Guidance, policy updates and actionable resources for schools & districts focused on nutritional standards and access to school meals.
AASA strongly supports the enactment of comprehensive services and programs that encourage children to be healthy. Research demonstrates that learning is enhanced when children feel safe and have their physical, mental and social and emotional needs met in a healthy school environment. This includes access to healthy foods. In some districts, public schools are the lifeline for children to have access to substantial and healthy meals that they may be lacking at home. Through the COVID-19 pandemic and the USDA authorization of Universal School Meals, we were able to see what student success looks like without hunger hindering a student's ability to learn.
What did we observe through access to healthy school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Reduction in school lunch debt shaming
- Districts ability to afford quality ingredients for scratch cooking
- Alleviated administrative burden on processing Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRPM) applications
- Increase in overall student happiness
AASA's Position & Priorities
The guiding principles for federal education policy stem from equity and the important role the federal government stands to play in creating equitable learning opportunities for all students. AASA is committed to advocating for better access to school meals and reasonable nutrition standards for students in the public school system.
AASA's priorities are to:
- Ensure that licensing and certification requirements for school nutrition workers are a state responsibility
- Support universal school meals on the contingency that such policies do no harm to eligibility for and enrollment in existing federal funding streams serving schools, and fully cover costs associated with the program
- Refrain from increasing the administrative burden related to nutrition eligibility verification
August 31, 2023Guest Post: Food - The Most Essential School Supply
This guest blog post is brought to you by Laura Hatch, Senior Director of Policy & Partnerships at FoodCorps
August 25, 2023USDA Publishes Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule
On Wednesday, August 23, USDA published a final rule on program integrity to ensure that child nutrition programs are properly operated and managed to protect federal funds and taxpayer dollars.
August 08, 2023Congress Introduces Legislation to Extend the Secure Rural Schools Program
Please ask your Senators and your Representative to co-sponsor and help to advance theses bills to extend Secure Rural Schools.
August 04, 2023USDA Issues Initial Guidance for Summer EBT
USDA has released initial guidance on Summer EBT eligibility, certification, and verification—which will begin in Summer 2024.
July 12, 2023
AASA Update, Advocacy & Policy, School Nutrition, The Leading Edge BlogCall to Action: Tell Congress to Extend Critical School Nutrition Funding
Tell your members of Congress to extend the additional school meal reimbursements provided by the Keep Kids Fed Act for school year 2023-24.
March 15, 2023CALL TO ACTION: Submit comments on the proposed updates to the school nutrition standards.Type:
Sample/TemplateTopics: Advocacy & Policy Health & WellnessOn February 3, USDA released a proposal to update the school nutrition standards to align with the 2020 Dietary Guidelines. It is critical that USDA hears the superintendent perspective on how these standards will impact their districts.
August 09, 2022Mental Health and School FoodType:
Webinar RecordingThe Link Between Hunger and Student Well-Being
March 30, 2021AASA Quarterly Federal Policy Update - SpringType:
Webinar RecordingTopics: Advocacy & PolicyAASA’s Director of Advocacy, Sasha Pudelski, will walk AASA members through the latest funding and policy changes
May 13, 2021Child Nutrition Reauthorization PrioritiesType:
ReportTopics: Advocacy & Policy Health & WellnessAASA’s Advocacy Team has created a new resource for Congressional stakeholders working to reauthorize the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.
U.S. Department of Education Resources
- Public school students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch
- Back to School 2022-2023: HOW TO PRIORITIZE THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF STUDENTS, SCHOOL PERSONNEL, AND FAMILIES
- Free or Reduced-Price Lunch vs. Direct Certification: Understanding School Lunch Eligibility in the Common Core of Data
- Nutrition Standards for School Meals (Source: USDA)
Resources to Support School Nutrition
- Measuring Student Poverty (Source: Urban Alliance)
- Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools (Source: Urban Alliance)
- Toward a Better Measure (Source: Data Quality Campaign)
- Is Free and Reduced-Price Lunch a Valid Measure of Educational Disadvantage? (Source: Domina, Pharris-Ciuriej, and Sanabria. . Educational Researcher.)
- Food Insufficiency During COVID-19 (Source: Food & Research Action Center [FRAC])