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April 2019


What is a Community Eligibility Provision?

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income eligible areas that allows all enrolled students to eat breakfast and lunch at no cost to the families. Instead of collecting income applications and claiming students’ reimbursable meals based on individual eligibility, schools are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students that participate in other nutrition assistance programs.

The CEP can help reduce childhood hunger by guaranteeing nutritious and fulfilling meals at school in high-need communities. Schools implementing this provision have seen benefits in other child nutrition programs, such as an increase in program participation, reductions in unpaid meal charges, alleviation of benefit issuance paperwork and a solution to the stigma associated with receiving free or reduced-price meals. Learn about HOPE Online’s experience with CEP by visiting the School Nutrition homepage.

For questions about CEP, or if your school and/or district is notified this month about CEP eligibility, please contact Benjamin Wetherbee at or 303-866-6529.

Breakfast After the Bell: Mandated sites for 2019-20 school year released

The Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program (BABNP) requires public schools with 70 % or more students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch to offer all students breakfast at no cost after the first bell. Visit the BABNP webpage to view the released school sites mandated to participate for the 2019-20 school year.

For questions, contact Jonathan Padia at or 303-866-3685.

School Nutrition Program application opens May 1

The 2019-20 school year School Nutrition Program application, including the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) grant application, will open on Wednesday, May 1. More information regarding the renewal process, including the application instructions, revision instructions and process overview, will be released shortly.

For general application questions, contact Benjamin Wetherbee at or 303-866-6529. For FFVP application questions, contact Erica Boyd at or 303-866-6306.

Meal Pattern Flexibilities reminder

For the 2019-20 school year, schools that offer flavored milk (1% milk fat or less) must also offer an unflavored milk (1% milk fat or less) option at each meal service. This rule pertains to the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program but is not applicable to the Special Milk Program or Afterschool Snack Program.

For questions, contact Jonathan Padia at or 303-866-3685.

Talking with your Administration

The School Nutrition Unit recommends that School Food Authorities (SFAs) meet with school administrators, including superintendents and principals, to discuss this year’s successes and challenges and to identify areas of improvement for next year. Coordinate meetings in advance to ensure a successful and timely meeting.

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at or 303-866-5985.

School Programs 16-2019: School Breakfast Program substitution of vegetables for fruit

Effective immediately, School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the School Breakfast Program may credit any vegetable offered, including potatoes and other starchy vegetables, in place of fruit without including vegetables from other subgroups in the weekly menus. The provision of this flexibility is only active through Sept. 30.

For questions, contact Jonathan Padia at or 303-866-3685.

Hiring Flexibility Under Professional Standards

The USDA released the Hiring Flexibility Under Professional Standards Final Rule. The final rule adds four flexibilities to the hiring standards for new school nutrition program directors in small local educational agencies (LEAs). For small LEAs (2,499 or fewer students), relevant food service experience rather than school nutrition program experience is allowable for new directors. The rule also provides state agency discretion for two of the flexibilities, which CDE’s School Nutrition Unit will allow:

  • Volunteer or unpaid work will be considered as relevant experience in small LEAs (2,499 or fewer students).
  • Less than the required years of food service experience will be allowed when an applicant for a new director position has the minimum required education in a LEA with fewer than 500 students.

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at or 303-866-5985.


Register for a free sustainability event by April 5

As sustainability issues become increasingly important to Colorado school districts, a number of districts have implemented recycling, waste reduction and compost collection programs. Join fellow school district professionals and local government officials on Wednesday, May 1, for EcoCycle’s 2019 Symposium for Colorado School Districts: Moving Your Schools Toward Zero Waste Through Recycling, Composting and Waste Reduction. This free event will give attendees the opportunity to share best practices, learn about what leading districts are doing and gain new insights on how to start or expand existing school programs. Register by Friday, April 5.

For questions, email or 303-444-6634.

Child and Adult Care Food Program: New SFA webpage

The Child and Adult Care Food Program under the Nutrition Services Branch at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is excited to announce the addition of a School Food Authority (SFA) webpage. This new webpage will be updated as CDHPE continues to work with CDE to streamline the SFA application and review process.

For questions, contact Meghan George-Nichols at or 303-692-6277.


