FY 2009 Method II ART Grant Summaries
Alabama Department of Education - There are two phases to the Alabama project. The first phase involves the development of a comprehensive computerized system for identification and periodic monitoring of error-prone SFAs, CACFP feeding sites, and family day care homes. There are four components to this proposed system, including a verification system, claims processing system, and a Provision 2 schools component. Second, to develop online training for managers and cashiers to ensure meal counting and claiming errors are minimized.
California Department of Education - The California Department of Education (CDE) is requesting funding to plan, design, conduct, and assess the impact of a comprehensive curriculum series specifically designed to improve administrative accuracy and program integrity in California’s school meal programs. The CDE plans to develop and deliver in-depth instructional programs designed to improve the nutritional integrity of school meals and to decrease administrative review errors that CDE’s compliance staff report to be continually on the rise. Project activities will include: developing school meal program integrity (SMPI) training materials; delivering SMPI training to targeted, at-risk school district staff; using web-based technology to increase the number of at-risk sponsors receiving training and instruction; developing a self-assessment tool to assist at-risk agencies in monitoring; and, through training, build consistency in conducting administrative reviews. The CDE also plans to conduct ongoing oversight and evaluation of the effectiveness of the ART grant project activities in decreasing administrative errors related to meal claiming and nutrition standard requirements.
Idaho State Department of Education - Idaho is a rural state. The state’s size, shape, location and population create specific problems in training NSLP sponsors in the rules and regulations for the federal child nutrition programs.
Idaho is seeing increased growth in the number of charter schools in the state and unique barriers are in the way, preventing charter schools from beginning or staying as an NSLP sponsor. Food service supervisors continue to have difficulties despite attending training or over the phone technical assistance. Some NSLP sponsors in the state are having difficulty meeting the nutrition standards set forth in the SMI.
The state agency (SA), through a coordinator funded by the ART grant, plans to develop and implement a comprehensive training and technical assistance plan for SFAs, charter schools, and At-Risk Residential Child Care Institutions. The training will encompass reviews of rules and regulations with featured topics including applications, certification, verification, meal counting, meal claiming, menu planning methods, CRE and more. The focus will be to improve performance and reduce error findings in the Coordinated Review Effort (CRE) reviews and increase the availability of nutritious, reimbursable breakfasts and lunches in compliance with USDA regulations.
Iowa Department of Education - The Iowa Department of Education (IADE), Bureau of Nutrition Health and Transportation Services proposes to implement a data driven integrated systems approach to identify, target and reduce administrative error in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. This approach will facilitate and support the state agency (SA) in: 1) Implementing targeted monitoring to identify school food authorities (SFAs) that have demonstrated a high level of, or a high risk for, administrative error; 2) Improving program integrity and administrative accuracy by focused strategies to assist high risk SFAs reduce errors; 3) Providing increased timely training to high risk SFAs; and Providing expanded oversight and training activities focused on the nutritional quality of the meals served as addressed in the School Meal Initiative (SMI).
The grant will support and enhance the state agency’s ability to identify, review, oversee and train high risk SFAs in application processing and certification, verification, meal counting, meal claiming and areas related to the nutritional quality of school meals. Establishing SFA performance benchmarks in key areas such as financial management and the school meals initiative is a key element of the project. This will enable the SA to conduct trend analysis and make comparisons among districts for grant purposes.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - Data collected from 06-08 CRE reviews of school nutrition programs revealed that of 360 schools evaluated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, more than half committed one or more non-certification errors. These included administrative as well as school based errors. Central office and site errors included consolidation errors, incorrect identification of a reimbursable meal based on the type of menu planning used, and incorrect menu format; cashier errors also included incorrect identification of a reimbursable meal as well as counting and recording inaccuracies. The SA would like to use their ART grant to purchase the Mass School Meals Accountability and Responsibility Training Tools (SMARTs). The MASSmart will provide a multi-level, integrated approach to improving accountability by designing and testing a seamless data entry and reporting system and, at the same time, developing educational modules that reflect the importance of personal and professional responsibility at all levels for reducing administrative errors in school nutrition programs, thus improving the quality and efficiencies of school nutrition programs.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction - The state agency received a 2007 ART grant and focused their efforts on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP). A large number of MPCP schools were identified as error-prone, as demonstrated by a high level of PS1 errors relating to the free and reduced price meal application process, certification, verification and meal counting and claiming. There were also concerns regarding the general administration of the child nutrition programs due to the high turnover rate of staff in a significant number of these schools.
The SA requested an ART grant to provide technical assistance and training to a number of schools across the state and to purchase and host accountability software. The software will allow the SA to provide continuous real-time monitoring of SFAs that have had multiple errors and were monitored through the 2007 ART grant. The monitoring system will also allow the SA to follow up on corrective action implementation to ensure the accountability of SFAs once their CRE reviews are conducted.
Wyoming Department of Education - The Nutrition Section of the agency is currently managing the NSLP, SBP, and ASSP along with other nutrition programs without adequate technology to compile, review, and analyze CNP data from LEAs. Therefore, the SA does not currently have the ability to identify at-risk LEAs and develop appropriate corrective action. The state agency has a very small staff and without adequate and available software to manage the NSLP and SBP, time is spent in areas that do not affect program integrity and administrative accuracy.
The SA wants to implement a technology system with the ability to modify forms, reports, interfaces and outputs as necessary to improve program integrity and administrative accuracy. The system will be especially targeted for districts that are error prone. Some features of the system include data collection and claiming at the site level, reimbursements calculated/totaled at the sponsor level, collection of federally required data elements.