Pennsylvania's School Nutrition Toolbox

Welcome to Pennsylvania’s School Nutrition Toolbox site. Through this site, you can access a variety of on-line training modules related to operation of Child Nutrition Programs.


Register or return to a training module by selecting a training module link from the "Enroll in a Course" drop-down menu found in the top main menu, or by selecting a course from the "Training Modules | Links" sidebar found on the right side of this homepage.

These modules were developed Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition and Penn State University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences. Funding for development of these modules was provided by US Department of Agriculture Administrative Reviews and Training funds and Pennsylvania Department of Education State Administrative Expense funds.

SNP Annual Training 2015-16


Annual Training | Update

June 5, 2015 - The Required Annual Training for the 2015-16 school year is available. click here to enter.Annual Training Now iPad Friendly

Administrative Training | Objectives | Click on a Course Tab for Information

  • icon Determining Eligibility
  • icon Verification of Eligibility
  • icon Meal Counting and Claiming


The Eligibility Determination course covers objectives related to:

Determine Eligibility

  • application packet requirements,
  • prior year eligibility and process,
  • categorical and income eligibility determination,
  • income computation,
  • approval, identifying complete applications and acquiring missing information, recordkeeping, and confidentiality,
  • notification and changed circumstances, and
  • the Eligibility Manual for School Meals.

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The Verification course covers objectives related to:


  • the purpose of verification,
  • the exceptions to verification,
  • types of sampling methods, how to implement them, and which method to use,
  • identification of error-prone applications,
  • the process of notifying households that they have been selected for verification,
  • possible outcomes of verification, and
  • verification documentation requirements

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The Meal Counting and Claiming course covers objectives related to:

Meal Counting

  • how to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable meal counting and claiming syustems,
  • eligibility documentation requirements related to meal counting and claiming,
  • how and why to avoid overt identificaion,
  • the procedure for handling lost, stolen, or misused tickets,
  • "point of service,"
  • required reports and claims for reimbursement,
  • iternal controls, and
  • edit check worksheets and on-site monitoring.

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Annual Training

The SNP Annual Training course covers:

Annual Training

This course was designed to provide reminders about key pieces of information you need to avoid common errors related to school meals programs. The course consists of a pre-test, eight educational content areas, and a post-test. It should take approximately 1 - 1 ½ hours to complete. Check the FAQ’s to avoid problems using the course.

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Additional Training Modules | Objectives | Click on a Course Tab for Information

  • icon Civil Rights in the NSLP
  • icon Offer Versus Serve (OVS)
  • icon Breakfast: The Most Important Lesson of the Day
  • icon Farm to School: Keeping it Safe
  • icon Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program
  • icon Serving Students with Special Needs
  • icon Overview of School Nutrition Programs


The Civil Rights in the NSLP meets these requirements:


Annual Civil Rights Training is Mandatory. School Food Authorities (SFA’s) must annually complete training for all staff that interacts with program applicants or participants and their supervisors.

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The Offer Versus Serve course covers these objectives:


Offer versus serve (OVS) allows students to decline some of the food offered as part of school breakfast or lunch while still having a reimbursable meal. OVS was instituted to reduce food waste and to allow students to choose the foods they want to eat. Because students may decline some selections under OVS, training is needed on what constitutes a reimbursable lunch and breakfast. This module provides information that is useful for all levels of school food service personnel about the requirements of OVS.

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The Breakfast: The Most Important Lesson of the Day course covers these objectives:


  • about the importance of a nutritious breakfast,
  • the reasons for providing breakfast at school,
  • the varied ways to serve school breakfast,
  • how to overcome barriers to serving school breakfast,
  • the steps to take to expand an existing breakfast program or to start a new program, and
  • information specific to school breakfast programs in Pennsylvania.

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The Farm to School: Keeping it Safe course covers these objectives:


Farm to School Education

  • List steps to take to maintain student safety during farm field trips.
  • Identify safety considerations for classroom food preparation and taste-testing.

School Garden Food Safety

  • Describe practices to maintain safety in a school garden in all phases, from site selection to harvesting.
  • Identify safety considerations related to using produce from the school garden in school meals.
  • Describe the practices to follow regarding accepting donations of produce grown in home or community gardens.

Local Purchasing for Use in School Meals

  • Explain why it is critical to purchase fresh produce from farms that are using safe agricultural and handling practices.
  • Identify ways to assess the safety of farm practices related to growing and harvesting produce.
  • Describe the food safety considerations of purchasing fresh produce through distributors and produce cooperatives.
  • Identify safe practices for receiving, storing, preparing, handling, and serving fresh produce.
  • Identify safe salad bar practices.
  • Describe the importance of traceability and steps the school nutrition department must take to ensure traceability of fresh produce.

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The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable course covers these objectives:


Background, Goals, and Selection Criteria

  • State the goals of the FFVP.
  • List the selection criteria and relate them to their own situation.


  • State the requirements for operating the FFVP including minimum number of times the program must be offered per week, when the snacks may and may not be offered, who may and may not consume the snacks, and how leftovers should be handled.
  • State the requirements for procuring fruits and vegetables.
  • Classify items as reimbursable and non-reimbursable through FFVP funding.
  • Describe ways to advertise the availability of the FFVP.
  • State the requirement for providing nutrition education and identify sources and methods of providing nutrition education.
  • State the grant timeframe and the deadlines for expending funds.
  • Demonstrate the differences between operational and administrative expenses and state the requirements related to both.
  • Describe the process for submitting claims for reimbursement.
  • State how and when the FFVP is monitored and understand that they may request a “Technical Assistance” visit.
  • Identify the person in their school/district who will receive correspondence from PDE about the FFVP and identify the PDE FFVP contact person.

Keys to Success

  • List keys to implementing a successful FFVP.

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The Serving Students with Special Needs course covers these topics:

Special Needs

  • Description of common medical conditions resulting in students’ special dietary needs, the symptoms of these conditions, and the basic principles for managing them.
  • The requirements of federal laws related to serving students with special needs.
  • Participants will identify the team members involved in management of special dietary needs in schools and the role of each member.
  • Participants will describe the specific school foodservice responsibilities regarding serving students with special dietary needs.
  • Participants will be able to state the federal requirements regarding making milk substitutions in the school meal programs.
  • Participants will be able to understand the recommendations for using the Medical Plan of Care form.
  • Participants will engage in an activity to apply the information learned in this course in some real-life, practical situations.
  •  Participants will  be able to identify resources related to accommodating students with special dietary needs in the school nutrition programs.

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The Overview of School Nutrition Programs course covers these topics:


In this course participants will discover the History of Child Nutrition Programs, Program Oversight & Child Nutrition Programs — Description, Purpose, and Requirements, Reimbursements & Program Integrity, and The Law-Making Process & Sponsoring a Child Nutrition Program: How to Get Started.

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