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 Administrative Update: A Publication of Child Nutrition and Food Distribution
 

In this Issue
May 2013

Direct Certification for SY 13-14

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Helps Boost Consumption at Low-Income Elementary Schools

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

HealthierUS School Challenge:
Recognizing Nutrition Excellence in Schools
Are You Ready?

NDFoods Communication

New USDA Nutrition Education Resources

Salad Bar Resource

School Nutrition Employee Recognition Week

Searching Claim Payments

Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

USDA Policy Updates

 

Direct Certification for SY 13-14

The Direct Certification system is designed to automatically notify districts if an enrolled student becomes Directly Certified for free meals at school.  The process of matching enrolled students to SNAP and TANF records continues during the summer months, but notifications are not sent out to schools.  In July, DPI completes a process in the Direct Certification system that re-evaluates the eligibility of all Direct Certification students in the system.  If a student was eligible the prior school year but is not longer receiving SNAP or TANF benefits the student is identified as ineligible for Direct Certification and the name will not be on the school’s Direct Certification notification list.  If that same student does become eligible later in the school year, the student’s name will then show up on the notification list. 

The goal of the Direct Certification process is to eliminate the need for an eligible household to submit a Free/Reduced Price Application for free meal benefits and therefore eliminate the need for the school to evaluate the application form.  In order for this to work to its maximum benefit, schools need to access their new school year Direct Certification notification list as soon as possible.  Once DPI opens up STARS enrollment for the new school year, the Direct Certification lists will be available to districts when the district uploads their new school year enrollment into STARS.  It is very important that the person responsible for doing this for your district is aware of this so they are prepared to complete this process as early as possible.  In most cases, early August would be a good timeframe. 

As you complete this school year, please be reminded of the following details:

  • Students eligible for Direct Certification this school year remain eligible for free meals for the first 30 days of next school year or until a new eligibility determination is done.  These students are not automatically eligible for Direct Certification next school year unless their names show up on your new notification list next school year.
  • The district must notify households that have been determined eligible for Direct Certification.  A prototype letter is available on our website. 
  • Districts receive an e-mail notification that Direct Certification students have been identified.  The district must go into STARS and enroll the students into Direct Certification.  The e-mails are for notification purposes only, they are not your list of Direct Certification students.
  • A training document on the Direct Certification process is available on the DPI website. 
  • If you have any questions about Direct Certification contact Linda Schloer at lkschloer@nd.gov

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Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Helps Boost Consumption at Low-Income Elementary Schools

A new study conducted by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, found that students at elementary schools participating in USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program consumed 15 percent more fruits and vegetables. Almost all students tried the fruit and vegetable snacks (97 percent and 84 percent of students, respectively); and a substantial majority ate most or all of snacks provided (86 percent and 61 percent, respectively).

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Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

There has been some confusion about the amount of FFVP grant funds listed in NDFoods and how a school should determine the total amount of FFVP funds available to that school. 

Example: The school’s total grant award for the year is $14,050. Ten percent of the total grant award ($1,405) may be spent on administrative expenses. The NDFoods system displays the total grant award and the total amount of funds that can be used for administrative expenses.  The administrative funds are not in addition to the total grant award; instead, the funds are a portion of the total award. 

If you have questions, call Kaye Knudson at 701-328-2275 or e-mail ksknudson@nd.gov.

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HealthierUS School Challenge:
Recognizing Nutrition Excellence in Schools
Are You Ready?

The training sessions are developed specifically for North Dakota school foodservice authorized representatives, school principals, and school foodservice managers and/or head cooksDue to the challenging menu criteria for school lunches, it is critical to have the school foodservice staff person who plans menus attend the training. To find out the criteria required for the HealthierUS School Challenge go to the Team Nutrition web site and click on “HealthierUS Schools” on the left side.

There is no registration fee for this training.  Lunch is on your own.  It would be beneficial for interested schools to attend with at least two staff, one in charge of menu planning and one to assure the HUSSC criteria are met for the nutrition education, physical activity, and other foods available in school.  All schools (elementary, middle, high) are eligible to apply for the HealthierUS School Challenge certification. There is a monetary award of $500-$2,000 for HUSSC award winning schools.

