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August 2019

Back-to-School Essentials Guide

The School Nutrition Unit at CDE has assembled important back-to-school reminders to help sponsors prepare for the start of the school year! 

School meal application and family outreach 

A school meal application determines student eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals and milk, and also directly correlates to additional district funding, waiving of school and community program fees and grant funding. The start of a new school year is a crucial time to encourage families to apply for free or reduced-price school meals. Promote your school meal application when attending back-to-school events; bring computers to help families complete the application; distribute applications to community centers, recreation centers, daycares and libraries; post the application online and on social media; or mail postcards with application information to all district families. Visit the School Meal Eligibility webpage for the updated application template.

For questions contact, free&

Calling all new food service directors

The School Nutrition Unit supports new food service directors to successfully operate a food service program. Alicia Grove, Nutrition Program Consultant, works with new directors to identify training needs and provide customized in-person and online training recommendations.

For new director support, please contact Alicia at or 720-795-2038.

Advisory Council for School Nutrition 

Advisory Council for School Nutrition (ACSN) members provide the School Nutrition Unit insight into school nutrition best practices and challenges at the district level. ACSN members also serve as a resource and thought-partner to food service directors in their region throughout the school year. Please connect with your ACSN member for questions and resources.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at or 303-866-6661. 

Submit the School Nutrition Programs application

The application for School Nutrition Programs is open in the CO Child Nutrition Hub. Applications close Friday, Sept.13. Visit the How to Apply webpage for more information.

For questions, please visit the School Nutrition Contact Us webpage and email the staff member assigned to your application. 

Summer Food Service Program webinar

Join one of the summer meals webinar sessions on Tuesday, Oct.29.

  • 1-2  p.m. – Returning sponsor debrief: Learn about program successes and challenges from sponsors and share ideas about training needs for 2020.
    • Sponsors interested in speaking about strategies that helped them increase program access, participation or meal quality can contact McKenna Pullen for details at or 720-644-7259.
  • 2:15-3 p.m. – New sponsors: Program basics and planning ahead for a successful program.

2019-20 school year Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Grantees 

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) grantees for the 2019-20 school year have been selected. View the list of selected sites on the FFVP webpage. Information on training for the upcoming school year is coming soon.

For questions, contact Erica Boyd at or 303-866-6306.


Colorado Proud School Meal Day 

Feature local items on school menus to support Colorado producers in celebration of Colorado Proud School Meal Day, Wednesday, Sept.18. Educate children about the importance of healthy eating using ingredients found in their own backyards. Not sure what to serve? View the CO Proud produce calendar.

For questions, contact Wendy White at or 303-869-9174.


Crediting Updates for Child Nutrition Programs Webinar Series 

Recent updates in Child Nutrition Programs include the crediting of new food items that were previously unallowable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a webinar series to explain how to credit these new food items and answer commonly asked questions. As a reminder, crediting of these foods applies to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Summer Food Service Program.

For questions, contact Jon Padia at or 303-866-3685. 

New Offer vs. Serve National School Lunch Program posters available 

The USDA Team Nutrition released new Offer vs. Serve (OVS) posters. These posters are customized for elementary, middle and high school grade levels. Posters help students understand what to select to make a reimbursable meal. Signage is required for both breakfast and lunch if the school food authority (SFA) uses OVS.

For questions, contact Jon Padia at or 303-866-3685.


Donated and traditional foods and civil liability 

The USDA Farm Bill Implementation Memo, SP 31-2019, notifies sponsors of the 2018 Farm Bill's expansion of the provision that certain groups are not liable in civil cases regarding the donation and service of traditional foods. The provision only applies to food service programs at public and nonprofit facilities that primarily serve Native Americans. This memo applies to all Child Nutrition Programs and the Summer Food Service Program.

For questions, contact Alicia Grove at or 720-644-7259.


Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council Coordinator open position 

Colorado State University and the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (COFSAC) have an open coordinator position. The candidate will coordinate the primary activities of the Colorado Food System Advisory Council (COFSAC) and work closely with a number of Colorado agencies and organizations to address the mission and activities assigned to COFSAC through its authorization. Job applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug.9.

For questions, contact Dawn Thilmany at or 970-491-7220.


Updated School Meal Eligibility Trainings 

The updated free and reduced-price meal online training sessions are now available. The training sessions are a three-part series and each take approximately 20 minutes to complete. View the new trainings on the School Nutrition Professional Development webpage.

For questions, contact the Free and Reduced team at free&

Administrative Review Regional Training: A Collaborative Approach to Compliance 

Regional training sessions for sponsors undergoing an Administrative Review during the 2019-20 school year will take place in September; dates and locations will be announced on the Professional Development In-Person Training webpage.

For questions, contact Kerri Link at or 303-866-3686. 


The Farm to School Census is coming

The 2019 Farm to School Census will be sent to school food authorities (SFAs) across the nation this September. The census measures the scope, reach and overall impact of farm to school efforts. This is the only survey that examines SFAs’ activities with local food purchasing, school gardens and agricultural education, as well as the challenges and benefits regarding farm to school at the school and district level. Please complete the census - even if your school or district doesn't participate in farm to school. Feedback is important to strengthen farm to school efforts and identify barriers to participation. Use this Census Preparation Worksheet to help prepare responses.

For questions, contact McKenna Pullen at or 720-644-7259. 

Reimbursement Claim Due Dates

Reimbursement Claim due dates are posted on the School Nutrition website. June 2019 claims are due Thursday, Aug. 29. For additional guidance on Summer Food Service Program reimbursement claims, visit the SFSP How to Claim webpage.

Register now for upcoming training

Copyright © 2019 Colorado Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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