Tuesday Morning - August 27, 2019

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

SNA Publishes 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report
Breakfast for All: A Strategy to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism in Schools
The Healthy Meals Resource System is Now Part of the Institute of Child Nutrition
FNS Issues Guidance for Smart Snacks in Schools
FNS Releases Best Practices to Minimize Food Waste
Team Nutrition Unveils Back to School Resources 

State Snapshots

Iowa Schools Expected to Offer Free Meals

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars
NFSN: School Garden Support Organization Network Crowdfunding Webinar
ICN: Strategies to Promote a Culture of Food Safety
FRAC: Upcoming Conference Call and Webinars
FNS Instruction: Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods
Host a Legislator: Cafeteria Site Visit

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

SNA Publishes 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report

On August 20th, SNA published its 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report , based on survey responses of school nutrition directors nationwide. The report reveals that whole grains will remain a staple on school lunch trays this fall, as 90% of school districts will exceed whole grain mandates. More than 70% reported that about three-quarters or more of grains offered will be whole grain rich. The survey also explored emerging menu trends and unpaid student meal debt. SNA’s press release summarizes key findings. SNA members can access the full report here.

Overall Findings:

  • More than 70% of districts reported that about three-quarters or more of grains offered will be whole-grain rich.
  • Despite the prevalence of whole grains, more than 80% of districts surveyed identified at least one barrier to increasing whole-grain options.
  • Surveyed districts, nearly 90%, are continually to improve student acceptance of whole-grain items.
  • Customizable menu options are offered at nearly 85% of districts.
  • About 43% of districts with unpaid meal debt reported that the number of students without adequate funds has increased since the previous school year.
  • The median amount of unpaid meal debt per-district rose by 70% since SY2012-13.

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Breakfast for All: A Strategy to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism in Schools

The Georgetown University think tank Future Ed, has published a report called Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism . There are almost eight million public-school students chronically absent each year in the United States, and this report examines absenteeism in-depth to provide operators, policymakers and educators practical strategies for improving attendance. Through this research, Future Ed recommended several approaches but specifically Breakfast for All. This section cites surveys from Baltimore and Philadelphia public schools that implemented universal free breakfast programs. After a year, participating schools reported improved academic results and lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness among students. Studies continue to reflect the overwhelmingly positive effect that eating breakfast has on students and educational outcomes. This report further states that students who do not eat breakfast are more likely to make errors, have poorer memory recall and are far more likely to be absent or late to school. Read the full report here

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The Healthy Meals Resource System is Now Part of the Institute of Child Nutrition

Team Nutrition’s Healthy Meals Resource System (HMRS) is now part of the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) and will be located on the Child Nutrition Sharing Site (CNSS). The CNSS is an online resource center that gives child nutrition professionals access to high-quality advice and free training materials for healthy meal planning. While this website provides valuable information for the child nutrition community, it also allows industry partners, state agencies and allied organizations to submit their individualized resources and training supplies. All materials submitted must meet the current federal regulations and policies.

Overall recommendations include:

  • Involve a diverse range of operators in the designing and testing of forms before implementation;
  • Ensure that software companies create data systems that schools and SFAs are aware of and fully understand all program requirements and changes;
  • Increase the promotion of toolkits and program materials associated with the certification and verification process, in particular, the Verification Toolkit;
  • Support and specify training for teachers and other non-foodservice staff that are involved in serving program meals outside of the cafeteria; and
  • Provide case-by-case flexibility to state agencies in applying the SNAP Direct Certification threshold standard.

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FNS Issues Guidance for Smart Snacks in Schools

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has released A Guide to Smart Snacks in School for the 2019-2020 school year. This updated guide provides useful resources and systems on how to select appealing foods that meet Smart Snack criteria for vending machines, fundraisers, school stores and snack bars. This online resource is available to all schools, childcare providers and summer meal programs. 

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FNS Releases Best Practices to Minimize Food Waste

In a policy memo published on August 16th, FNS provided program operators with best practices to minimize food waste for privately donated foods. This memo offers U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) methods and procedures for all food waste activities, donated food storage, USDA commodities, distribution and product dating. These planning methods are meant for all nutrition programs but are a crucial resource, especially for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), state agencies and other emergency feeding organizations. 

