ATTENTION: Co-op Directors; Elementary Principals; High School Principals; Middle School Principals; Secondary Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors, Wellness Coordinators, Wellness Committees
The purpose of this memo is to provide clarity for schools when selecting, documenting and updating their nine (9) Special Event Days.
Special Event Day: any occasion such as field day, holiday, school recognition activity, end-of-school event, in-school fundraiser, etc. designated at the discretion of the school administration when students may enjoy food and/or beverages outside of the Arkansas Nutrition Standards and the USDA Smart Snacks requirements.
eSchool Calendar: the official school calendar, approved by school administration.
Selecting Special Event Days
For up to nine (9) different events each school year, students may be provided any food and/or beverage items during the school day. These event days refer to occasions when food and/or beverages will be provided to students; they do not include event days when students will receive non-food rewards or recognition – such as a book for reaching a reading goal or an extra recess for staying focused during an exam.
The nine (9) special event days must be identified by school (building/LEA). Individual teachers and/or student groups may not have nine days each. Schools must celebrate the nine (9) special event days as a unit.
During a special event, food and/or beverage items may not be provided during meal times in the areas where school meals are being served or consumed. For example, a student group may not set-up their cookie sales in the cafeteria during lunchtime.
Per Arkansas Food Code, items brought from home must be commercially prepared and packaged, even on special event days.
Documenting Special Event Days
School officials must document approval of the nine (9) special event days by entering them into the eSchool calendar, determined to be the official school calendar, at least by semester.
The description is “Act 1220 Exempt Event Days”, and the code is “9DY.”
The school district shall maintain documentation that all fundraisers are approved by district administration.
Updating Special Event Days
School officials may update the nine (9) special event days in the eSchool calendar at any time during the school year.
Child Nutrition Administrative Reviews
Area Specialists from the Child Nutrition Unit will review schools’ eSchool calendars during the district’s Administrative Review to ensure that:
- No more than nine (9) special event days are listed for each school
- Special event days listed on the calendar match days when schools actually celebrate with food and/or beverages outside of the Arkansas Nutrition Standards and USDA Smart Snack requirements
- Special event days are planned in advance – at least by the beginning of each semester
- Special events that last all week are counted as five (5) special event days and not one event
- Schools celebrate as one unit (Building/LEA) – not by individual classroom
- Principals are aware of the special event days
- School Child Nutrition Managers are aware of the special event days so they may decrease production and reduce food waste on days when less students are eating in the cafeteria.
Failure to document and update the eSchool calendar with the nine (9) special event days will result in a finding during an Administrative Review and will require a corrective action plan.
Nothing in these rules shall be construed to prohibit or limit the sale or distribution of any food or beverage item through fundraisers by students, teachers, or other groups when the items are sold off the school campus.
For more information, please contact the Child Nutrition Unit at (501) 324-9502.