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Processors, schools lauded for milk promo efforts.
The Houston area’s Spring Inde­pen­dent School District (ISD) and Borden Milk Products LP were the grand-prize winners of the first-ever Leadership in School Nutrition (LISN) Award, sponsored by National Dairy Council. Each organization received a check for $5,000 to be used toward future school nutrition efforts.
The LISN Award, presented at the School Nutrition Association’s annual conference last month in Florida, honors positive partnerships between processors and schools through innovations in milk programming using kid-appealing plastic packaging, nationally known as the New Look of School Milk.
Efforts by Spring ISD and Borden — including new flavors and packaging sizes —  brought secondary school sales increases of 81 to 188 percent; lunch program participation increased 8.5 percent, while breakfast participation increased 17.1 percent among some 28,000 daily student meals served.
“The real winners here are our students because they’re drinking more milk and enjoying it,” says Melanie Konarik, Spring ISD child nutrition director. “Their increased consumption tells us that they really like the new packaging and flavor options.”
Borden plans to use Spring ISD’s success as an example for other schools it serves, says Ray Platter, executive vice president of National Dairy Holdings and general manager at Borden Dairy. “We are proud to be a part of this innovation for school milk and look forward to seeing similar positive results around the country,” he says.
Runners up were St. Vrain Valley School District and Robinson Dairy in Colorado, each receiving $2,000, and Chicopee Public Schools and Garelick Farms in Massachusetts, winning $1,000 each.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included Dairy Field editor James Dudlicek, along with experts from the food industry, school nutrition and marketing arenas.  
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