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Food and Nutrition Programs

Taglines and Providing Meaningful Access to the Child Nutrition Program

To:Local Education Agencies and Sponsoring Organizations of Child Nutrition Programs.
From:Robert M. Leshin, Director, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs
Date:August 5, 2021

Accommodation requirements for Limited English Proficiency populations in schools:
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that in order for public schools to comply with their legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), they must take affirmative steps to ensure that students with limited English proficiency (LEP) can meaningfully participate in their educational programs and services. That same year, Congress enacted the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), which confirmed that public schools and State educational agencies (SEAs) must act to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by students in their instructional programs. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) share authority for enforcing Title VI in the education context.

Impact this has on Child Nutrition Programs:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Instruction 113-1 requires local educational agencies (LEAs) and Sponsoring Organizations (SOs) that participate in the federally funded Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs) to take responsible steps to ensure meaningful access for LEP populations in their programs and activities. The USDA defines LEP as individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English.

Providing meaningful access in Massachusetts:
There are many ways to ensure meaningful access in CNPs for LEP populations. To assist LEAs and SOs in implementing one method, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has developed a list of taglines that LEAs and SOs can use when communicating with parents and guardians within the school district or institution. The purpose of the taglines is to inform the LEP parent/guardian (in their spoken language) of who to contact within the district or institution if they need language assistance services. The sample taglines on page three are in the six most frequently spoken languages in Massachusetts according to the LEP.Gov 2015 Language Map. The six languages are:

  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Haitian Creole

LEAs and SOs should also be aware of the languages spoken by LEP populations within their district or institution. For additional language tagline translations, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Translated Resources for Covered Entities website.

Using taglines and receiving requests:
LEAs operating the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Special Milk Program should include taglines with the following communications:

  • Household Application Packet, which is sent to all households at the beginning of the school year; and any time a new student registers with the district.
  • Letters of approval, denial or termination of meal benefits
  • Letters regarding prepayment/outstanding balances of school meal accounts
  • Letters requesting information for Verification
  • Civil Rights complaint form
  • Special Dietary Request Form

LEAs and SOs operating the Child and Adult Food Care Program, or Summer Food Service Program should contact their program consultant for a list of documents that pertains to your program type.

LEAs and SOs should also have a plan in place to meet the language needs of parents/guardians who contact the district or institution to request language assistance services. For more information about what is required review this fact sheet answers common questions about the rights of parents and guardians who do not speak, listen, read, or write English proficiently because it is not their primary language.

Sample Taglines and Instructions:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Last Updated: August 5, 2021

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