On May 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provides funding to Child Nutrition Programs to assist with the impact of COVID-19. The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is providing clarification on how the CARES funding can be used.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has instructed us that these funds can only be used for paying reimbursement claims for actual meals served to eligible children in the National School Lunch Program, Summer Seamless Option, and School Breakfast Programs, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food, and Summer Food Service Programs, and therefore cannot be used to offset revenue loss. In addition, these funds can only be used for claims during the time period March through September 2020.
Source: Nutrition CARES Act Guidance – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a new food assistance program for children throughout the state, including thousands in Solano County, who are living in households struggling with food insecurity, state schools chief Tony Thurmond has announced.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program provides electronic food benefits to families equal to the value of meals children eligible for free or reduced-priced meals would have received at school, he noted in a press release issued earlier this week.
“The COVID-19 crisis has placed additional economic strain on some of our families that were already struggling to put food on the table,” Thurmond said in the prepared statement. “This program provides critical food assistance so that our students who are in economically challenged households can get the nutritious meals at home they need to thrive.”
Source: Coronavirus: CDE: In new program, low-income students eligible for extra food benefits – Times-Herald
By Allison Aubrey
A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.
“Over a million children in New York – especially those in low-income communities and communities of color – depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont.
As we’ve reported, last year the Trump administration gave school lunch administrators more flexibility in serving up refined grains, including white breads, biscuits and white pastas. The move weakened standards set during the Obama administration aimed at serving more nutritious and fiber-dense whole grains, which are a key part of a healthy diet.
Source: Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks : The Salt : NPR
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced additional honors for 22 California Distinguished middle schools and high schools selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Distinguished Schools applied separately for these honors. This year’s honorees include 10 schools for Arts Education, nine for Career Technical Education, and four schools for Physical Activity and Nutrition—with one school receiving honors in two categories.
“We know that closing the achievement gap includes world-class instruction, including access to STEAM, career technical education, physical education, and nutrition education.” said Thurmond. “Instruction outside of core academic subject areas—like job training, entrepreneurship, and STEAM—helps all students prepare for 21st century jobs and sparks creative and healthy minds. I congratulate these 22 Exemplary Program Award winners for their outstanding work.”
Source: Thurmond Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
The Benicia Unified School District announced its guidelines for free or reduced meal programs under the National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs for the 2018-19 school year.
According to a news release, BUSD’s Food and Nutrition Department offers lunch services at Matthew Turner Elementary School, breakfast and lunch services at Mary Farmar Elementary, Joe Henderson Elementary, Robert Semple Elementary, Benicia Middle School and Liberty High School, and breakfast, lunch and nutritional snack break services at Benicia High School. The cost of breakfast is $2 and the cost of milk is 50 cents for all grades, and the cost of lunch is $3 for elementary schoolers and $3.50 for middle and high schoolers.
Source: BUSD announces guidelines for free, discount meal eligibility in 18-19
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that disadvantaged families in California can now find updated lists of child and adult care centers offering nutritious meals at low or no cost through the California Department of Education’s website.
“Providing children with healthy meals is critical to their physical, emotional, and academic growth,” said Torlakson. “Parents who are struggling with food insecurity can find out where to go to ensure their children receive the proper nutrition they need to thrive. I encourage families to take advantage of these centers.”
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over 8,000 local child care centers and 14,000 sponsored day care home providers in California participate. These facilities provide nutritious food to infants, children, and adults.
All children enrolled in these day care homes receive meals at no charge. Most participating child care centers also provide meals at no charge, or free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals are available.
Source: Serving Nutritious Meals to Low-income Families – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Tim Goree
Free meals are available during the summer for children 18 years old and younger at many locations throughout Fairfield and Suisun City! For times and locations, see the attached flyers in English and Español, or visit the following FSUSD web page: http://bit.ly/2rYwPT0
Source: Free Meals for Kids and Teens During the Summer
By Tim Goree
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s Child Nutrition Department worked with the Kid Tested Kid Approved program April 24th, 25th and 26th.
