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
As schools and students face uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic, one area that continues to shine brightly is the critical work school systems are doing...to help keep students fed even while schools were closed.Dan Domenech, Former AASA Executive Director
May 09, 2023AASA Submits Comments on USDA to Lower CEP Eligibility Threshold
Yesterday, AASA in partnership with ASBO, submitted comments in support of USDA's proposed rule to lower the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) eligibility threshold from 40 to 25.
May 09, 2023Resources on Implementing Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas
Our friends at No Kid Hungry have developed resources to help eligible districts and community based organizations implement non-congregate meal service in rural areas.
May 05, 2023AASA Submits Comments on Proposed Update to the School Nutrition Standards
Our comments expressed deep concerns with the impact of the proposed standards on the palatability of school meals and therefore student participation in school meal programs.
April 26, 2023Apply by May 26: New School Nutrition Grant Program for Small and Rural Districts
The Healthy Meal Incentives Grant Program for small and rural school food authorities (SFAs) is now open. Deadline to apply is May 26.
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.
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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])
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