School Nutrition Weekly Newsletter

January 9, 2020

Special Dietary Needs

Special Dietary Needs Policies

  • Be sure to verify that any "template policy" being used or implemented is USDA compliant including the following:

    • Sponsors must continue providing accommodations requested by a parent/student due to a disability until official termination is received and documented.

    • Do not discontinue a request after a certain number of days unless the discontinuation is specified by a medical authority.

    • If a sponsor continues to have issues with reaching a family to receive a proper medical statement, sponsors must accommodate the request even without a statement or authorization from a medical authority. Contact the State Agency for assistance.

    • It is a local decision whether sponsors accommodate religious or personal requests.

      • Remember that once a sponsor makes an accommodation for one student (for religious or lifestyle reasons), they must continue to do so for all students.

  • Need assistance in creating a school policy? View IDOE’s special dietary needs template policy here.

  • Questions? Contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov.

New!

Notification of New “And Justice for All” (AJFA) Posters


  • USDA AJFA posters have been updated.
  • IDOE is currently in the process of mailing posters to all sponsors.
  • After receiving the posters, if you should need any more, please email mschabel@doe.in.gov.
  • View the new poster image here.
  • The outdated posters, featuring the Statue of Liberty, must be removed and discarded.
  • Don’t forget to remove the old poster image and replace with the updated version on websites, presentations, brochures, pamphlets, and any other materials.
  • Institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are required to display the appropriate AJFA poster in their facilities where it can be viewed by customers, with an exception of family day care homes.
  • All AJFA posters must be displayed in a specific size: 11” width x 17” height.
  • Questions? Contact Maggie Schabel at mschabel@doe.in.gov.

Upcoming Trainings

Special Dietary Needs Training - Foodservice, 504 Coordinators, School Nurses

  • IDOE will be holding a training on special dietary needs on Tuesday, March 3.
  • This training is intended for 504 coordinators, school nurses, and school foodservice to all attend together!
  • This four-hour training will start with a group learning session followed by breakout sessions for each job category.
  • Learn how to tackle special dietary needs adequately in your schools both as a team and as an individual department!
  • Click here for more information and to register yourself as well as your school's nurse and 504 coordinator!
  • Questions? Contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov.

Indiana School Nutrition Association (ISNA) Winter Seminar

  • ISNA will be holding their annual Winter Seminar on Thursday, February 6 at the Willows on Westfield.
  • Based on feedback from ISNA members, Winter Seminar will have two sharing sessions as part of the day to increase networking and encourage sharing of ideas and best practices. The sessions will include all four USDA key areas.
  • Dynamic keynote speaker Martha Bryan will present Dealing with Difficult People and Coaching and Mentoring.
  • Other sessions will include:
    • Digital Food Production Records
    • 21 Rules for Food Presentation
    • Breakfast: More than Cereal and Milk
    • Social Media
    • Leveraging Community Partnerships for Improved Health and Nutrition
  • Join ISNA for a wonderful day full of professional development and networking.
  • Click here for more details and to register!
  • Questions? Contact Sheri Shipp at sheri@indianasna.org.

inTEAM Regional Course Completion Challenge

  • IDOE, inTEAM, and ISNA are partnering up to challenge schools to have their staff complete as many inTEAM courses as possible in the month of February.

  • Even if you are not a member of ISNA, all school districts are able to participate.

  • The region with the largest number of staff completing courses in the month of February will get recognized by IDOE and ISNA.

  • Are you up for the challenge?! More details coming soon!

  • Questions? Contact Sarah Kenworthy at skenworthy@doe.in.gov.

Upcoming Due Dates

Verification Summary Report (VSR) Due!

  • Don't forget! The VSR is due Wednesday, January 15.
  • Sponsors can access the VSR once their Annual Financial Report (AFR) and October claim have been submitted and approved.
  • Locate the VSR in the CNPweb, under the Claims/AFR tab in Program Year 2020.
  • In-depth instructions, a sample worksheet, PowerPoint, and fact sheets can be found here.
  • A recorded webinar on the VSR can be found on inTEAM.
  • Questions? Contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov or your field specialist.

Last Chance! Serving Up USDA Foods Photo Contest

  • Previously known as the “Show Us Your Tray” contest, this contest gives schools a chance to showcase how they are “Serving Up USDA Foods” in their meals!
  • Show how you use USDA Foods proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy to liven up your meals! Your submissions will provide child nutrition professionals with healthy, creative, student-approved meal ideas utilizing USDA Foods.
  • The Serving Up USDA Foods photo contest ends Wednesday, January 15.
  • For 2020 contest and submission details, click here.
  • Send all entries to USDAFoods@usda.gov.

Food Distribution Program

Annual Pre-Order Survey


  • The annual pre-order survey to request USDA Foods (formerly commodities) for SY 2020-2021 will open soon.
  • Be prepared by checking your school’s USDA Foods inventory.
  • Make sure to review menus, check current USDA Foods and commercial products and the amounts on-hand at your school, as well as, assess the pounds still available at all processors.
  • Need help finding the amount you have at processors? Look at the commodity tracking websites, K12Foodservice and ProcessLink.
  • It is a good idea to check these sites or with IDOE, even if you believe your school does not have inventory residing at any processor.
  • Please visit the USDA Foods Distribution Program Website for more information.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program


  • Reminder! The deadline to submit your commitment request to divert Planned Assistance Level (PAL aka entitlement) funds toward DoD Fresh was December 31.
  • IDOE will begin deducting the amounts diverted from each participating sponsor’s SY 2020-2021 PAL dollars.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

USDA Foods Refried Beans and Vegetarian Beans Reformulation (Extracted from USDA Foods From Farm to Plate)


  • Based on feedback, USDA has worked to improve the flavor of the USDA Foods vegetarian beans and refried beans.
  • As part of the process, USDA defined the required ingredients to ensure a more consistent flavor profile across vendors and to better align with commercial products.
  • The refried beans now include oil, tomato, garlic, and jalapeno, but the product still has a mild flavor profile.
  • The vegetarian beans now have a more uniform tomato flavor, color, and sauce thickness.
  • The new formulations of both the vegetarian beans and refried beans are starting to be delivered, and you may notice that the vendor label looks a little different to reflect the changes.
  • If you are interested in reading more about the changes to the product requirements, please look at the canned beans specification on the Agricultural Marketing Service website.
  • If you have feedback about these items or other products, please email USDAFoods@usda.gov.

About Us

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding this newsletter, please contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0849, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20849, or contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0544, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20544.


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