Tuesday Morning - November 7, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Letter Sent to Appropriations on School Equipment Grant
SNA Submits Comment on Study of Non-Response to the School Meals Application Verification Process
Updated Infant and Preschool Meal Patterns in the NSLP and SBP
Contact Information Collection for NSLP Schools and CACFP Organizations
Free School Meals for Children in Puerto Rico
USDA Officials Visit Schools and Find Recipes During NSLW  

State Snapshots

D.C.’s School Meal Bills Scheduled for Hearing
Ohio Breakfast after the Bell Bill Referred to Committee  

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
SNF/Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Grants & Webinar
USDA Direct Certification Improvement Grants
Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) Meals Matter Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Letter Sent to Appropriations on School Equipment Grant

SNA signed on to a joint letter that was sent to Senate and House Appropriations Committee leaders on behalf of organizations committed to ensuring students receive fresh, healthy food daily through federal school meal programs. The letter was sent to the Hill on November 2, 2017, and offers support for the language included in the House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which lowers the threshold for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) School Kitchen Equipment Grant purchases from $5,000 to $1,000. This year’s USDA School Kitchen Grant program is seeking $30 million in the appropriations bill, which is vital since nearly 90% of schools need at least one piece of updated equipment. The letter goes on to explain the ways lowering the purchase price to $1,000 would be useful and thanks the members for their continued support of students and school meal programs.

SNA Submits Comment on Study of Non-Response to the School Meals Application Verification Process

In a Federal Register Notice published September 28, 2017, USDA announced a comment collection on its proposed study called, The Study of Non-Response to the School Meals Application Verification Process. SNA submitted a comment on the study on October 30, 2017. In SNA’s letter to the USDA, it was reiterated that the study’s designs should minimize burdens to respondents and recognize the depth of complexity of the program’s requirements. SNA also highlighted the challenges of communication with households and suggested that resources be made available to participating districts with language and literacy barriers for respondents. SNA hopes that study results, outcomes and best practices will be shared in order to assist school nutrition professionals in making their operations as successful as possible!

Updated Infant and Preschool Meal Patterns in the NSLP and SBP

This USDA policy update memo provides guidance on the updated School Meal Programs’ infant and preschool meal patterns. Some of the key changes include: a reduction from three age groups to two; introduction of solid foods at six months instead of four; certain foods are no longer credible; yogurt and whole eggs are creditable as meat alternates; ready-to-eat cereals can be served as a snack; meals can be reimbursed when a mother chooses to directly breastfeed her infant onsite; and deep-fat-fried foods cannot be part of a reimbursable meal. The memo details all of these changes, and others, and also provides an Attachment A, “Preschool and Older Grade Group Meal Pattern Requirements: Comparison Chart,” and Attachment B, “Questions and Answers.”

Contact Information Collection for NSLP Schools and CACFP Organizations

In a Federal Register notice on November 2, 2017, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced an information collection of contact information of schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and organizations that participate in the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for Sharing Team Nutrition’s Nutrition Education, Training and Technical Assistance Resources. Team Nutrition is an initiative that promotes lifelong healthy food choices and physical activity, and provides resources to Child Nutrition Program participants. Team Nutrition collects information from schools via the Team Nutrition Database so that they can communicate releases and updates of resources. FNS is expanding the database to collect the contact information of interested CACFP Organizations so that they, too, can receive electronic correspondence announcing Team Nutrition’s materials and resources. Comments are to be received on or before January 2, 2018, and can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov.

Free School Meals for Children in Puerto Rico

On October 27, 2017, USDA announced that children in Puerto Rico will receive free school meals as a result of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island. USDA FNS Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski announced that all students will receive free meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP), NSLP, CACFP from October 23 through December 31. A waiver was also previously approved, which allows schools and CACFP operators in that area to serve meals that do not meet menu planning requirements. This measure will potentially affect more than 1,550 schools and 450,000 children.

USDA Officials Visit Schools and Find Recipes During NSLW

Several USDA Officials celebrated National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in early October by visiting schools and trying out some recipes for success! The Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Brandon Lipps, visited Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C. where he got to try a fully-balanced lunch tray: beef and cheese tacos, black beans, corn-tomato salad, milk and a pear. Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski visited Neptune Middle School in Neptune, N.J. where she got to see the school’s newly renovated cafeteria and the healthy, delicious selections that they offer. The Southwest Regional Office helped Garland ISD’s Bradfield Elementary near Dallas liven up their NSLW with the Texas Farm Fresh Jump with Jill Live Tour. The show entertained students and taught them about both nutrition and Texas agriculture while using music and physical activity to promote health. NSLW celebrates school nutrition professionals’ dedication to consistent, healthy school lunch nationwide.

State Snapshots

D.C.’s School Meal Bills Scheduled for Hearing

Two amendments to the Washington, D.C. “Healthy Schools Act of 2010” are scheduled to be considered in a public hearing on November 16, 2017.

The “Healthy Students Amendment Act,” adds additional funding for schools implementing Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The “Universal Free Lunch for All Amendment Act of 2017” amends the “Healthy Schools Act of 2010” to provide free lunches for all students in District of Columbia Public Schools, charter schools and participating private schools.

Ohio Breakfast after the Bell Bill Referred to Committee

SB 191 establishes the Breakfast after the Bell Program in public schools. The Ohio bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Education.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars.

Best of #ANC17 3 of 3: Meal or No Meal - Offer vs. Serve Simplified
Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Register for this webinar to learn about meal patterns and examples of reimbursable breakfasts and lunches. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.  

SNF/Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Grants & Webinar

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), along with the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, are offering grants for direct delivery, grab n’ go, and second chance breakfast. These grants are available to high-need schools and districts in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah to cover the upfront costs often associated with the startup and implementation of breakfast in the classroom and grab n’ go programs, such as purchasing equipment, outreach efforts to parents, program promotion, and other related expenses. Grants are flexible, based on need, and accepted on a rolling deadline. Watch an archived webinar highlighting a previously funded district with a great panel of stakeholder perspectives including a school nutrition director, principal, and superintendent.

USDA Direct Certification Improvement Grants

USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its release of the fiscal year 2018 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Request for Applications (RFA). Grants are available to state agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to fund the costs of improving direct certification rates with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other needs-based assistance programs. States will have six opportunities to apply for Tier 1 or Tier 2 grants, beginning November 15, 2017, and ending February 15, 2019.

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) Meals Matter Webinars

FRAC offers this series of trainings to assist in operations of school meal programs.

Afterschool Meals Matter: Transitioning from Snacks to Meals
Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:00 pm ET
Serving meals, instead of or in addition to snacks, is an easy transition when programs have the right tools. Join this call to learn about the many ways it pays to serve meals afterschool and tips on how to transition your program from snacks to meals.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

A Look at Agriculture Secretaries of the Past
Secretary Tom Vilsack preceded current Secretary Sonny Perdue and served under President Barack Obama from January 20, 2009, to January 13, 2017. Prior to being nominated as Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack served as the 40th Governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. During his time in office, Secretary Vilsack helped to pass and implement the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” chaired the first-ever White House Rural Council and increased the number of farmer’s markets by 180% since 2006.

116 Days until SNA’s Legislative Action Conference
It’s that time of year again! We are looking forward to SNA’s annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC)—the 46th LAC is being held March 4-6, 2018 in Washington, D.C. And there’s more great news! The popular LAC Sweepstakes is back! The winner will enjoy FREE registration for LAC 2018, flights, accommodations for themselves and a guest, as well as recognition during the Opening General Session. Entries are due by November 27.

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (301) 686-3100
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