2013-2014 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Summaries
Colorado Department of Education
The Colorado Department of Education has applied for a Tier 1 Direct Certification Improvement grant to improve their direct certification process. The state proposes to enhance matching capabilities through the procurement of a new Direct Certification system module as an addition to their current automated claim system. The new system update will allow for Soundex matching, the ranking of non-matches according to “degree of possible matchability,” and an improved data exchange with the SNAP office. The state also proposes to contract with a consultant firm to perform a gap analysis of their direct certification matching processes. Other activities proposed include providing system training and detailed resources for LEA staff and conducting targeted technical assistance for the LEAs identified during the gap analysis as having low direct certification match rates. The gap analysis, LEA training, and technical assistance will help ensure that the new system is being utilized to its full extent. For more information, please contact Jennifer Otey at Otey_j@cde.state.co.us or (303) 866-6450.
Idaho Department of Education
The Idaho State Department of Education has applied for a Tier 2 Implementation Grant to enhance their state-level direct certification system to improve their current matching process by providing assistance to local school districts to promote effective data transfer and improved handling of non-matches. Idaho’s proposed system enhancements will include additional matching algorithms, household identifiers, and improved look- up capabilities. Other enhancements include increased ability to store data, match data retention and the capability to produce reports based on stored data. Idaho will promote strong data sharing partnerships with the state’s SNAP, TANF and foster care programs to improve the quality of SNAP data, encourage greater matching frequency and provide training opportunities for local educational agency staff. For more information, please contact Colleen Fillmore or TJ Goodsell at 208-332- 6820.
Iowa Department of Education
The Iowa Department of Education has applied for a Tier I Implementation Grant to improve their current matching process by providing assistance to local school districts to update student records in the state identification (ID) system. The grant activities proposed include: 1) initiating Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) for state IDs; 2) assisting districts in updating student information for all students; 3) resolving near matches from the updating process; and 4) updating the state’s record systems to align each student to only one state ID. These enhancements will result in more accurate data being submitted by local educational agencies (LEA) to the data pool used to match students with participant files from the state’s SNAP, TANF and foster care programs. For more information, please contact Brad Buck at Brad.Buck@iowa.gov or (515) 281-3436.
Kansas Department of Education
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) applied for a Tier 1 Direct Certification Improvement grant to improve their direct certification process. The state proposes to help all their National School Lunch Program sponsors fully utilize their established direct certification system to reach and maintain the 95% rate benchmark with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Assistance in Kansas). Sponsor buy-in and use of the direct certification process will be increased through outreach, training, technical assistance and computer hardware and software solutions. KSDE specifically will target private schools in Kansas who traditionally have low direct certification rates. The project will also provide training to KSDE Child Nutrition and Wellness Program staff members, KSDE Information Technology programmer/analysts and trainers, point of sale software vendors, and other stakeholders. For more information, please contact Cheryl Johnson at email@example.com or (785) 296-2276.
Maine Department of Education
The Maine Department of Education has applied for a Tier 2 Implementation Grant to improve their current matching process by providing assistance to local school districts to promote effective data transfer and improved handling of non-matches. Maine proposes to enhance their matching capabilities, provide matched lists to district legal agents by a secure web based system, expanded their current student look-up search feature for local food service and superintendents, and provide direct certification training opportunities and resources to 9 regions. For more information please contact Walter Beesley at (207) 324-6875.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has applied for a Tier 2 Implementation Grant to improve their state’s direct certification performance. Massachusetts proposes to make enhancements to their Executive Office of Health and Human Services Virtual Gateway system. This system is used by all participating local educational authorities (LEA) throughout the Commonwealth to perform direct certification and direct verification in real time. Proposed system enhancements will include 1) implementing the use of the State Assigned Student Identification number (SASID) and suffix algorithm, virtually eliminating partial matches as a data result; 2) a state agency (SA) certification authentication process; and 3) the e-learning modules and resources within the Virtual Gateway system will be updated to include these new enhancements. For more information please contact Kathleen Millett at (781) 982-1747.
Montana State Office of Public Instruction
The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has applied for a Direct Certification Improvement grant to improve their direct certification processes. Montana proposes to improve the techniques used to perform matching, incorporating additional student and eligibility data sources, augmenting their training resources and materials, conducting additional training for the district and OPI staff. Also improving the integration of their Direct Certification Application with their security system and other internal applications to improve the overall business processes used by Montana State and their districts to perform direct certification. For more information, please contact Christine Emerson at 406 444-2501.
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has applied for Tier I Implementation Grant funding to perform the following tasks: 1) a gap analysis of New Jersey’s enhanced state- level Direct Certification System to include a written report documenting recommendations for future improvements; 2) collaborate with state stakeholders in the New Jersey Department of Human Services to assess and evaluate new matching capabilities of the state SNAP system; and 3) collaborate with New Jersey Department of Education stakeholders to explore the viability of incorporating the state unique Student ID as an additional data matching element. New Jersey also has proposed expanding communication efforts with LEAs statewide, providing LEA training opportunities and resources, targeting LEAs for one-on-one technical assistance and implementing an LEA mentoring program. For more information, please contact Melissa Ewell at Melissa.Ewell@ag.state.nj.us or (609) 777-1850.
North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has applied for a Tier 1 Direct Certification Improvement grant to improve their direct certification process. The state proposes to enhance their current school food authority (SFA) look-up process for direct certification, providing SFAs the capability to search statewide lists of eligible children. The state also plans to decrease direct certification determination and reporting errors by creating an automated Verification Summary Report (FNS 742) form to simplify the verification summary reporting process. In addition, a direct certification software upgrade will be completed to allow the state student enrollment reporting system to populate local student enrollment reporting systems with direct certification eligibility data, as well as to identify SNAP-eligible students separately from TANF- eligible students. For more information, please contact Linda Schloer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 328-4565.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
The Pennsylvania Department of Education The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has applied for a Tier 2 Implementation grant to improve their direct certification process. Pennsylvania has proposed to contract through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit/Center for Schools and Communities (CSC) to offer training to improve and increase their direct certification rate. CSC will develop and offer training to increase the knowledge and skills of local educational agencies (LEAs) and School Nutrition Program (SNP) sponsors. CSC will offer direct certification training through regional summits, live and web-based trainings, and on-site training. The training will be developed to increase awareness for completing successful direct certification matches and expanding SNP sponsors’ knowledge of reporting features on their current direct certification system, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Access to Social Services (COMPASS) and their new direct certification system. With the introduction of the new software, PDE will have access to SNP sponsors’ activities, allowing the capability to efficiently target technical assistance to improve and increase reporting accuracy. Ongoing training will also be developed and offered to encourage skills development, accurate use of the direct certification systems and knowledge of PDE’s direct certification procedures. In addition, to ensure that Direct Certification training is sustainable, a cadre of highly qualified SNP sponsors will serve as mentors and trainers for continuous DC improvement. For more information, please contact Vonda Cooke at (717) 783-6556.