School Nutrition Programs
There are two programs available to support meals and snacks in public as well as private non-profit schools:
The National School Lunch Program
This program, which has been in existence since 1946, provides reimbursement for lunches served to students enrolled in twelfth grade and under in public and private, non-profit schools. Reimbursement is provided at three levels: free, reduced price, and full price (or paid). Families may submit applications to receive free or reduced price meal benefits.
Because the program is a federal entitlement program, meaning that the government guarantees that all program meals properly claimed for reimbursement each month will be reimbursed, there are extensive regulations governing most aspects of program operations in order to assure that meals claimed for reimbursement are truly eligible for payment. At the federal level the program is administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In addition to federal reimbursement schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program also receive a State Match payment once a year and receive federally-provided commodity foods as well. In general, these commodities represent 10-12% of foods used in school meals programs. The remainder are purchased through regular supply channels.
In Vermont, the state legislature passed Act 22 in 2003 which requires that public schools participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program unless the school board, at an annual or regularly warned meeting, holds a public discussion of the program and subsequently votes to exempt the district from the requirement.
The School Breakfast Program
This program, which has been in existence since the mid-1960’s, provides reimbursement for breakfasts served to students in twelfth grade or under in public and private, non-profit schools. Reimbursement is provided at three levels: free, reduced price, and full price (or paid). Families may submit applications to receive free or reduced price meal benefits. Families do not have to submit separate applications for free school lunch and breakfast.
In addition to federal reimbursements, schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program receive a State Match payment once a year.
Policy & Administration
(e.g., program application & renewal, food safety, food service contracts, wellness policies)
New School Cuisine – Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks
Here is our latest resource to help schools meet the new USDA meals pattern and use fresh and local products in school meals. A collaborative effort between Vermont Agency of Education, Vermont FEED, School Nutrition Association of Vermont, New England Culinary Institute, many local schools, and with the support of Team Nutrition Grant funds, this group created, tested and standardized over 75 recipes that are presented in this book. Give the recipes a try, offer taste tests to your students, and introduce these beautiful and delicious foods to your menus! Bon Appetite. Cookbooks will be distributed to each school along with the Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness & Nutrition guide that helps schools programs incorporate nutrition education physical activity in their schools and classrooms.
Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness and Nutrition
Promising Practices – Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness and Nutrition provides lessons learned and recommendations for how to create a school culture that values the important role healthy food, nutrition education and physical activity play in education. Schools play an important role in promoting student health and combating the rising rates of obesity and diet-related illness among children. This effort begins in the cafeteria – the largest classroom in the school – by serving healthy meals and continues by addressing nutrition, health and fitness as part of the overall education of students. This approach requires collaboration among food service staff, teachers, school nurses, physical education teachers, and administrators to bolster food, nutrition, and physical activity choices and educational opportunities that can have lasting impacts on students’ health and ability to learn. This booklet outlines the Nutrition Education Institute model as a process that works to support improving the school health and nutrition environment in schools.