Dear Chadron Public School Families:As you may have heard in the media over the past two years, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is undergoing significant changes as a result of policy decisions made by the White House, Congress and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an effort to combat childhood obesity.  The NSLP is an important program for 94% of the schools across the United States – including here at Chadron Public Schools – as it provides the meal guidelines we are required to follow in order to receive financial assistance and food products to offer meals to free-and-reduced lunch-eligible students at Chadron Public Schools, and to help offset the costs of operating a lunch program that aren’t covered by our meal program revenue.  The NSLP is governed federally by the USDA, and is administered/enforced by the State of Nebraska for our school.In short, these new changes are requiring schools that participate in the NSLP to offer healthier meals that comply with the new guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and USDA.  We are required to, offer more fresh fruits and vegetables, stick to clear calorie, fat and sodium guidelines, and in some cases, reduce portion sizes.These changes were implemented at Chadron Public Schools over a period of the past 12 months with help from our partners at Creative Dining Services.  All schools participating in NSLP must meet these new guidelines by October 1, 2014, so we are fortunate to be ahead of the game in meeting the new federal standards.  Meeting these new guidelines ahead of the October 1, 2014 deadline ensures we will not experience any disruption in the program as we enter into a new school year, meaning your students will continue to experience quality, affordable meals as they always have.  Additionally, our onsite breakfast program continues to grow.  We encourage you to talk with your students about participating in both programs.Finally, we know that your students may have commented at home about these changes from time to time, and we want you to know that we – and Creative Dining Services – take any and all complaints seriously and we continue to work to fine tune the program and educate our students about the changes.  The new guidelines are ones that we must embrace in order to continue in this valuable program, and we look forward to your continued support, participation and suggestions in how we can keep improving the meal program at Chadron Public Schools.Sincerely,
Dr. Caroline Winchester, Superintendent Sonja Bruhn, Food Service Manager