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Dates and Deadlines

Reimbursement claim reminder 

March claims are due Sunday, May 30

View the How to Claim webpage for more information. For questions, email free&reducedpriceschoolmeals@cde.state.co.us.

IN THIS ISSUE
SPOTLIGHT

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a grant-based program that offers funds to schools to provide elementary school children with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day at no cost. The FFVP benefits schools and students by providing, on average, an additional $50-$60 per student each school year and creates healthier school environments by expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed.

During the 2020-21 school year, several flexibilities were put in place to allow sites to operate the FFVP safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few examples of how FFVP is being implemented:

  • Greeley-Evans School District 6 offers drive-through farmers’ markets to seven of their schools. At these events, students and families receive sacks full of fresh produce.

  • Littleton Public School District partners with a local farm to supply fresh produce using the FFVP farmers’ market approach and provides nutrition education with each bag of produce.

  • Englewood Schools offers FFVP during PE class as part of their "cool down" time. Coaches tie in the FFVP nutrition education to their My Plate curriculum. Offerings include items like salsify, jackfruit, sunchokes, leeks, fennel, dragon fruit and passion fruit.

Apply for FFVP in the 2021-22 school year by submitting a complete FFVP application in the CO Child Nutrition Portal by Saturday, July 31. Reference the application instructions for more details.

For more information, view the FFVP website, the USDA FFVP handbook, and the school year 2021-22 FAQs.

Photo Credit- Littleton Public Schools
 

PROGRAM UPDATES

Help eligible students receive P-EBT benefits

CDE’s School Nutrition Unit encourages all sponsors to continue direct certification within the CO Child Nutrition Portal to ensure eligible students receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits. Students reported as free lunch eligible in the P-EBT data pipeline submission may be eligible for school year P-EBT benefits and will be eligible to receive Summer P-EBT benefits.

Sponsors that directly certify additional free lunch eligible students in the Portal should include these students in the P-EBT data pipeline submission due Monday, May 31.

For information about the P-EBT data pipeline submission or direct certification, visit the school meal eligibility webpage. For questions contact, free&reducedpriceschoolmeals@cde.state.co.us

P-EBT mini grants application instructions and FAQ available

The School Nutrition Unit has developed a document with instructions on how to apply for P-EBT mini grants and frequently asked questions. This document is available on the School Meal Eligibility webpage. As a friendly reminder, the first round of P-EBT mini grants closes on Monday, May 24.

USDA update to ethnic/racial data collection for SFSP

On May 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released updated guidance on the collection of race and ethnicity data in the Summer Food Service Program. USDA has determined that visual observation for the collection of race and ethnicity data is no longer an allowable practice. Sponsors should collect this information using data from other sources where the respondent has self-identified, such as school enrollment data, or through self-identification.

For questions, contact Erin Opgenorth at opgenorth_e@cde.state.co.us or 720-822-1883

Complete the virtual food show survey

Sponsors that participated in the 2021 USDA Virtual Food Show and ordered samples, are required to complete a taste test survey for each of those samples by Friday, May 21.

Updated CDC guidance for school nutrition professionals during COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  updated the guidance on What School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers at School Need to Know about COVID-19. This guidance provides the latest information on how to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in school food service operations. It includes new language about how to incorporate self-service stations (i.e. salad bars) if allowed by state and local health departments. The School Nutrition School Year 21-22 FAQ  and back to school planning webpage has been updated with this information.

 

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

Attend virtual knife skills training

CDE and Nourish Colorado are offering virtual knife skills training for up to 40 participants. This is a two-part series where participants will attend both sessions. Part One is Wednesday, July 14, and Part Two is Wednesday, July 21, both from 2-3 p.m. Each training includes a recipe demonstration using vegetables participants learn to cut. Participants will receive a gift card to cover the cost of food along with a grocery and equipment list. This is an excellent opportunity for cooks to gain hands-on practice while receiving two hours of professional development credits. Register here.

Register for May’s On the Menu call

Register for May's On the Menu call Thursday, May 27, from 2-3 p.m. If you have previously registered for these calls, use this web link to join the training. This call will cover important school year 2020-21 updates including USDA waivers. We will answer questions that you have submitted through the FAQ form

For questions or training accommodations (i.e. speaker notes), contact Kerri Link at link_k@cde.state.co.us or 720-660-5499.

NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Submit feedback to USDA about P-EBT

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting school districts to provide feedback on P-EBT information collection. Specifically, USDA is asking for comments on:

  • Ways to improve the quality and clarity of the information to be collected

  • If the method and assumptions used to estimate data collection burden were accurate

  • Ways to minimize the burden of the data collection

Submit comments by Monday, July 12, via email to SM.FN.PEBT@usda.gov  or edward.harper@usda.gov, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail to: Ed Harper, Director, Office of Program Integrity, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Braddock Metro Center II, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-305-2340.

More information can be found in the Federal Register.

CDE says goodbye to Brittany Shores

Brittany Shores will be leaving CDE's Grants Fiscal Unit and her last day is Wednesday, May 26. Brittany worked closely with School Nutrition's meal counting and claiming team and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

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