The Delaware Department of Education’s School Nutrition Program has won more than $338,000 for outstanding performance, an award that will go toward supporting nutrition programs in schools across the state.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service selected Delaware to receive the Fiscal Year 2012 Direct Certification Performance Award, one of only six given out across the country. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2012 established performance awards to encourage states administering the National School Lunch Program to ensure all children eligible for direct certification in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are certified. The six awards total $2 million and recognize “Outstanding Performance,” according to USDA.
To be eligible for the award, states had to met the federally mandated 80 percent benchmark for direct certification and be among those with the highest direct certification performance rates for the year. Delaware reached a direct certification rate of 100 percent for the 2011-12 school year. States also had to have fully phased out the “letter method” as a form of direct certification. Rather, in Delaware, the state now uses an automated process.
“While I am proud that our School Nutrition Program staff -- and the many district and charter school nutrition personnel who work with them -- have made Delaware a national leader in this area, the real good news in this is that the needs of Delaware’s children are being met. Hungry children can’t learn, and we have an obligation to ensure that all children who qualify receive free meals through the program,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said.
State officials still are determining how they will use the award, which must be spent to benefit the School Nutrition Program. Examples of possible uses include: training and equipment for local programs to implement meal pattern changes and serve more fresh fruits and vegetables; technological enhancements to streamline current processes and lessen administrative burdens on school nutrition staff; and provide sustainable professional development opportunities to all child nutrition staff in schools.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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