Register for Free and Reduced Price School Meals Program and Direct Certification training sessions

The School Nutrition Unit will host four in-person Free and Reduced Price Meal Program/Direct Certification training sessions throughout July. The training is designed for nutrition staff at both beginner and intermediate levels operating and administering free and reduced price school meal programs. To learn more and to register, visit CDE’s Professional Development webpage.

For questions, contact free&

FFVP Nutrition Education Resource

These suggested student readings include nutrition education about fruits, vegetables, gardening and farming. Use them in the classroom in conjunction with the FFVP. Visit the FFVP webpage for more nutrition education opportunities.

For questions, contact Erica Boyd at or 303-866-6306.

School Lunch Hero Day

School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 3. Visit the School Nutrition Association’s website for resources and materials to help plan your celebration.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at or 303-866-6661.

Smarter Lunchrooms training

Take the on-demand 30-minute training outlining The 60 Strategies and Navigating the Scorecard Part 1 to help create a Smarter Lunchroom. In Part 1 of this training, participants will learn about the Smarter Lunchroom Scorecard and focus on the first four categories of change.

For questions, contact Kristi Rolfsen at or 303-866-5985.

Apply for the Improving Community Food Systems Grant

The Colorado Health Foundation provides funding to support coalitions and organizations in developing implementation plans focused on strengthening local food systems. This funding opportunity supports a nine-month planning process to address Goal 2 and 3 of the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. Apply by June 15.  

For questions, please email or 303-953-3600.

The Food Buying Guide Calculator app

The Food Buying Guide (FBG) calculator is now available on the FBG mobile app. The FBG calculator assists in streamlining food ordering with appropriate meal pattern crediting information. With this new release, SFAs can now create shopping lists on the go.

For questions, contact Jonathan Padia at or 303-866-3685.

Reimbursement Claim Due Dates

Reimbursement Claim due dates are posted on the School Nutrition website. February 2019 claims are due Monday, April 29.


New User and Sponsor Forms

CO Child Nutrition Hub users can now complete the New User Form to quickly add, change, update or delete users in the CO Child Nutrition Hub. Sponsors new to operating the Summer Food Service Program can now complete the New Sponsor Form to request Hub access.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at or 303-866-6661.

Posted Review Schedule

The summer 2019 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) review schedule is posted. The review schedule along with resources to prepare for the review are located on the SFSP Review webpage.



Area eligibility clarification

The School Nutrition Unit received updated guidance from the USDA Mountain Plains Regional Office regarding SFSP area eligibility. Please note: another school's data may be used to determine site eligibility as long as the site is located within the attendance area of the school. Visit the SFSP Program Requirements page for more information about site eligibility.

The Lunch Lizard video series

This spring and summer innovative summer programs will be highlighted in The DISH and best practice strategies from across the state will be shared. In the first of a four-part video series, learn about Mesa County Valley School District 51's Lunch Lizard Summer Program and the impact it has on the community.

Application deadline reminder

The deadline to submit SFSP renewal applications is Wednesday, May 1. Sponsors are strongly encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible to allow time for edits if needed. Visit the SFSP How to Apply page for more information including deadlines, application instructions and contact the CDE staff member assigned to your application packet with any questions.

For questions, contact McKenna Pullen at or 720-520-0335.

Department of Defense (DoD) Foods in the SFSP

Sponsors that prepare their own meals may request to receive food from the DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for use in the SFSP. This program operates on a limited budget during the summer and sponsors are not guaranteed to receive DoD foods if requested.

For questions, contact Deborah Cameron at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) at or 303-866-5100.


2019 Reimbursement Rates

The 2019 SFSP reimbursement rates are published and available on the SFSP claim webpage.

Site Promotion and Outreach



The Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit is designed to help summer sponsors and partner organizations inform families of nearby summer meal sites. The outreach toolkit includes sample social media messaging, a robo call from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, printable postcards, flyers and posters, a news release template and more. Promote the summer meals program to families in your community to help ensure all youth in Colorado have access to nutritious meals this summer.


Funding Opportunity for Food Banks

The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition is pleased to announce their inaugural grant program, Rooted in Evidence. Grant funds are available to eligible food banks working to support innovative and dynamic programming to improve the health and dietary quality of emergency food recipients. Grant proposals are due April 26. For more information, visit the Gretchen Swanson website.

For questions, email

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

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