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May 2019

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), including the School Nutrition Unit, will be closed on Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

IN THIS ISSUE

PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT


Serving up fresh fruits and vegetables

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) creates healthier school environments by expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed by elementary school children, at no cost to students. The FFVP is an effective way to introduce students to fresh and healthy snack options outside of school breakfast and lunch programs. Staff, teacher and administrative support for the FFVP is key to program success. At Bishop Elementary in the Englewood School District, FFVP is served during physical education class. The teacher enthusiastically conducts taste tests and teaches about nutrition to get students excited about the variety of fruits and vegetables served. At Cañon City School District, the kitchen staff is excited to serve students with a unique variety of fruit and vegetables. They recently worked with administrators and teachers to create a more streamlined approach to the FFVP. On Wednesday, May 1, the FFVP application opened in the CO Child Nutrition Hub, applications are due Monday, June 3.

Learn more about Englewood and Cañon City’s FFVP by visiting School Nutrition’s homepage.

PROGRAM UPDATES
 
Expansion of the Lunch Protection Act

On April 25, the state legislature passed HB 19-1171 extending the school lunch copay of $0.40 to all students in public schools, pre-K through 12th grade. This expansion of the school lunch copay will be in effect for the 2019-20 school year.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at skrupskis_v@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6661.

School Nutrition Programs application guidance

The applications for School Nutrition Programs are now open in the CO Child Nutrition Hub. School food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program or the After School Snack Program can refer to the updated Renewal Application Guidance. SFAs only operating the Special Milk Program (SMP), can refer to the updated SMP renewal guidance.

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

PROGRAM MEMOS
 
Federal purchasing thresholds for Child Nutrition Programs

The SP20-2019 USDA memo outlines changes allowing sponsors participating in the National School Lunch and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to adopt the new federal purchasing thresholds that were increased in June 2018. Local purchasing thresholds that are more restrictive still apply.

For questions, contact Megan Johnson at johnson_m@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-5983.

Crediting new food items in Child Nutrition Programs 

The USDA released guidance on appropriate crediting methods for newly creditable food items: shelf-stable, dried and semi-dried meat; poultry and seafood products; coconut, hominy, corn masa and corn flour; popcorn; surimi seafood; tempeh; and pasta products made of vegetable flour. Crediting guidance applies to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Afterschool Snack Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

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

OUTREACH AND PARTNER UPDATES

2019 Colorado School Nutrition Association Summer Conference, June 10-12

Join the Colorado School Nutrition Association (CSNA), CDE’s School Nutrition Unit and Colorado Department of Human Services for the CSNA Summer Conference. This year's conference will return to the Embassy Suites in Loveland for educational sessions, keynote speakers, a brand new revamped Chef’s Challenge video production, a food show and networking events. The School Nutrition Unit will be holding two mini School Nutrition Academy training sessions for directors and kitchen managers on Monday, June 9, before the conference starts. Visit the CSNA website for more details and registration.

For questions, contact Carrie Thielen at thielen_c@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6759.

Meet your Advisory Council for School Nutrition representative

During the CSNA Summer Conference, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on June 11, SFAs will have the opportunity to connect with their Advisory Council for School Nutrition (ACSN) representative about the successes and challenges of operating child nutrition programs. Don’t miss the chance for networking, sharing and meeting your peers from around the state. Lunch will be provided. Visit CDE’s website for more information about ACSN and how to get involved.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at skrupskis_v@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6661.

RESOURCES

Register for Fundamentals of Menu Planning training

The School Nutrition Unit will host five in-person Fundamentals of Menu Planning training sessions throughout the summer. The training is designed for menu planners at both beginner and intermediate levels operating and administering school meal programs. To learn more and to register, visit CDE’s Professional Development webpage.

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

School Meal Eligibility webpage update

The School Nutrition Unit has a new School Meal Eligibility webpage. Visit this webpage to quickly find resources, templates and available training related to Direct Certification, Free and Reduced-Price Applications and Income Verification. 