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Team Nutrition Unveils Back to School Resources

Team Nutrition has created a Back to School Resources webpage for SY2019-20. This new webpage offers free event ideas, unique nutrition posters, sample taste test ballots and tools to reduce food waste. Team Nutrition also provides useful suggestions and fun tips to assist nutrition professionals, teachers, students and families through Create Your Own MyPlate Menu and free school garden resources.  

State Snapshots

Iowa Schools Expected to Offer Free Meals

According to Iowa Public Radio, this year, more schools in Iowa are expected to offer free meals through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Since 2015, more Iowa schools continue to enroll yearly in CEP, and last year, 157 schools participated in the program. This trend of growth is expected to continue this year. Some schools in Iowa already qualify for CEP but choose not to participate because the reimbursement rate is often too low to consolidate the budget. According to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), the CEP program provides free lunch and breakfast to nearly 13.6 million children nationwide.

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Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars

Check out upcoming SNA webinars, including the "Host a Legislator: Cafeteria Site Visit" webinar. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

School Nutrition Association Webinars
Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

NFSN: School Garden Support Organization Network Crowdfunding Webinar
Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is hosting a webinar on the School Garden Support Organization Network (SGSO). The ability to raise adequate financial support tops the list of challenges of school garden programs both at individual school and SGSO levels. This webinar will explore the concept of crowdfunding through online and social media efforts and describe fundraising tactics that are focused on raising smaller amounts of money from a large number of people. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization Network. Register here

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ICN: Strategies to Promote a Culture of Food Safety
Thursday, August 29, 2019, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT 
ICN is hosting a webinar to identify strategies that promote hygienic behaviors and a food-safety culture within your program and school. Education specialists and site supervisors will describe detailed ways to encourage and cultivate food safety and how to put strategies into action. This webinar aims to identify safe practices that school administrators, teachers and all members of your nutrition team can use to ensure that students remain healthy and safe. Register here.

FRAC: Upcoming Conference Call and Webinars 
FRAC is hosting two webinars and a conference call to discuss the opportunities and challenges in child nutrition programs including the Summer Meals Program (SMP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the Afterschool Meal Program (AMP).

  • Summer Meals Matter Conference Call: Thursday, September 5, 2019, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT Now that the new school year has started, it’s a great time to reflect on summer programs and identify what worked, what didn’t and the opportunities to expand participation next summer. Register here
  • Breakfast Matters Webinar: Thursday, September 12, 2019, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT This webinar will discuss the barriers to establishing and maintaining School Breakfast Programs (SBP) in charter schools. Register here
  • Afterschool Meals Matter Webinar: Thursday, September 19, 2019, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT
    This webinar covers the ten things operators should know about managing an Afterschool Meal Program (AMP), including resources for getting started, program expansion, eligibility requirements and current participation data. Register here

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FNS Instruction: Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods
Thursday, September 5, 2019, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is hosting a refresher webinar for regional operators, state agencies, recipient agencies, and warehouses on FNS Instruction 709-5: Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods. This webinar will highlight five key areas that focus on the shipment and receipt of all USDA Foods. These key areas include procedure, arrangement and delivery, guidance on inspection, receipt materials and the displacement and replacement of USDA Foods. This webinar applies to all USDA food programs but features special information on electronic invoicing for the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) and other relevant filings. Register here

Host a Legislator: Cafeteria Site Visit
Wednesday, September 25,2019, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT
Looking to make a splash this school year? Be a school meal advocate and invite your legislator for a behind-the-scenes look at your school nutrition program! With the 2020 elections around the corner, your legislators are looking for an opportunity to engage with your school and the community. Join SNA and a panel of experienced school nutrition professionals to get an exclusive look at how to host a legislator for a cafeteria site visit. This webinar will feature an update on Cafeteria Site Visit resources, information on what to expect when conducting a visit, and tips on how to earn support for your essential programs.

Mystery Chat Corner

In 1998, what movie became the first in North America to earn more than $600 million in ticket sales?
Titanic

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