Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Announcements from the WI DPI School Nutrition Team (SNT)
- Updates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Updates from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) School Nutrition Team (SNT)
- Other Updates and Information
USDA Policy Memorandum SP 15-2021: Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Operations in School Year 2021-2022
Spotlight question and answer: #29
Q: Should LEAs collect school meal applications if they are operating SSO? Generally, the school meal application is used to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals.
A: By extension, eligibility for school meals is used to determine eligibility for P-EBT. LEAs must make school meal applications available as needed to certify children for free and reduced-price meals, and that information may be used to qualify newly eligible children for SY 2021-2022 and summer 2022 P-EBT benefits.
The Department of Education has developed a Fact Sheet to support school districts in determining alternate methods of allocating Title I funds when school meal data is unavailable. FNS encourages LEAs to consider the options outlined in the Fact Sheet for data purposes that are unrelated to school meal or P-EBT eligibility. For example, the options outlined in the Fact Sheet may be used to determine which schools qualify for additional State and local funding based on need.
FNS and the Department of Education will continue to provide guidance to schools to successfully implement programs authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) while operating under Child Nutrition Program Nationwide Waivers during the COVID–19 pandemic. FNS encourages stakeholders with questions about the waivers and ESEA programs to contact the Department of Education at OESE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program – State Implementation Progress Report to Congress – SY 2017-18 & SY 2018-19
Now available on the FNS Website for State Agency reference and information is the Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program – State Implementation Progress Report to Congress – SY 2017-2018 & SY 2018-2019.
This report responds to the requirement of The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 - to assess the effectiveness of State and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals and provides information regarding state performance, key findings, and state best practices.
Highlights of the report include:
- The calculated national percentage of SNAP-participant children directly certified for free school meals was 98 percent in both SY 2017-18 and SY 2018-19.
- This is a 6-percentage point improvement from the performance rate in SY 2016-17, which was 92 percent, and an 11-percentage point increase since SY 2013-14.
- Forty states met or exceeded the required 95 percent Direct Certification rate benchmark for SY 2018-2019.
State of Origin for USDA Foods FY 2018 and FY 2019 Summary Reports
The USDA Food and Nutrition Services food distribution programs provide food and nutrition assistance to school children and families and support American agriculture by distributing high-quality, 100-percent American-grown USDA Foods.
If you are looking to support agricultural markets in your region, you can consider using the information from the State-of-Origin for USDA Foods newly published the FY 2018 and FY 2019 Summary Reports.
These summary reports capture the quantity and dollar value of USDA Foods purchased from each State. In addition, you can find out which products USDA often purchases from your state. We invite you to read the summary reports and learn where your USDA Foods are likely to come from, and what the top food produced in your state is!
Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications for School Year 2021-22
The Free and Reduced Meal Eligibility Webpage is updated with school year (SY) 2021-22 free and reduced price meal application materials and the public release.
School food authorities (SFAs) participating in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for SY 2021-22 must make free and reduced price meal applications available in order to ensure certification of eligibility for P-EBT benefits in SY 2021-22. SFAs are also required to collect and process free and reduced price meal applications for the purposes of 2021 Summer P-EBT. Information is forthcoming on how to share newly eligible students with the Department of Health Services for P-EBT purposes.
Direct Certification News and Updates
Please be advised that Direct Certification will be unavailable from July 1 to July 7 for annual system maintenance. Beginning on July 8, you may begin to conduct Direct Certification for the 2021-22 school year. Most districts and private schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, including the Seamless Summer Option, are required to run full enrollment student input files between July 8 and the first day of school. It is best practice to conduct Direct Certification more often to make sure enrolled students are matched in a timely manner.
New for the 2021-22 school year, measures have been added in Direct Certification to ensure that when a user selects “full enrollment run” that the number of students in the upload file is within a five-percent range of reported school enrollment. If you receive an error message concerning your agency’s enrollment, please email email@example.com with your school food authority’s (SFAs) new total enrollment by site and we will update the information in Direct Certification.
