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Sept. 10, 2020
Program Spotlight National School Lunch Program Summer Meals Program
Program Spotlight 
Fall program operations and application

School Food Authorities (SFAs) and nonprofit organizations now have the option to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during the fall months while school instruction takes place. Alternatively, SFAs may also choose to continue to operate the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). CDE’s School Nutrition unit asks all sponsors to complete the following steps no later than Wednesday, Sept. 16:

  • If your organization will operate the SFSP, please complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the Excel site list document for all sites that will operate SFSP through Wednesday, Sept. 30.

  2. Complete the Fall 2020 Operations Survey and attach the Excel site list document to the survey before submitting.

CDE School Nutrition will use this information to complete the 2020 SFSP application on your behalf. Please note that sponsors will need to complete a new SFSP application in the Colorado Nutrition Portal for operations beginning Thursday, Oct. 1 in order to enroll in the new SFSP program year. Additional details to follow.

  • If your SFA will continue to operate NSLP and SBP, please complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the Fall 2020 Operations Survey.

  2. Complete the 2020-21 school year SNP application in the Colorado Nutrition Portal.

If you are a SFA interested in operating the Seamless Summer Option, please contact McKenna Pullen at or 720-644-7259.

For questions, please contact

Program Updates

NSLP/SBP claims closed until further notice

In light of the SFSP expansion announced on Aug. 31, CDE School Nutrition has requested that the USDA clarify how to claim meals served to students through the NSLP in July and August. CDE School Nutrition will share updates with you as they become available. In the meantime, claims for NSLP and SBP have been turned off until further notice. 

For claim questions, contact free&

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable training

Participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) requires sponsors to participate in annual training provided by CDE’s School Nutrition unit. For school year 2020-21, CDE School Nutrition will host a live webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 2:30- 3:30p.m. The FFVP training webinar will cover an overview of FFVP, highlight current flexibilities in place via waivers, FFVP operation during SFSP, financial management tips and leave some time for questions and answers. If you are an approved FFVP sponsor for school year 2020-21, the webinar link was emailed to the main contact. 

If you did not receive the link or have additional questions, contact Erica Boyd at or 720-693-3232.

NSLP/SBP meal pattern requirements and waivers

The meal pattern flexibilities provided under the 2018 Final Rule, Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements  are no longer available and sponsors must return to the requirements of the 2012 final rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) waived the requirements to serve meals that meet the meal pattern requirements during the 2020-21 school year. If a sponsor would like to opt in  and continue using the flexibilities provided under the 2018 final rule for milk, whole grains and sodium requirements, please fill out this form.

Sponsors that have difficulty meeting additional NSLP/SBP meal pattern requirements for the 2020-21 school year (e.g. vegetable subgroups, age grade groups, milk component, etc.) may request an exemption by completing this meal pattern waiver form. View this resource for more information on waiver approval considerations.

For questions, contact Kerri Link at or 720-660-5499.

Colorado Proud School Meal Day

Colorado Proud School Meal Day is Wednesday, Sept. 16. This gives schools a chance to celebrate Colorado agriculture and take advantage of the wonderful producers around our state. 

For ideas, resources, videos and more, visit: 

Register for the Mountain Plains crunch off 

Colorado is competing against other states in the Mountain Plains region (KS, MO, SD, ND, UT, WY, NE, and MT) to participate in the second annual Mountain Plains Crunch Off! We are competing to see which state can get the most “crunches” into a local apple, per capita. 

Colorado crunches can take place any time from Oct. 19 to 23. To get started, register for the event. Upon registering, you can download the Crunch Off Guide with resources, tips, and information on finding local apples in Colorado. Please note that crunches may be held in-person or virtually this year. 

The state with the most “crunches” will be crowned the Crunch Off champion and receive a prize. Help us take home the crown by registering now.

For questions, contact Erin Opgenorth at or 720-822-1883.

Program Tips
Join the student October Count and at-risk/free lunch reporting webinar

Join the School Nutrition Unit, in collaboration with the CDE School Auditing Office, on Thursday, Sept. 16, from 2 to 3 p.m.  for an informational webinar on at-risk/free lunch reporting for student October Count. Participants will learn how to:

  • Define Student October Count data submission 

  • Accurately report free and reduced-price eligibility

  • Maintain correct documentation for audit purposes

  • Use data validation recommendations

Staff involved in determining meal eligibility and staff responsible for October Count reporting should attend this webinar. To join the webinar, please click on this link: No pre-registration is necessary. Login information is also on the School Nutrition training webpage

For questions, email free&

Program Outreach/Partner Updates 

Notify families that Wednesday, Sept. 23, is the last day to apply for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) 

There is less than three weeks to make sure eligible families apply for P-EBT and more than 200,000 eligible students still need their families to apply for these food benefits. These benefits are a vital supplement to the school meals programs operating this fall.  

Please contact families in your district again via text and/or email to ensure  they:

  1. Know how to access P-EBT benefits

  2. Have the State Issued ID (SASID) numbers they need to complete applications for students in their households

  3. Learn of the Wednesday, Sept. 23, deadline to apply

Check out the P-EBT Outreach Toolkit or the CDE Communications Toolkit for materials in multiple languages. If you do not have the technology to send a text message to families, Hunger Free Colorado may be able to help. Contact Ashley Wheeland to explore this option.

For more information, contact

Support from School Nutrition 

The School Nutrition Unit is continuously working to support all that you do to run effective and efficient programs. Our main line of communication is the Dish; however, with things changing daily we know it is not always easy to stay up to date on all the new information and that many specific operation questions arise when new guidance is released. To support your individual needs and ensure that updated guidance has been received, someone from our office will be reaching out to you individually. Please use this time to ask any questions, problem solve, and provide feedback. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to feed children in Colorado!

Tune into ICN's September webinar focused on food safety

Register for the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) webinar on Thursday, Sept. 17, in conjunction with the USDA Office of Food Safety in celebration of National Food Safety Month. The webinar will highlight a bird’s eye view of your food safety plan from beginning to end, as we aim to mitigate risks throughout the flow of food from purchasing to serving to transporting and traceability.

For questions, contact

CDE School Nutrition is hiring

CDE School Nutrition is excited to announce we are hiring a Data and Evaluation Manager. This is an opportunity that combines data and evaluation expertise into one position. The Data and Evaluation Manager will ensure sound data and evaluation systems are in place to meet the unit’s strategic priorities. Please review the details in the job posting and share with anyone interested. The application closes on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Summer Meals Program Updates

Learn the latest updates on operating SFSP this fall on Sept. 16

Next Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. attend an informative webinar on how to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) this fall when students are learning in person or virtually. The School Nutrition Unit will answer your questions during a live Q&A following the presentation. Please submit any questions  you have through this form and register for the webinar now. No professional standards training hours will be provided for this training. If you do not receive a confirmation email after registering, please work with your IT department to add to your safe sender's list.

View Frequently Asked Questions about operating SFSP this fall

View these FAQs for more information on summer meals during the school year. The FAQs are updated weekly as updates are available. Sponsors can submit specific school year 2020-21 questions via the back-to-school question form

SFSP meal pattern requirements and waivers

School Food Authority sponsors have the option to follow the SFSP meal pattern or the NSLP/SBP meal patterns. All other sponsors must follow the SFSP meal pattern. Sponsors that have difficulty meeting meal pattern requirements may request an exemption by completing this meal pattern waiver form. View this resource for more information on waiver approval considerations.

For questions, please contact

Copyright © 2020 Colorado Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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