5
      • 4 stars0
      • 3 stars0
      • 2 stars0
      • 1 stars0
      1. Highly recommend.

        Jose was a great teacher and I enjoyed meeting the other presenters. It was a very informative class, especially for someone new to school food service. It was also helpful to get the perspective of staff from a larger district.

      2. Angela Baxter, RDOctober 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm

        “The class was very informative for a new director and also an excellent review course for the experienced Director. It also was great for networking and sharing ideas with other Directors.”
        Angela Baxter, RD
        Director of Food Service
        Saint Helena Unified School District

      3. 5

        “As for the course it was a learning experience that allowed me to network with others who work in similar positions. Whether they were seasoned or new to the position, a big district or small district we all have to follow the guidelines. Being able to talk and ask questions openly was helpful for me. Plus, I value the friendships I made with my classmates. I would definitely recommend the course.”

        Lisa Ludwig
        Food Service Supervisor
        Atwater Elementary School District

      4. Micha James, M.S.October 17, 2020 at 12:13 pm

        “I’m happy to recommend the academy – I found the experience to be a great networking opportunity that allowed for peer-to-peer learning and engagement!”

        Micha James, M.S.
        Nutrition Services Director
        Monterey Peninsula Unified School District

      5. 5

        “I would highly recommend your Director of Child Nutrition Academy to anyone who hasn’t attended it yet. I was so new at that time and learned so many things that have helped me along the way ever since! I also felt like the makeup of our class was so diverse in terms of time on the job so that the input was incredible!! I cherish the friendships we made and always look forward to seeing my colleagues at events and hearing from them!”

        Debbie Anderson
        Food Services Supervisor
        Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District

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