If an individual who conducts Direct Certification for your SFA has had a change of duties or employment, or you are not sure who has access to Direct Certification, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. It is very important that users who no longer need access to Direct Certification have their accounts disabled right away to prevent unauthorized access to personally identifying information (PII).
Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) for School Year (SY) 2021-22
The SY 2021-22 PLE Tool is now available.
As a reminder, on May 14, 2021, USDA Policy Memorandum SP 11-2021 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: Effect on Child Nutrition Programs- REVISED was issued notifying States that as required by the 2021 Appropriations Act, any SFA with a positive or zero balance in its school food service account as of December 31, 2020, is exempt from PLE pricing requirements found at 7 CFR 210.14(e) for school year (SY) 2021-22.
SFAs operating SSO only during SY 2021-22 do not need to follow PLE requirements for SY 2021-22 per Child Nutrition Waiver #97 - Nationwide Waiver to Provide Flexibility for School Meal Programs Administrative Reviews of School Food Authorities Operating Only the Seamless Summer Option in School Year (SY) 2021-2022.
- All SFAs must complete the PLE Survey. This is separate from the PLE tool.
- If your SFA is operating the Seamless Summer Option for the SY 2021-22, you have completed the PLE survey and had a negative, zero or positive balance for the school food service account as of December 31, 2020, you do not need to complete the PLE tool.
- If your SFA is not operating the Seamless Summer Option, but instead operating the National School Lunch Program for the SY 2021-22, you have completed the PLE survey and had a zero or positive balance for the school food service account as of December 31, 2020, you do not need to complete the PLE tool.
- If your SFA is not operating the Seamless Summer Option, but instead operating the National School Lunch Program for the SY 2021-22, you have completed the PLE survey and had a negative balance for the school food service account as of December 31, 2020, you must complete the PLE tool and increase paid lunch prices accordingly.
Please note that when completing the PLE tool for SY 2021-22, if SFAs do not have pricing and sales data from October 2020, October 2019 pricing and sales data can be used.
REMINDER: School Nutrition Skills Development Courses (SNSDC)
The SNT will host virtual, live SNSDC classes during the weeks of July 19th and August 9th. A four-course Meal Pattern series and a four-course Seamless Summer Option (SSO) series will be offered both weeks.
These courses are free of charge, however advance registration is required. Participation in the full four-course series is not required, and participants may register for individual courses. For more information please visit the SNSDC Webpage.
Register here for the live July courses. Registration for July courses closes July 12.Register here for the live August courses. Registration for August courses closes August 2.
American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit
Please see the flyers below that highlight the new American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit. Please share these fliers as appropriate with households.
USDA Resources for Shelters Feeding Homeless Youth and Families
Join USDA, FRAC, and School House Connection to hear about the expansion of USDA’s food program to allow children and young adults up to 24 years old to receive healthy meals at homeless and youth-serving shelters. USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) can help ensure that children and youth are fed healthy meals and snacks and that shelters remain financially sustainable during this difficult time. Participants will learn details of this new expansion, hear what this provision means for emergency shelter providers and the children and youth they serve, and receive tailored information on opportunities to implement this option and conduct outreach to help maximize the expansion. Participants will receive "hot off the press" outreach materials and will hear examples of innovative implementation and outreach strategies directly from youth serving emergency shelter operators in the field. Here is the link to the webinar registration page at Webex Events (classic).
Day and Time: Wednesday, July 7, 2021, from 1:00-2:00 CST
Designing menus for students with allergies and special diets can be a challenge. This webinar will provide tips and strategies to help you move from menu challenges to customer service opportunities. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Food Distribution, and the Laveen School District Menu Planner will provide information on how to enhance your menu offerings for students requiring menus to meet their unique needs.
Day and Time: Thursday, July 1, 2021, from 2:00-3:00 PM CST
SNA Key Area(s): 1 - Nutrition
USDA Professional Standard Code(s): 1000 - Nutrition, 1100 - Menu Planning
Learning Objective(s): Participants will identify strategies to increase and enhance Special Diet and Allergen Aware menu items in their foodservice program.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
This is a communication from the WI Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Team.