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It’s back to school season, which means some of you may be thinking, another year, another REVIEW.  Does the thought of an Administrative Review have you dreading all the preparation that comes along with it?  Would it lighten your mood if we told you changes are on the rise? In February, the USDA published a memo that acknowledges the difficulties school food authorities (SFAs) and state agencies (SAs) face with the current 3-year review cycle. Follow along as we discuss what you need to know about memo SP 12-2019.

Memo SP 12-2019 at a glimpse

We all can agree that the 3-year review cycle is short. SFAs are required to put in a lot of time and preparation for the Administrative Review, on top of running their school meal programs in tip top shape. SAs are also required to put in the time in the preparation and execution of Administrative Reviews. To improve this process, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allowing state agencies to request a wavier to extend the 3-year AR cycle to a 5-year cycle.

What does that mean for Ohio?

The Ohio Department of Education is approved to extend its three-year review cycle to a five-year cycle, that begins year 1 with SY 2016-17 and concludes year 5, SY 2020-21.

What are potential benefits for reducing the frequency of Administrative Reviews?

  • More time for SFAs to gain access to resources and complete training for Administrative Reviews
  • Increased SFA compliance
  • Reduce the amount of time spent preparing and completing the AR’s for both SFAs and SAs
  • Increased SFA and SA confidence

What are the best practices for preparing for an Administrative Review?

Okay, maybe the first time around, you were not as prepared as you wanted to be for your Administrative Review.  Trust us, it happens! Here are 5 tips to help save time, get organized, and leave you looking like a pro at your next Administrative Review.

  1. Start Early and Organize – Early bird gets the worm, right? What many people don’t realize is the Administrative Review is a team effort.  Often many departments can be involved, so sections can take time to complete.  By starting to prepare for the AR early, you have time to ask questions, get answers, stay organized, set deadlines, and delegate what needs to be completed.
  2. Complete Training – Stay up to date with the latest Administrative Review Training. The Administrative Review can change every year, so even if you’ve been through one in the past, do yourself a favor and freshen up on the material.  It can only help and not hurt you right? Make sure staff is up to date on their professional standards training, and it is recorded in an organized way, as this is a requirement.
  3. Be Tech Savvy – The AR utilizes a computerized system, so if you aren’t the greatest with technology, make friends with someone who is.  Documentation is expected to be organized and uploaded to CRRS, so knowledge of how to do this is a must.
  4. Learn from Previous Experiences – Whether you have completed an AR before, or are new to the process, you can use view mode in CRRS to look at a past review for your school.  On your review home screen, there are corrective action and technical assistance sections so you can key in on those items if you had them in the past, to make sure it does not reoccur.
  5. Be Aware of Who Your Contacts Are – When in doubt, ask for help! Your Education Program Specialist and/or Review Specialist are available to answer simple questions for you.  However, you do not want to start your review on the wrong foot by having them do your homework for you, there is a difference! If you have many in depth questions, seek out help from other qualified professionals.

At Dietary Solutions, we are committed to helping School Food Authorities deliver results that lead to positive nutritional outcomes for children. We SUPPORT you with anything you need to have a compliant AR!

Last year we helped numerous school districts STAY COMPLIANT with our Mock Administrative Review services. We work closely with your district and do whatever it takes for a successful Administrative Review.

Contact us today HERE or call 866-932-0828 and let’s talk about how we make child nutrition simple.

“With Dietary Solution’s help on preparing for our Administrative Review, it went very well.  They were a life saver and I would highly recommend them to other schools.” – Deb C., Food Service Director


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