Programs, Promotions and Initiatives
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Programs
- Virginia Direct Certification with Medicaid Demonstration Project: Virginia is one of only seven states in the nation using Medicaid income data to connect students to free or reduced-price school meals through direct certification (DC). The Department of Education, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Medical Assistance Services have partnered, through a data sharing agreement, to provide information to school divisions that is used to directly certify eligible students. Students who are Medicaid recipients, and whose household income meets the USDA National School Lunch Program guidelines for free meals (130 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) or reduced-price meals (185 percent of the FPL), are matched to school division enrollment records to certify their eligibility. This confidential DC process automatically certifies students for school meal benefits without an application.
The Medicaid DC Demonstration has produced positive results since its first year (2016-2017). The project produced increases of 5-10 percent in the number of students directly certified for free meals in some Virginia schools. The increases resulted in more schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which provides breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students enrolled in the school. For the 2018-2019 school year, more than 420 schools and over 200,000 students participated in CEP. That is great news for Virginia families!
- The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a USDA assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced lunches to school-aged children. The VDOE administers the NSLP at the state level, and school divisions operate the program at the local level through agreements with the VDOE. Participating school divisions receive USDA cash subsidies and donated U.S. Foods (formerly known as commodities) for each meal served that meets federal nutrition standards. School divisions are required to provide free and reduced-price lunches to eligible children.
- The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritious breakfast meals to students. The USDA administers this program at the federal level, the VDOE administers the program at the state level, and school divisions administer the program at the local level. Breakfast menus must provide one-fourth of the daily recommended levels for protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calories. Participating schools must serve breakfasts that meet federal nutrition standards. School divisions are required to provide free and reduced-price breakfasts to eligible children
- Participating NSLP schools may sponsor an Afterschool Snack Program if they provide children with scheduled educational or enrichment activities after the school day. Schools receive reimbursement for snacks served to students. Snacks must contain at least two of the following four components: milk, meat/meat alternate, vegetable, fruit or full-strength juice, and whole-grain or enriched bread/cereal. The program must be operated by the local school nutrition program to qualify for reimbursement.
- Participating NSLP schools may apply to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which is intended to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience, increasing students' fruit and vegetable consumption, and making a difference in students' diets and future health.
- Participating NSLP and SBP schools have the opportunity to feed students during academic summer school sessions through the Summer NSLP and the Summer SBP. Local school divisions may elect to participate in the programs during academic summer school sessions. All program regulations, meal requirements, and funding are equal to the NSLP and SBP offered during the regular school year.
- The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to give students in the community access to the nutritious, well-balanced meals they receive throughout the regular school year. The program allows sponsors to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program in areas where 50 percent of the children in the community are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
- The purpose of the At-Risk portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to ensure children have access to nutritious meals before and after school. School divisions and community organizations receive reimbursement for serving meals and snacks that contain milk, meat/meat alternates, vegetables, fruits or full-strength juice, and a whole-grain. In addition to the meal, program operators must also provide children with scheduled educational or enrichment activities. The program is eligible to operate in areas where 50 percent of children in the community are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.
Private schools interested in participating in the NSLP or SBP should contact Sasha Chamberlain, Private School Specialist in the Office of School Nutrition Programs, via email at Sasha.Chamberlain@doe.virginia.gov.
School Nutrition Initiatives
- School Breakfast
- Farm to School
- Team Nutrition Training Grant (TNTG)
School Nutrition Promotions