For questions, contact the Free and Reduced team at free&reducedpriceschoolmeals@cde.state.co.us.

Paid Lunch Equity Tool

The CDE Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) tool will be released to sponsors in early May and collected back by Tuesday, June 28. The USDA is offering an Exemption option for the 2019-20 school year.

To be considered for an exemption, the school food authority’s nonprofit food service account must be at a positive or zero balance as of Dec. 31, 2018. Please submit a completed PLE tool along with the nonprofit food service account, Fund 21, balance sheet as of Dec. 31, 2018, to GFPLE@cde.state.co.us.

For questions, contact Lyza Shaw at shaw_l@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6670.

Community Eligibility Provision Training: Considerations for Implementation

Now that the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2019-20 school year has been reported and published, SFAs may be considering if CEP is right for them at the district or site level. Watch this short video to learn about CEP implementation including program benefits, requirements and operations.

For questions, contact Benjamin Wetherbee at wetherbee_b@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6529.

Smarter Lunchrooms: Part Two

To learn more about Smarter Lunchrooms, take the second on-demand 30-minute training about the last four categories of change on the Smarter Lunchroom Scorecard: boosting reimbursable meals, improving the lunchroom atmosphere, increasing student involvement and increasing school community involvement.

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. March 2019 claims are due Thursday, May 30.

IMPORTANT DATES

Offer versus Serve guidance

Offer versus Serve (OVS) is a menu planning option for Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites that allows children to decline some of the food offered in a reimbursable breakfast, lunch or supper. It is important to note that children must be able to decline more than one component when OVS is implemented at lunch/supper. For example, OVS is not implemented correctly if a pre-packaged meal is provided and children only have the option to decline the milk component. This scenario is allowable for field trip meals. Reference the OVS Tip Sheet for more information.

Site Monitoring Guidance

The approved SFSP statewide monitoring waiver specifies that first-week site visits are waived for returning sites and for SFA and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors. This means that sponsors that are not SFA or CACFP sponsors are not required to conduct first-week site visits for returning sites that operated successfully the previous summer. This also waives the requirement for first-week site visits for all sites under SFA or CACFP sponsors in good standing. Additional information on site monitoring requirements can be found in the Administrative Guide.

PROGRAM TIPS

The Lunch Lizard video series

In the second of a four-part video series, learn about Mesa County Valley School District 51's Lunch Lizard Summer Program and the district's strategies for successful promotion and community engagement.

MEMOS
Purchasing thresholds

The SP20-2019 USDA memo allows sponsors participating in the SFSP to adopt the new federal purchasing thresholds that were increased in June 2018. Local purchasing thresholds that are more restrictive still apply.

For questions, contact Megan Johnson at johnson_m@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-5983.

Crediting new food items in Child Nutrition Programs

The USDA released guidance on appropriate crediting methods for newly creditable food items: shelf-stable, dried, and semi-dried meat, poultry, and seafood products; coconut, hominy, corn masa, and corn flour; popcorn; surimi seafood; tempeh; and pasta products made of vegetable flour.

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

OUTREACH AND PARTNER UPDATES

Plan a summer meals kick-off event

The week of June 10th is National Summer Meal Program kickoff week. Start planning your event now to help build awareness among parents and caregivers and engage your community. View this No Kid Hungry toolkit for more information on planning a kick-off event.

For support with outreach efforts or to invite School Nutrition Unit staff to your event, contact Ashley Moen at moen_a@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6653.
RESOURCES

Grant writing resources

The SFSP Grant Opportunities webpage has resources to help sponsors plan and write grant applications. View these resources on SFSP’s Grant Opportunities webpage.

Food safety in summer meals training

This hour-long training from the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) promotes important food safety practices that help keep food safe for the children eating at summer meal sites. It contains three lessons that promote key food safety practices essential to a successful SFSP site: practicing good personal hygiene, checking and recording food temperatures; and proper cleaning and sanitizing. View the SFSP Sponsor and Site training webpage for more resources.

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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