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Superintendent's Memos Related to School and Community Nutrition

Periodic memoranda from the Virginia Department of Education, Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs (VDOE-SCNP) to school and community nutrition directors and supervisors and superintendents.

State Director's Memos Related to School and Community Nutrition

Periodic memoranda from the VDOE-SCNP to school and community nutrition directors and supervisors.

Federal Regulations and USDA Policy Memos

Meal Pattern and Nutrition Standards in School Meals

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) (Pub. L. 111-296) required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the meal patterns and nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) to align them with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The USDA regulations for these nutrition standards were released January 26, 2012 and became effective July 1, 2012.  These federal regulations increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in meals; and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The improvements to the school meal programs are largely based on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and reflect current nutritional science for school-age children.

School divisions that are certified by the VDOE to be in compliance with these new standards will receive an additional eight cents for every reimbursable lunch meal served after July 1, 2019.


Certification of Compliance with USDA Meal Patterns

Compliance with nutrition standards for the NSLP and SBP is required under the HHFKA of 2010. The HHFKA provides for performance-based cash assistance for each reimbursable lunch served in school divisions certified to be in compliance with meal pattern regulations. School divisions certified by the VDOE to be in compliance with nutrition standards receive an additional eight cents for every reimbursable lunch meal served. Compliance with nutrition standards is assessed as part of the federal programs administrative reviews (FPAR) of the school nutrition programs.

Documents required for certification of compliance include:

  • Copies of the following school division menus (NOTE: breakfast and lunch menus must be for the same week):
    • One week of menus for breakfast for each grade group
    • One week of menus for lunch for each grade group
      • For each distinct menu
      • Must reflect current practice for each menu type offered
  • Completed USDA Certification Tool (two parts) – for each grade group and distinct menu
    • Module 1: detailed menu worksheet
    • Module 2: simplified nutrient assessment – nutrient analysis of calories and saturated fat for each menu type
      • Special Considerations effective as of School Year 2019-2020:
        • Whole grain flexibility: at least half of the weekly grains offered as part of the NSLP and SBP must be whole grain-rich; the remaining grains offered must be enriched. Current menu worksheets specify that all weekly grains must be whole grain-rich. If only half of the total grains offered are whole grain-rich, a red flag will appear in the weekly report tab. School divisions are advised to ignore the red flag that will appear in the grain area in the weekly report tab of the menu planning worksheets as long as half of the weekly grains served are whole grain-rich and the remaining grains are enriched. 
        • Milk flexibility: school divisions have the option to offer flavored low-fat milk in schools without the need to demonstrate hardship but are required to offer unflavored milk at each meal service. School divisions are advised to ignore the flag when a flavored low fat or 1 percent milk is selected in the daily tabs. School divisions must ensure that unflavored milk is also available at each meal service.

Certification of Compliance Process

  • Step 1: Certification Request – The School Food Authority (SFA) completes and submits required documents to the VDOE.
  • Step 2: Review – VDOE reviews the certification request and notifies the SFA of a decision within 60 days.
  • Step 3: Approval – Once approved, the SFA begins receiving an additional seven cents per meal beginning the month certification documents were submitted.
  • Step 4: Validation Review – VDOE reviews 25 percent of certified SFAs, including at least one large SFA (i.e. 40,000+). If not in compliance, a SFA will no longer receive the additional seven cents. If in compliance, a SFA will continue receiving the additional seven cents.
  • Step 5: Attestation of Continued Compliance
  •  Step 6: Ongoing Compliance Review – Compliance becomes part of the normal federal review process.

Guidance and Memos

School Year 2023-2024

School Year 2013–2014