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NDFoods Communication

Please be aware that a large amount of information about processes within NDFoods is communicated through the work queue on the NDFoods main page. It is suggested that you log into NDFoods a couple times a week to see if you have any messages.

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New USDA Nutrition Education Resources

USDA recently released two new Standards-Based nutrition education curricula for elementary grades.  These interactive and exploratory lessons are a way to connect gardens with nutrition messages in the classroom, cafeteria or lunchroom, and at home.   

  • The Great Garden Detective adventures (Grades 3-4)
  • Dig In! (Grades 5-6)

Both resources are available on the USDA Team Nutrition web

Also available are:
Serving Up MyPlate Graphics for School Menus

Jazz up your elementary school meal menus and encourage healthy choices with these free graphics from Team Nutrition.

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Salad Bar Resource

USDA recently released a new policy memo about the use of salad bars in the National School Lunch Program.  The memo is an excellent resource to assist schools in effectively using a salad bar as part of the service of reimbursable meals; including information on portion sizes, point of service meal counts, nutrient analysis and food safety for school meals.

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School Nutrition Employee Recognition Week

We all like to be recognized for our work. School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week, May 6-10, 2013, is a time to say thank you to your foodservice employees. Showing how much you appreciate a school nutrition employee can be as simple as saying thank you or as special as holding a reception to recognize their achievements. If you need creative ideas for the event, visit a list of ideas that range from simple to extravagant, to celebrate your hardworking child nutrition employees.

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Searching Claim Payments

A document has been added to the NDFoods HELP documents for sponsors to retrieve their payment information. On the Child Nutrition home web page; click on the ‘NDFoods Help Documents’ link (under the NDFoods icon). The process is listed under the ‘Claims for Reimbursement’ section.  Click on the Help icon on the Search Claim Payments line ----If you have any questions, please contact Carla at 328-2319.   

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Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

What are healthy food choices? What is a balanced diet?
Serving Up MyPlate
is a new collection of classroom materials that helps elementary school teachers integrate nutrition education into math, science, English Language Arts, and health. This yummy curriculum introduces the importance of eating from all five food groups using the MyPlate icon and a variety of hands–on activities. Students also learn the importance of physical activity to staying healthy.

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USDA Policy Updates

Categorical Eligibility of Children in Foster Care
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 authorized the categorical eligibility for foster children and defined a foster child as “a foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of an agency that administers a State plan under part B or E of title IV of the Social Security Act; or a foster child who a court has placed with a caretaker household.”  This memo provides additional questions and answers and clarification to existing USDA policy. 

Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for SY 13-14
The interim rule, “National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010”, publish in the Federal Register on June 17, 2011, requires schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school foodservice account for lunches served to students not certified eligible for free or reduced price meals.  The rule proves two ways for schools to meet their requirement: either through gradually raising the prices charged for “paid” lunches or through providing an equivalent amount of funds from non-Federal sources to the nonprofit school food service account.  This memo identifies specific flexibilities that schools may use when implementing the paid lunch equity requirement for SY 2013-2014.  In addition, the memo outlines a process whereby a state agency may exempt a school from the paid lunch revenue requirements if the school: has been certified as meeting the meal pattern requirements, and; can demonstrate that the required increase to paid lunch prices or revenue contributions would case the school to exceed the three-month operating balance limit. 

Guidance Related to the ADA Amendments Act
The purpose of this memo is to provide schools participating in the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) with additional clarifications on making dietary accommodations for children with disabilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 amended the Federal definition of disability, broadening it to cover additional individuals.  Because of this broader definition, it is reasonable that program operators may see more children identified by their licensed physician as having a food-related disability than were identified previously. 

Enhancing the School Food Safety Program – Frequently Asked Questions
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 strengthens the food safety requirements in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and all other Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) programs operated in schools.  This policy memo provides guidance on the implementation of the statutory requirements.

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North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
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