Pulaski County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers was officially notified Wednesday, January 25, that after a thorough review of two county schools during the months of November and October, the School Nutrition Programs at both were found with zero deficiencies or negative findings.
“The PCPS school nutrition staff are second to none in the state of Virginia,” Dr. Siers said. “They do an incredible job of making sure that our students are well fed every day and it’s no surprise that they would receive excellent ratings across the board when audited. We are very proud of our breakfast, lunch, and dinner programs at each school.”
The inspections and reviews are required by federal law under Section 207 of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act 2010, amended section 22 of the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769c). It requires the Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE SNP), to report the final results of the administrative review to the public in an accessible, easily understood manner in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Secretary.
“The Federal Program Accountability Review (FPAR) takes place every five years,” Pulaski County Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services Mrs. Ethelene Sadler said. “VDOE does a good job preparing schools for reviews like this by providing training webinars. School divisions are required to complete pre-review documents through the VDOE/School Nutrition website. The process for completing the pre-site review is very time consuming and requires answers to many in-depth questions regarding practices and procedures that are in place to verify federal requirements are being met.”
During the review, several areas are inspected and reviewed. Program access and reimbursement verifies the programs certifications and benefit issuance, verification, and meal counting and claiming. Meal Patterns and Nutritional Quality reviews Meal Components and Quantities, Offer versus Serve, and Dietary Specifications and Nutrient Analysis. School Nutrition Environment reviews Food Safety, Local Wellness Policy, and Smart Snacks and Competitive Foods.
“Considering the size of our school division, we had two review schools this year … Pulaski County High School and Dublin Elementary,” Mrs. Sadler said. “Our reviewer spent a day at each site to ensure the regulations, procedures and practices were followed as noted in the documentation. I'm proud to say both schools were very prepared and as I often say, ‘always do your job as if someone was looking over your shoulder, and you have nothing to worry about.’ Personally, when we have any type of State or Federal review, my expectation is for the reviewer to be very thorough, if there's a problem, we want to know about it and correct it.”
Sadler was also quick to give credit where credit is due.
“The success of the FPAR and our everyday operations is because of a dedicated School Nutrition team that cares about the students that are served and doing things as if their signature is written on every task,” she said.
"Our School Nutrition Program is staffed by a group of very dedicated and caring individuals,” School Board Chair Beckie Cox said. “They take a great amount of pride in what they do and the service they provide to our students. The time they put into ensuring that every student has access to safe, quality, and nutritious food throughout the day shows in their work. This review only validates what we already knew about their performance each and every day."