Professional Standards for School Nutrition Employees


The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010, Section 306, directed the United States Department of Agriculture to establish minimum national professional standards for all school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. These new standards will ensure that school nutrition personnel have the training and tools they need to plan, purchase and prepare safe, nutritious and enjoyable school meals. The rule institutes minimum hiring standards for the selection of State and local school nutrition program directors; and requires all personnel in these programs to complete annual continuing education/training. The standards are effective July 1, 2015. The principal benefit of this rule is to ensure that key school nutrition personnel are meeting minimum professional standards in order to adequately perform the duties and responsibilities of their positions. The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to: ?Provide awards, on a competitive basis, to State agencies administering National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), to develop and implement trainings to support the Professional Standards rule, ?Describe which entities are eligible to apply for grant funds, ?Describe the requirements for submitting a successful application, and ?Describe how applications will be reviewed and selected.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; M - Training
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, Title 7 CFR, Part 210, Section 235, Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111– 296 (HHFKA) amended section 7 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (CNA) (42 U.S.C. 1776) by adding paragraph (g), ‘‘Professional Standards for School Food Service.’’ This rule proposes to amend 7 CFR part 210, the regulations governing the National School Lunch Program, and 7 CFR part 235, the regulations governing State Administrative Expense Funds, consistent with amendments made to the CNA by the HHFKA., Title 7 CFR, Part 210, Section 235, Public Law 222-111, 42 U.S.C. 1776
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
The State agency applies for and signs an agreement to receive Federal fund for disbursement. The State agency enters into an agreement with each sponsor that has been approved for participation.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Agreements are between USDA-FNS and State agencies.
Selection criteria are clearly defined in application. Proposals must describe the qualifications of Project Director and other key staff. Resumes must be provided which demonstrate that staff have the appropriate educational, technical and experiential backgrounds for their proposed roles. A position description must be included for Project Directors and key staff to be hired after the grant is awarded.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. Letter of intent is optional for this RFA but is highly recommended. It is due February 20, 2015.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB circular No A-110 applies to this program.
Award Procedure
When an application is approved, the sponsor signs an agreement with the administering agency. States were selected for Professional Standards Grant based on a formal grants selection process.
April 20, 2015 to January 20, 2016 Rolling submissions Letters of intent are due February 20, 2015. Applications must be received by Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) by the four deadline dates of April 20, 2015; July 20, 2015, October 20, 2015, and January 20, 2016.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 60 to 90 days. From 30 to 60 days
From 30 to 60 days. Not applicable for renewal
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
1. Soundness or Merit of Project Design a. Proposal provides justification of the project(s) and activities being proposed. b. Proposal has objectives and goals that are appropriate to target audiences, are measurable, realistic, attainable, and address one or more focus areas (objectives - see page 6) requested in the 2015 Professional Standards Grants Request for Application (RFA). c. Proposal describes State agency's use of USDA or NFSMI-developed materials, and adequate justifications are made if a portion of the grant funds will be used to develop or purchase needed materials. d. Proposal adequately describes the tasks and activities with realistic timelines. e. Proposal includes a chronological timeline, not to exceed two pages. f. Proposal is written concisely, succinctly, and demonstrates a comprehensive planning process. g. Proposal includes a plan for sustainability after the grant period has ended. 2. Grant Impact Assessment a.Proposal adequately describes how the State agency will assess the effectiveness and usefulness of training approaches, programs, and proposed activities to meet Professional Standards requirements in Section 306 of Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. b. Proposal describes how the State agency will document the number of individuals the State plans to train at three levels: Manager, Director, and other staff, as well as best practices and lessons learned as result of the grant activities. 3. Qualification of Project Personnel, Project Management, and Organizational Experiences a.Project Director (PD) is clearly identified. Time commitment for the grant is clearly stated as a percentage of a full time equivalent (FTE). b.Proposal describes the qualifications of PD and other key personnel. Resumes must be provided which demonstrate that they have the appropriate educational, technical, and experiential backgrounds for their proposed roles. A position description must be included for PD and/or key staff to be hired after the grant is awarded. The Project Director, or one of the Project Co-Directors, should have a four-year degree in nutrition/dietetics, public health, health education, or other related field. c. The contractor must be a subject matter expert with prior experience conducting training sessions for school food service personnel. Documentation should be provided to substantiate the training. d. Proposal describes the organization's credibility and capabilities to administer the grant. e. The organization of the project allows sufficient time for proposed tasks, and clearly discusses and demonstrates that effective communication will exist among staff. f. Proposal describes State agency's commitment to provide financial and administrative oversight for the grant. g. Letters of commitment are provided by project director, project director's supervisor, and/or key staff. 4. Budget Appropriateness and Efficiency a. Budget narrative describes how funds will be spent, by whom and for which categories. b. Budget detail sufficiently itemizes costs within each budget category. c. Budget demonstrates consistency with project objectives and specific activities/tasks planned. Budget line items are linked to specific grant objectives. d. The level of funding requested is economical and reasonable in relation to the proposed scope and effort of the project.
How may assistance be used?
$2.6 million dollars was awarded in Fiscal Year 2015 for Professional Standards Grants. Professional Standards Grants were funded in 2015, and these funds will not be issued again. Funding for approved Professional Standards Grants were provided through the Grant Award/Letter of Credit process, in the same manner as other Federal funds - which were released upon receipt of a properly executed Federal-State Professional Standards Grant Agreement and availability of funding. All Professional Standards Grant funds were obligated and all activities under the Professional Standards Grant were completed by August 2017 (unless an extension to the grant was approved). All State agencies were eligible to apply for the grant.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: The quarterly and final programmatic and financial reports are required to be submitted by the grantee in accordance with the grant terms and conditions. No cash reports are required. Quarterly progress reports are required. Quarterly budget reports are required. The grantee will work closely with the Agency on performance progress.
Not applicable.
Financial records, spporting documents, and all records pertinent to the grant program shall be retained for a period of 3 years.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
August 1, 2015- July 31, 2017 Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See the Food and Nutrition Service Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.
Headquarters Office
Julie Maxwell
3101 Park Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302 US
Phone: 703-605-4437
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Training) FY 18 Estimate Not Available FY 19 FY 20 FY 17 Estimate Not Available FY 16 Estimate Not Available - This is two year money starting in FY 2015(Training) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$0.00; - The Professional Standards grants were 2 year funding issued in FY 2015. Funding was not issued after FY 15 and that grant money will not be offered again.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Each State can apply for up to 150,000 for this grant
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Program regulations are codified at 7 CFR parts 210 and 235
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2018 Some of the projects funded include: online courses about the benefits of USDA Foods, dietary specifications for school meals, human resources management, and special diets; in-person training for School Nutrition Directors to promote utilization of existing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) resources; peer-to-peer trainings to promote best practices in use; hands-on culinary and recipe-development boot camps led by chefs and Registered Dietician Nutritionist; bilingual trainings for staff whose first language is not English; and face-to-face and blended module trainings focused on idea sharing, lessons learned, and technical assistance on implementing meal pattern requirements, food safety, civil rights, and menu planning.


Federal Grants Resources