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Office of the State Superintendent of Education

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Nutrition Services

OSSE encourages, educates and engages District residents, educators, community partners and schools to develop sustainable wellness and nutrition strategies. Among other roles, the agency administers the US Department of Agriculture grant programs, helps schools and community organizations develop school gardens and farm-to-school programs, and oversees monitoring and compliance for all meal programs in the District of Columbia.  

Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) Training Calendar

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.
  • School Breakfast Program (SBP)
  • The School Breakfast Program provides cash assistance to states to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The Food and Nutrition service administers the SBP at the Federal level. State education agencies administer the SBP at the state level, and local school food authorities operate the Program in schools.
  • Afterschool Snack Program (ASP)
  • The afterschool snack component of the National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted snack service that fills the afternoon hunger gap for school children. The snack service is administered at the Federal level by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. At the State level, it is administered by State agencies, which operate the snack service through agreements with local school food authorities (SFAs). SFAs are ultimately responsible for the administration of the snack service.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
  • FFVP can be an important tool in our efforts to combat childhood obesity. The Program has been successful in introducing school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample. FFVP is consistent with and supports the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations to provide healthier snack choices in schools.
  • Special Milk Program (SMP)
  • The Special Milk Program provides milk to children in schools and childcare institutions who do not participate in other Federal meal service programs. The program reimburses schools for the milk they serve.
  • USDA Foods Program
  • The USDA Foods Program supports domestic nutrition programs and American agricultural producers through purchases of domestic agricultural products for use in schools and institutions.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. It provides food and administrative funds to States to supplement the diets of these groups.
  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.
  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
  • The Summer Food Service Program known in Washington, DC as the DC Free Summer Meals Program (FSMP), provides reimbursement for free nutritious meals and snacks served to children 18 and younger. These meals help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow throughout the summer months when they are out of school.
  • DC Healthy Tots Act (HTA)
  • The Healthy Tots Act, which became effective on Feb. 26, 2015, provides funding and resources to support child development facilities’ ability to serve nutritious meals and to offer high-quality wellness programming.  Early learning facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are eligible to participate in Healthy Tots programming.
  • School Gardens Program
  • The OSSE School Gardens Program works to ensure that all students in the District are engaged in quality school garden programs which are highly valued by teachers and fundamental to student learning in district schools. The OSSE School Gardens Program serves as the backbone to support the more than 100 school garden programs through funding, partnerships, and strategic support.
  • Farm to School Program
  • OSSE’s Farm to School and Farm to Early Childhood Programs assists schools and childcare centers in procuring and serving local foods, incorporating farm to school concepts into the school environment through teacher training and technical assistance, and hosts District-wide events such as Growing Healthy Schools Month and Strawberries and Salad Greens Day.
  • USDA Civil Rights
  • The Division of Health and Wellness is responsible for all Civil Rights requirements under the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • USDA Nondiscrimination Statement (English)
  • Trainings and Resources
  • Training and resource materials for all Child Nutrition Programs in the District of Columbia. Find resources specific to programs locally as well as links to national resources. Program administration forms can be found on individual Program pages.
  • USDA and State Education Agency Memos
  • The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) periodically release memoranda that provide program management guidance and announce program policy updates.
  • Student Eligibility (Free and Reduced-Price Meal (FARM) Applications  and Direct Certification)
  • The Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications (FARM) and Direct Certification are ways to qualify students for free meals at Non-CEP schools.
  • Food Safety
  • Schools are required to have documented food safety procedures as well as obtain two health inspections each school year. Additionally, each school must have a Dept.of Health certified food safety manager on site. 
  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
  • The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a meal service option for local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in high-poverty areas. CEP allows participating LEAs and schools to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without the burden of collecting household applications. By eliminating the household application process and streamlining meal counting and claiming procedures, CEP may substantially reduce administrative burden related to operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Additionally, CEP may increase student participation, creating more opportunities for students to receive nutrition necessary to optimize academic performance. CEP may be implemented in individual schools, groups of schools, or entire school districts.
  • Monitoring in Child Nutrition Programs
  • Every school year, each school food authority with more than one school shall perform no less than one on-site review of the counting and claiming system and general areas of review for each school under its jurisdiction. The on-site review shall take place prior to February 1 of each school year. It is also required for all SFAs operating the Afterschool Snack Program (ASP), regardless of only operating at one site. Monitoring forms have been created by OSSE for SFA use.
  • Procurement for School Nutrition Programs
  • School Food Authorities are required to follow local and federal procurement requirements. These resources will can support SFAs in proper procurement processes.
  • Professional Standards
  • Professional Standards for school nutrition professionals is a key provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The final rule, published March 2, 2015, requires a minimum amount of annual training hours for all state directors of school nutrition programs, state director of distributing agencies, school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff. Required training topic areas will vary according to position and job requirements. There are also minimum hiring standards for new state directors of school nutrition programs, state directors of distributing agencies that oversee USDA Foods, and school nutrition program directors.
  • Reimbursement Rates
  • This notice announces the annual adjustments to the national average payments, the amount of money the Federal Government provides States for lunches, afterschool snacks, and breakfasts served to children participating in child nutrition programs. The annual payments and rates adjustments for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs reflect changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. 
  • Self-Prep Community of Practice
  • The Self-Prep Community of Practice facilitates the exchange of experiences, ideas, and best practices between child nutrition professionals to enhance and expand self-prep meal programs.
  • Smart Snacks
  • Smart Snacks in Schools refers to the national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold outside of the federal reimbursable school meal programs during the school day. These items are called “competitive foods” because they can compete with participation in school meal programs.  All competitive foods and beverages sold during the school day must meet or exceed Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, which include limits on fat, sugar, sodium, and calorie content. These standards are the minimum requirement for schools, but states and local education agencies can continue to implement stronger nutrition standards for all competitive foods in schools.
  • Meal Pattern Requirments
  • The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program require federally mandated meal patterns for breakfast, lunch and snack. A school must offer the food components and quantities required in the established meal patterns for meals claimed for reimbursement.


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