Kid Tested Kid Approved is a 3rd party company that works with manufacturer brands to test products with at least 500 school aged children in three geographically dispersed locations throughout the United States. To have a product placed on the Kid Tested Kid Approved list, a product must be taste approved by at least 80% of those tested. If approval is not 80% or higher, the product must go back to Research and Development for additional tweaks and is not placed on the approved list.
Source: FSUSD’s Child Nutrition Department Works with Kid Tested Kid Approved
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Kim Frinzell as the new Director of the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). She began her new assignment on April 1.
Frinzell has over two decades of administrative and operations expertise in both federal and state nutrition programs and policy. She formerly served as the NSD’s Associate Director.
“Kim’s extensive experience, dedication, and comprehensive knowledge make her the perfect choice for this position,” said Torlakson. “She has played a key role in successfully collaborating with our schools, districts, and community centers to provide access to nutritious and healthy food for California students so they can be focused, alert, and ready to learn.”
Frinzell received her bachelor of science degree in agricultural science: dietetics and food administration from Fresno State University and later became a Registered Dietitian.
Source: Torlakson Names New Nutrition Services Director – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
It’s only 30 cents, but it will be a welcome financial benefit for Fairfield-Suisun Unified students and families and the school district.
The district’s Child Nutrition Services Department announced Friday it will no longer charge the 30-cent co-pay for reduced-price breakfasts, a new policy that takes effect Jan. 8 and remains in effect for the rest of the school year.
Those students who are eligible for reduced-priced meals will be able to eat breakfast at school for free, Tim Goree, executive director of administrative services and community engagement, wrote in a press release.
In the prepared statement, he added that by “using a tool” provided by the state Department of Education, the district’s Child Nutrition Services Department estimated a 64 percent increase in student participation in the breakfast program if the co-pay was eliminated.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun will no longer charge students co-pay on reduced-price breakfasts
By Richard Bammer
A charter school petition denial and approval of the 2017-18 budgets were the main stories that emerged last week from a Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, but some other pocketbook matters also crossed the trustees’ dais and were approved.
Trustees OK’d a so-called “piggyback co-op bid” with San Gabriel Valley Food Services to contract with Gold Star Foods, in an amount not to exceed $1 million. The contract applies to the distribution of frozen and refrigerated foods for the 2017-18 academic year, with an option to extend the bid for two more. Vacaville Unified currently gets some of its food through Gold Star, which has a large warehouse in Dixon.
Source: Vacaville school board inks $1M contract with food services firm for frozen, refrigerated foods
By Richard Bammer
For dozens of Vacaville children, school is out but lunch in still in.
Vacaville Unified’s annual free summer feeding program, dubbed Free Lunch with Friends, is well underway at several citywide locations Mondays through Fridays.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program, organized by the district’s child nutrition department, is open is open to all children, infants to 18. No registration is required.
Food distribution dates, times and locations are as follows:
• 11 to 11:45 a.m., through July 14: Hemlock Elementary, 400 Hemlock St.
• 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through Aug. 11: Vacaville Public Library, downtown branch, 1 Town Square Place.
Source: VUSD summer feeding program well underway
By Matthew Adkins
Students from a handful of Vallejo and Fairfield elementary schools put their culinary skills to the test Saturday for the 5th rendition of Jr. Chef Challenge held at Norman King Community Center in Vallejo.
Participating this year were 24 budding chefs from Beverly Hills Elementary, Elsa Widenmann Elementary, Laurel Creek Elementary, Matt Garcia College and Career Academy and Suisun Valley elementary schools. The students are all part of the Kids Cook with Heart program sponsored by the American Heart Association and Kaiser Permanente.
During the competition, teams of four and five young chefs faced off against one another in five timed rounds, each focusing on a different aspect of food artistry.
Source: Young chefs battle for top honors in culinary competition held in Vallejo
By Richard Bammer
Increased breakfast and lunch prices at middle schools and high schools, contracts for parking lot, field and portable classroom expansion at two schools, and reviews of Title 1 (federal funding) programs at two schools are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight.
