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July 2019
IN THIS ISSUE

PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT

July is Summer Meals for Kids and Teens Awareness Month

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) supports the physical and social development of kids and teens in Colorado by providing free, nutritious meals while school is out of session. Currently, only one in 10 children who receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year access meals during the summer. To increase children’s access to summer meals, sponsors are exploring new and better ways to feed kids during the summer months. Over the past five years, mobile meal sites have increased by 135%, the community meals pilot expanded to four additional sponsor organizations and more sponsors and sites are partnering with community organizations like libraries, parks and recreation centers, food banks and hospitals. 

Examples of this work include Aurora Public Schools operating three mobile meal cafes, Larimer County Food Bank offering community meal sites and Cherry Creek School District creating partnerships to increase access and participation in summer meals. To learn more, visit the School Nutrition’s home page

Interested in adding a summer site or becoming a summer sponsor in the future? Contact McKenna Pullen at pullen_m@cde.state.co.us for information on how to get started.

PROGRAM UPDATES

Administrative Review Cycle

Over the last six years, the School Nutrition Unit has provided targeted technical assistance, improved in-person and online training sessions to streamline the Administrative Review (AR) process. The results of these efforts include a 56% decrease in AR findings. A waiver from the USDA Mountain Plains Regional Office to extend the three-year AR cycle to five years was just approved, which will support a continued focus by the School Nutrition Unit on training and initiatives related to increasing program access and student participation.

The goal of the waiver is to improve customer service and align child nutrition program reviews to support sponsors to run exceptional school meal programs. As proposed in the waiver, each sponsor will receive an AR and technical assistance (TA) visit within each five-year cycle. Procurement reviews will align with the AR. Food Service Management Companies will continue to have a procurement review every three years, which will take place during the scheduled TA visit. The TA visit will focus on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, follow up on findings from previous reviews, financial management, procurement and meal quality. The five-year AR and TA visit cycle is available on the School Nutrition website. Lead reviewers will contact sponsors undergoing a review during the 2019-20 school year within the next few weeks. In October, sponsors will receive a notification of whether they will receive TA. 

For questions or concerns, contact Kerri Link at link_k@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-3686. 

Civil Rights And Justice for All 

The School Nutrition Unit received notice that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is not currently issuing And Justice for All posters. School food authorities (SFAs) and sponsors can display the posters they currently have in a safe location and, in the interim, will not be penalized during a review for not displaying the posters.

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at rolfsen_k@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-5985. 

The Direct Certification System is now open

The Direct Certification System is open for the 2019-20 school year. Log in to the CO Child Nutrition Hub to upload and match students for free school meals. To meet USDA upload requirements, SFAs must complete at least one upload by the first day of school.

For questions, contact free&reducedpriceschoolmeals@cde.state.co.us

2019-20 Public Release 

On July 1, the 2019-20 public release of free and reduced-price school meals and the Special Milk Program was published. The public release is available on the School Nutrition webpage and the School Meal Eligibility webpage. The School Nutrition Unit recommends sharing this information with parents and families to encourage them to apply for free or reduced-price school meals. 

For questions, contact free&reducedpriceschoolmeals@cde.state.co.us

PROGRAM TIPS

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Financial Success 

Recipients of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Program grant (FFVP) for the 2019-20 school year will be announced soon. To maximize allocations, here are a few tips:

  • The first allocation is July 1 - Sept. 30 and funds for this period expire after Sept. 30. 

  • Administrative costs cannot exceed 10% of the total allocation.

  • Buy local produce and take advantage of the bounty of fresh produce options available in Colorado at this time of year. Shop at a local farmers market or order seasonal produce to introduce at your schools.

For questions, contact McKenna Pullen at pullen_m@cde.state.co.us or 720-644-7259.

OUTREACH AND PARTNER UPDATES

Healthy Schools Hub connects school communities 

The Hub is a new website that connects health and education stakeholders across Colorado with a broad array of resources, including events, organizations, research, toolkits and more. Registered Hub users have the ability to create discussion groups, share resources and upload their own resources. The Hub is the brainchild of Healthy Schools Successful Students (HSSS) – a collective of state-wide organizations, agencies and higher education institutions focused on health and education. School food authorities can become Hub members and join HSSS members in looking for opportunities to advance learning and strengthen networks in support of the shared vision for Colorado youth to be healthy and reach their full potential.

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at rolfsen_k@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-5985.

In case you missed it

This year's Colorado School Nutrition Association Summer Conference was packed with insightful presentations to help SFAs serve with passion and positivity.  Check out "Innovative Strategies in Meal Participation and Access," which featured eight panelists highlighting four strategies.

