The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), including the School Nutrition Unit, will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. The DISH e-newsletter will be sent on Thursday, July 11.
The School Nutrition Unit offers a variety of training options to meet the needs of sponsor organizations. Last year, approximately 115 in-person, online, webinar and tailored one-on-one training sessions were held across the state. Attending these training sessions can; reduce non-compliance findings during Administrative Reviews, promote understanding the “why” behind regulations, provide opportunities to ask questions in real time, help meet professional development training requirements, build new skills and allow networking with peers. Sponsor feedback and training evaluations provide valuable information to help continually improve and update training options. For example, the recent Summer Sponsor training evolved from traditional classroom-style training into conference style training, with flexible breakout sessions. Based on this feedback, short Summer Sponsor training videos were also added to the online training catalog. Thank you for continuing to share thoughts and ideas on how to improve training.
Administrative Reviews for the 2019-20 school year
The Administrative Review (AR) cycle for the 2019-20 school year is now posted on the AR webpage. The review cycle may vary pending approval of a waiver request submitted by the School Nutrition Unit for flexibility of the Administrative Review Cycle requirement; however, if your school food authority (SFA) is not scheduled for a review during the 2019-20 school year, a review will not be conducted next year. The School Nutrition Unit will send an update as soon as possible.
Thank you to Joni Bilderbeck, Alamosa Schools nutrition director, and her team for being some of Colorado’s most dedicated school lunch heroes! Also, thank you to all districts and sponsor organizations for the continued support of child nutrition programs to ensure students are offered healthy and delicious meals and snacks every day. The School Nutrition Unit appreciates everything Colorado’s child nutrition professionals do.
For information about how to be featured as a School Lunch Hero, contact Vivien Skrupskis at email@example.com or 303-866-6661.
Denise Meredith is leaving the School Nutrition Unit for her next adventure - retirement! Over the past two years, Denise has provided support, training and technical assistance to SFAs and sponsor organizations across the state. Her positive attitude and commitment to the School Nutrition team’s mission helped ensure the success of child nutrition programs. We wish her all the best!
The state legislature recently passed a bill that provides incentives for purchasing local food, HB 19-1132. Funding for this program is limited and SFAs will need to apply to receive incentives. The program begins with a three-year pilot which will provide additional incentives for the purchase of local food in addition to a grant that will be awarded to a statewide non-profit organization to provide technical assistance to SFAs to strengthen their Farm to School program. The School Nutrition Unit is working on processes and procedures to streamline the program and will release more information as it becomes available.
Provide input on Hunger Free Colorado’s Meal Application Outreach
Hunger Free Colorado is working with the School Nutrition Unit to better understand the needs and challenges of SFAs through its needs assessment. Hunger Free Colorado would like valuable input from SFAs to help increase awareness of school meal applications for families. SFAs operating the National School Lunch Program are encouraged to have individuals who oversee and/or support the free & reduced-price application process to fill out this survey. Feedback from the survey will help Hunger Free Colorado identify how to best support enrollment in Colorado's school nutrition programs.
To learn more about Smarter Lunchrooms, take the third on-demand 30-minute training on the four-step path: spot, plan, do and prove. The four-step path to a Smarter Lunchroom helps identify actionable changes in the lunchroom.
As a reminder, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors can add new sites to their application throughout the summer. Since new site applications must be approved prior to program operation, please submit applications at least two weeks prior to the site’s start date. Also, please be sure to keep applications updated with the most current information. Changes to meal service times, contact information and other relevant information should be continuously updated.
Delivered by a School Nutrition staff member during an on-site summer review
Mailed directly to the sponsor address, more details coming soon
Incorporate site activities with summer meals
Activities that are paired with summer meals help kids and teens stay active and keep learning during the summer. Activities have also been shown to increase participation. View the summer activity guide created by Hunger Free Colorado to learn how your summer site can incorporate simple, fun and engaging activities.
Double Up Food Bucks promotion
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) doubles the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits spent at participating markets and food retail stores, helping families bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers. Sponsors can help promote this program at summer meal sites by ordering promotional materials available in English and Spanish. View the Double Up Food Buck’s webpage to download and order materials for your own sites.