Tuesday Morning - August 29, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Federal Register: Comment Request on Summer Meals Study
USDA Announces 2018 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Request for Application
SNA Submits Comment on USDOE’s Posting: Evaluation of Existing Regulations
USDA Foods Encourages Feedback
JCN&M Study Evaluates Team Up Pilot Workshops
Share Your Story on SNA’s Action Network!

State Snapshots

Vegan Food Comes to Los Angeles

Mark Your Calendars

SNA’s Upcoming Webinars
SNF/Breakfast in the Classroom Partners Offering Alternative Breakfast Grants
Food Research and Action Center Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner

Federal Policy

Federal Register: Comment Request on Summer Meals Study

On August 22, 2017 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) introduced an information collection, which invites the public and other agencies to comment on the Summer Meals Study. The Summer Meals Study is intended to develop an understanding of the facilitators and barriers to program implementation; perceived benefits and challenges for sponsor and site participation; nutritional quality of meals served; parental awareness; factors influencing child participation; and the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option. Comments are due by October 23, 2017.

USDA Announces 2018 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Request for Application

The USDA FNS announced in a memo its release of the FY 2018 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Request for Applications (RFA). The grants are to fund State Agency initiatives and projects that work to improve direct certification rates through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other needs-based assistance programs. The grants ultimately intend to assist States in improving access, increasing accuracy and reducing paperwork in the NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP) by simplifying the certification process for free school meals. Under the 2018 RFA, States will have six opportunities to apply for Tier 1 or Tier 2 grants beginning November 15, 2017 and ending February 15, 2019

SNA Submits Comment on USDOE’s Posting: Evaluation of Existing Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education requested comments in the Federal Register on June 22, 2017 regarding regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification. SNA submitted a comment on the proposal, Evaluation of Existing Regulations, highlighting the link between nutrition and education and the importance of providing all students with access to nutritionally adequate meals. SNA’s comment goes on to explain the two main reasons why student access to school nutrition program benefits is frequently limited: 1) a lack of commitment by key stakeholders in the local school and community to participate in available programs; and 2) a variety of barriers within the school that inhibit student participation.

USDA Foods Encourages Feedback

USDA Foods wants to be sure that customer expectations are being met so they are encouraging feedback from those who use their products. They want to hear about likes, dislikes, expectations and any issues that have been experienced with USDA Foods. Recipient Agencies (RA) who have issues or concerns with a USDA Foods product should contact their State Distributing Agency (SDA) who will then report the complaint through the Web-based Supply Chain Management system (WBSCM).

JCN&M Study Evaluates Team Up Pilot Workshops

To help districts meet the challenges of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA Foods and Nutrition Services created Team Up for School Nutrition Success (Team Up). Team Up provides tailored technical assistance to school nutrition professionals in order to support them in enhancing their school meal programs while maintaining strong student participation. In a new paper published in the latest issue of SNA’s  The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, Karen Weber Cullen, DrPH, RD and Keith Rushing, PhD, RD compiled participant evaluations of a Team Up for School Nutrition Success pilot workshop taking place at ICN in in Oxford, Mississippi.  The Team Up for School Nutrition Success Workshop Evaluation Study: Three Month Results, found that overall, workshop attendees saw the mentoring and support they received, in addition to the assessment of their program and creation of action plans for improvement, as “very important.” Read more about the study in SNA’s web story.

Share Your Story on SNA’s Action Network!

It’s important for those on the front line of school nutrition – a.k.a. you! – to share your stories. Local stories and firsthand experiences are powerful tools that can be shared with Congress and used to help influence policy. Go to SNA’s Action Network website to share a few words on stopping the block, breakfast commodities, program simplification and other school nutrition program topics! Tell us what issues are important to you and your thoughts on SNA’s 2017 Position Paper, and you might be featured on the website!

State Snapshots

Vegan Food Comes to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Unified School district (LAUSD) will be piloting a new vegan menu at select high schools. Students from seven LAUSD campuses will be part of a taste-test and asked to choose their favorite options. Read more about this new initiative in the LA Daily News.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Registration is open for the September 6th webinar, “Host A Legislator Site Visit.” Read all about it and other upcoming professional development webinars.

Host a Legislator Site Visit
Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Bringing your legislator in for a behind-the-scenes look at the daily operation of your school cafeteria could make the difference in preventing block grants, preserving funding and expanding commodity support. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Best of ANC#17 1 of 3: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Register for this webinar and learn important updates to requirements related to accommodating children with disabilities participating in the School Meal Programs. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Seafood: It's Time to Catch On!
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
Register for this webinar and learn important updates to requirements related to accommodating children with disabilities participating in the School Meal Programs. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

SNF/Breakfast in the Classroom Partners Offering Alternative Breakfast Grants

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. The grant is 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. Visit http://breakfastintheclassroom.org/grants for more information.

Food Research & Action Center Webinars

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) offers the Meals Matter webinar series to assist school nutrition professionals in the operation of their programs.

Debriefing Summer and Setting Goals for Next Year
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 1:00 pm ET
With summer meals wrapping up, early fall is the perfect time to debrief with partners, identify your program's strengths and weaknesses, and to create goals for next year. Join this call to learn about ways to look back and evaluate your summer program’s challenges and successes and use the knowledge to increase participation next year.

Weekend Meals, Holidays and Emergency Closures
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 1:00 pm ET
Serving meals during weekends and holidays ensures access to nutritious meals for the children attending your program during the week and greatly increases the number of meals you can claim for reimbursement to help maintain the financial health of your afterschool program. Join us to learn more about what it would mean for your afterschool program to extend its service into weekends and school holidays. We will also discuss how to address emergency closures, specifically with vendors, meal storage, and participant communication.

Unpaid School Meal Fees
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 3:00 pm ET
Over the summer, school districts were required by USDA to put into effect an official, unpaid meal policy that addresses what happens when a hungry student cannot pay for their school meal. What is included in the various district policies, and how have several states gotten involved? This webinar will explore the recent outcomes of USDA’s unpaid meal policy mandate and share resources for implementing an effective policy that does not harm or shame students.  


Cafeteria Chat Corner

A Look at Agriculture Secretaries of the Past
Earl Butz served as Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Brought up on a dairy farm in Indiana, Butz worked many different jobs in the agrarian field, including Dean of Agriculture and Education at Purdue University, before he was appointed Secretary of Agriculture in 1954. Much of Butz’s time in office was dedicated to repealing and replacing many New Deal era farm support programs, such as the program that paid corn farmers not to sow all of their land. Earl Butz was a controversial Secretary of Agriculture and, after several political gaffes, he resigned from office in 1976.

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