MEDIA RELEASE: Student Nutrition Continues Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of children in Maine during the school year. With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need when school is out.

“The National School Lunch Program is an important element of the Maine public school system’s dedication to providing a healthy learning environment for students, and we are equally dedicated to ensuring that healthy environment can be extended to them even when school is not in session through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“This program seeks to address a clear health need during the summer months wherever it may be evident in Maine, and while it has been successful in doing so in the past, the Department expects that increased participation this summer will further foster this success and, as a result, the continued health of Maine students.”

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

In 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow. The 2018 program begins statewide today, Monday, June 18. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211. Information is available mid-June.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Update on Educator Portal of New Online Certification System

The Maine Department of Education launched the educator portal of the new online certification system yesterday, June 14, 2018. Following the release of the educator portal , the Department is sharing the results of yesterday’s release, including some helpful times for those who have yet to log-in and renew:

Results:

  • 2,564 educators created their accounts
  • 1,605 applications were submitted through the new online system. From those applications, 1,498 endorsements were auto issued immediately.

Items to know:

  • The renewal process is customized to each individual educator’s file and steps in the process will be skipped depending on what is needed from the educator.
  • If educators are renewing a professional or a provisional certificate and no fingerprint checks are required, the certificate will be auto renewed immediately.
    • For all other certificates or if anything needs to be checked, the renewal will be placed in a queue for evaluators to analyze.
  • If educators have been recommended by their certification chair, there is no need to upload documentation and those steps will be skipped in the process.

Reminder from yesterday’s initial launch communication:

  • Download Instructions on How to Create an Account.
  • Once your account is created, you may log-in and complete the steps necessary to renew your credential. Please download the step by step instructions on How to Submit a Renewal Application.
  • If you are currently working in a Maine public school district and have not been recommended by your certification committee, please confer with your certification chair and/or superintendent.

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the DOE newsroom.

Schools Selected for 2019 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Schools selected to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for School Year 2019 have been released.

For a list of awarded schools please visit the Child Nutrition website here. A total of 156 schools were selected to participate. School Year 2019 funding for the program will begin on October 1, 2018.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all children in participating schools with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost during the school day. The FFVP introduces children to a variety of produce that they might otherwise not have the chance to try. Eligible schools wishing to participate must submit an annual application to the Child Nutrition office.

For more information on FFVP please contact Stephanie Stambach, Child Nutrition Consultant at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov or 624-6732.

 

NEO Accountability Report and Certification Webinar to be Held June 21

In order to determine supports for Maine schools, student level participation and student group demographics must be collected. The snapshot date for the data collection this year was May 4, 2018.

The NEO Accountability Report allows districts to validate student enrollment and demographic data.  The Accountability Report lists students by student groups which will directly inform student group reporting as part of school support determinations and ESEA Report Cards.  The report also identifies which assessments the students should have taken, full academic year enrollment for all students, and whether or not a student will be included for accountability measures or only for assessment reporting.

The Accountability Certification will need to be submitted by each Superintendent. Once validated, the data will  be used for ESEA Report Cards and other assessment and accountability reporting.

NEO Accountability Report and Certification Webinar

Purpose: Review the report, certification requirements, and ask any questions you may have regarding the report.
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Register here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This webinar will be recorded and available to view afterward.

 

For further questions contact Charlotte Ellis, Data Manager at Charlotte.Ellis@maine.gov.

 

Upcoming regional grant opportunity

The Maine DOE is pleased to share that the second round of competitive grant funding provided by the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES – Round 2) will be announced in early July.

FEDES grant funds are intended to assist in financing the cost of local and regional initiatives that are both innovative and sustainable, will improve educational opportunities and access for students, increase student achievement through a more efficient delivery of educational programs, and economize on and maximize educational services.

Further communications and updates about this opportunity will be explained in the EMBRACE Regionalization Information Center, which can be found on the Maine Department of Education website, and in the Maine DOE Newsroom in the coming weeks.

For further questions contact Maine DOE Regionalization Project Manager, Jennifer Pooler at Jennifer.G.Pooler@maine.gov or Maine DOE Regionalization Coordinator, Deb Lajoie at Deborah.J.Lajoie@maine.gov.