Trustees are expected to approve the meal price increases, effective July 1, that call for breakfast prices to rise from $1.50 to $1.75 and lunch prices to rise from $3 to $3.25 at the district’s secondary schools. Breakfasts and lunches served at elementary schools will remain the same for the time being, however.
According to agenda documents, Margan Holloway, director of child nutrition services, noted U.S. Code 1760 requires schools to charge students not eligible for the free and reduced-price meal program a price that is, on average, equal to the difference between free meal reimbursement and paid meal reimbursement.
Source: Increased meal prices, large construction contracts on Fairfield-Suisun agenda
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano County supervisors on Tuesday approved a $74,000 contract with the Fairfield-Suisun schools and a $59,000 contract with Vacaville schools to install 36 water-filling stations within the districts.
There will be 18 provided to each district.
Funds are provided through the Public Health Department. The funds also support comprehensive school physical activity training with teachers and administrators within both school districts, the county reported.
Source: County pitches in to help Solano students drink healthy
By John Glidden
After 18 months of trying, Vallejo school board Trustee Burky Worel will get his wish, as the two most important agencies in the city of Vallejo are scheduled to host a joint meeting.
The Vallejo City Council and Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board will meet at 6 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 26, at the Vallejo High Annex, Professional Development Center, 1347 Amador St.
The meeting will feature discussions about school resource officers, traffic issues around schools, mobile food vendors and enforcement issues, and first time homebuyer program for teachers.
Each topic has a 15-minute time limit, according to the agenda.
The Vallejo City Clerk’s Office confirmed there are no prepared staff reports for the four items.
Source: Joint meeting between Vallejo City Council and school board planned
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 50 schools received grants for the 2016–17 school year to make changes in their cafeterias to encourage students to select and enjoy nutritious foods. The grants come from the Team Nutrition Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California Program.
The program is designed to help schools makeover their lunchrooms and food menus by providing funds for a variety of strategic changes, including creating visually interesting signs, adding innovative descriptions of menu items, and placing fruit at the checkout register. Under the grant program, districts receive nearly $14,000 to distribute to two schools.
In addition to the grant money, district winners will receive additional support from the Smarter Lunchroom Movement of California Collaborative led by the California Department of Education (CDE), the Dairy Council, and the University of California Fresh Nutrition Education Program. Students will also receive nutrition education to reinforce the lunchroom makeover messaging.
By Susan C. Schena
Habit Burger Grill restaurants, with several nearby locations in the North Bay, is partnering again with No Kid Hungry to raise funds to provide healthy meals to kids across the nation who are unsure of their next meal.
Customers who donate $2 or more to the No Kid Hungry campaign will receive a free Charburger with Cheese certificate, good on a return visit now through the end of September.
One in five kids in the U.S. struggles with hunger, company officials said.
Source: Local Habit Burger Grills Join ‘No Kid Hungry’ Campaign – Benicia, CA Patch
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday night, will hear a report on the most recent state standardized test scores, hear an update on the school district’s student nutrition program, and likely approve support for Proposition 51 on the November ballot.
Mark Frazier, chief academic officer, and Kim Forrest, director of instruction, curriculum and assessment, will note results of the 2015-16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP.
Released to the public Aug. 24, the tests scores indicated that 37 percent of those taking the all-computerized tests last spring — some 6,200 students in grades three to eight and 11 — met or exceeded state standards in mathematics, an increase of 1 percent over last year.
Source: Vacaville Unified School District leaders to hear test score results, nutrition program update
By Evie Blad
Child nutrition groups and Democrats in Congress say a proposal to offer blanket block grants to fund school meal programs in up to three states may threaten equity and lead to inadequate nutrition for low-income children who often rely on school food more than their wealthier peers.
The House plan to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which sets rules for school meals, would offer the block grants in exchange for lifting federal meal program rules in participating states. In exchange, the states, which would have to apply to participate in the block grant option, would have to offer at least one “affordable” meal a day. Supporters of the plan, including sponsor Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), say it would allow for flexibility at the state and local level and allow for innovative use of federal funds to feed students.
Source: Proposed Block Grants for School Meals Trouble Child-Nutrition Groups – Rules for Engagement – Education Week