For questions, contact Gabby Warner at warner_g@cde.state.co.us or 720-827-5144. 

Blueprint to End Hunger: News and Happenings 

Looking for the latest news on Colorado's Blueprint to End Hunger? Visit In the News to get briefed on the Blueprint's current happenings. Check out April's update to learn more about the plan's new Implementation Director Erin Ulric, who will lead this important work in the coming years.

For questions, contact Gabby Warner at warner_g@cde.state.co.us or 720-827-5144.

RESOURCES

Meal Claim Import

Claim import instructions are available for use on the How to Claim webpage. This resource will provide guidance on how to import school meal claims directly into the CO Child Nutrition Hub for each operating site. The import option is available for breakfast, lunch, snack, Special Milk Program and Provisional program claims. SFAs should contact their vendor for an import set-up. 

For questions, contact Rachael Burnham at burnham_r@cde.state.co.us or Benjamin Wetherbee at wetherbee_b@cde.state.co.us

At-Risk/Free Lunch Audit Resource Guide 

The 2019 At-Risk/Free Lunch Audit Resource Guide has been released. This resource provides guidance on required free lunch documentation for the At-Risk Audit process. For more information contact the School Auditing Office.

For questions, contact Rachael Burnham at burnham_b@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6450. 

Fundamentals of Menu Planning Training

Please join CDE’s School Nutrition Unit for its annual Fundamentals of Menu Planning training, which includes two classes designed to hone menu planning skills. The 101 class teaches core menu planning essentials, such as crediting components, Offer vs. Serve and product documentation. The 201 class offers scenarios for advanced menu planners such as complex recipes, increasing participation, Farm to School and more. Register for the remaining training sessions on Wednesday, July 17, and Thursday, July 18, in Colorado Springs or on Thursday, Aug. 8 in Limon.

For questions, contact Jonathan Padia at padia_j@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-3685. 

Smarter Lunchrooms Training: Part Four 

To learn more about Smarter Lunchrooms, take the final on-demand 30-minute training session about the four-step path. In this final training, participants will learn to identify changes that could be made in the lunchroom, create an action plan, implement changes and review the progress. 

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at rolfsen_k@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-5985. 

Reimbursement Claim Due Dates

Reimbursement Claim due dates are posted on the School Nutrition website. May 2019 claims are due Tuesday, July 30. 

Register Now for an Upcoming Training 

SUMMER PROGRAM UPDATES

 

New summer email address

In an effort to better answer questions relating to the Summer Meals program, the School Nutrition Unit created a new summer email address. Going forward, please send general Summer Food Service Program questions to SummerMealProgram@cde.state.co.us

May claim deadline 

The deadline for May claims is Tuesday, July 30. For additional guidance on reimbursement claims, visit the SFSP How to Claim webpage.

Turnip the Beet Award Winners

The Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation that offer high-quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing and nutritious during the summer months. Congratulations to Colorado’s four winners from summer 2018: 

  • Greeley-Evans School District 6 Nutrition Services – Silver Award
  • Alamosa School District Nutrition Department – Silver Award 
  • Brush School District – Bronze Award
  • Littleton County Public Schools – Bronze Award
PROGRAM TIPS

Tips for maintaining participation in August 

The Food Research & Action Center will host a conference call at 11 a.m. on Thursday,  Aug.1 to share tips and tricks from sponsors about finishing the summer strong with targeted outreach, partnerships and events. 

Lunch Lizard Video Series 

Check out the final of a four-part video series and learn about the strategies Mesa County Valley School District 51 implements to run a financially successful summer program.

Summer Application Tips 

As summer gets into full swing, keep these program tips in mind:

  • Claims: For program sponsors that receive a claim error regarding Average Daily Attendance (ADP), make sure to update the ADP in each site application to reflect actual participation (number meals served / number days = ADP). For more tips, visit the Common Claim Questions document.
  • Applications must always be up to date. Applications can be updated at any time, but changes must be approved before making any changes to the actual program.

For questions, contact McKenna Pullen at pullen_m@cde.state.co.us or 720-644-7259. 

OUTREACH AND PARTNER UPDATES

Celebrate Summer Heroes

No Kid Hungry is celebrating everyday heroes who ensure kids can continue to count on healthy meals once school lets out for the summer. From now until Thursday, July 11, No Kid Hungry is accepting nominations for their national Summer Meals Hero contest.

Complete this short nomination form to enter a summer hero you know to receive national recognition and a fun prize from No Kid Hungry.

For general questions about the Summer Food Service Program contact Ashley Moen at moen_a@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6653.
Copyright © 2019 Colorado Department of Education, All rights reserved.


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