GRPS Student Routine Vaccine Clinic Appointments Available Today (Sept. 9)
Thanks to Kent County COVID-19 relief funds, several of Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth families at GRPS Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy were able to connect their children with Mosaic Masterminds tutors during the ’20-’21 school year. We were honored to partner with you last year, and together we were able to double our impact of confidence-boosting while providing academic, student support. The scholars worked hard to learn and succeed during very challenging circumstances, and several of them and their families showed their appreciation for our Mosaic Masterminds tutors. You can hear from some of them in this Mosaic Masterminds video.
April Ruiz, Mastermind’s owner and lead tutor, told OKT, “We were honored to partner with you last year, and together we were able to double our impact of confidence-boosting while providing academic, student support. The scholars we were fortunate to serve worked hard to learn and succeed during very challenging circumstances, and several of them and their families showed their appreciation for our Mosaic Masterminds tutors.”
Summer Meals Program FREE for children up to 18 years old.
Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, which is why the Grand Rapids Public Schools Nutrition Services Department will be sponsoring the USDA funded Summer Meals Program this summer at multiple GRPS schools and community locations throughout the city. Serving times vary by location and are subject to change. Pick up a nutritious lunch. Check with the site for snack and breakfast availability. Sites may also have exciting summer activities scheduled for your child.
For more information , click HERE or call (616) 819-2135.
Take 10 minutes to help GRPS develop a plan to guide the district for the next five years. GRPS writes, “The success of our school district affects everyone in our community, and we want to be sure all of our residents have the opportunity to provide input to this process.” Your response will be anonymous. Results will be posted on the GRPS website later this summer. The survey will be open until June 25th.
The Grand Rapids Public Schools just shared these P-EBT updates and information.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 0-26 that are eligible for Free or Reduced-Price School Meals. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits, as well as those not currently enrolled in the program. No application is necessary for eligible families to receive P-EBT benefits.
Q: When will P-EBT cards be mailed out?
A: P-EBT benefits are being distributed in waves. The first round of benefits for families with active Food Assistance Program cards started last week and will continue to be distributed through the first week of May. The benefit will go to their bridge card. Families that do not have a bridge card will be mailed a P-EBT card. These cards will also be distributed in waves. The first cards start mailing out April 26th and will continue through the middle of May. Instructions are being mailed out for how to use and activate the card.
Again, it will take until the middle of May for cards to be mailed out. Please encourage families to hold off on calling DHHS with inquiries and wait for the first round of mailing to go out.
Q: Will there be directions on how to use the card?
A: There will directions mailed about a week ahead of the card. To activate the card, call the phone number on the back of the card. You will need the EBT card number on the front of the card, your zip code, and the date of birth of the oldest child in your household. You will need to set a four-digit pin number
Q: What address will the P-EBT card be sent to?
A: If the student was already receiving SNAP benefits, they will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits on their current Food Assistance Program (FAP) card. If the student is eligible based on a Free or Reduced-Price Meal Application, a new P-EBT card will go to the address in the Michigan Student Data System.
Q: Will there be an email or phone number available for parent questions regarding the P-EBT cards?
A: MDHHS is processing cards in batches thru mid-May. If you receive calls on P-EBT cards you may supply them with this number 1-833-905-0028. Keep in mind they might not answer the questions until then.
P-EBT Student Eligibility
Q: I have multiple school-age children, how much will our family be eligible for?
A: The pre-loaded Pandemic-EBT card will come in the mail and will be in the oldest school aged child’s name, not the parents name. Keep the card for ongoing benefits you may receive. The benefit amount for March/April is $193.80 per child and will be available by the end of April. The benefit amount for May/June is $182.40 per child and will be available by the end of May.
Q: For students that attend a CEP school, will all families be eligible for the P-EBT program automatically
A: In schools where all students receive free lunch and breakfast, which in Michigan is the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), all students will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits.
Q: Do schools need to send anything over to the Michigan Department of Education?
A: For non-CEP schools, eligibility for P-EBT was based on data reported in the Supplemental Nutrition Eligibility (SNE) field in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) Spring Collection.
Updated addresses or student eligibility will need to be submitted through the Student Record Maintenance in the MSDS. Records that are submitted by the April 28th SRM will be eligible for April, May and June P-EBT benefits. Records that are submitted for the May 12th and 26th SRM will be eligible for May and June P-EBT benefits.
Q: Are Head Start and/or Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) families receiving the P-EBT card?
A: Students in Great Start Readiness Programs, GSRP/Headstart Blends, Early Headstart, and Headstart that were reported as part of the Early Childhood Collection as eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals or directly certified have been included.
Q: Are students who attend non-public schools eligible for P-EBT?
A: Directly certified students who attend non-public schools were included in the list of students eligible for P- EBT. If the student was already receiving SNAP benefits, they will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits on their card. For other directly certified students without an address with DHHS or the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS), the card will be sent to the school and the school must mail the cards to the families.
If a student was a shared time student with a public school and that school reported the student in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) as eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals, they will receive the benefit through the public school’s reporting.
There is not a state collection where F/R application eligible students are reported, but we are working on ways to try and include them at a later date.
Q: Are 18-26 special education students eligible for P-EBT?
A: Eligible, enrolled special education students are eligible for P-EBT.
Q: Do children that are homeschooled qualify for this program?
A: Unfortunately, homeschool children were not included in the list for P-EBT because they are not in the public school records. However, all Michigan children are eligible to participate in one of available Meet Up Eat Up sites. You can look for the closest site to your home at: www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup or Dial 211 to find out more information on resources in your local community.
New Free and Reduced Applications
Q: Will newly eligible students, through Direct Certification or an approved Free or Reduced-Price application, be eligible for P-EBT.
A: Yes, students with new eligibility will qualify for P-EBT. Updated student eligibility will need to be submitted through the Student Record Maintenance (SRM) in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS). Records that are submitted by the April 28th SRM will be eligible for April, May and June P-EBT benefits. Records that are submitted for the May 12th and 26th SRM will be eligible for May and June P-EBT benefit.
Q: For families with multiple children, how will the card be loaded?
A: The pre-loaded P-EBT card will come in the mail and will be in the oldest school aged child’s name, not the parents name.
Q: What do GRPS families do if they did not receive a communication in the mail from the state about P-EBT benefits?
A: Families should be referred to Steve Slabbekoorns in Nutrition Services. He is available at 819-2135 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nutrition Services will work with Student Data Systems to submit updated data to the state system.
When Governor Whitmer closed the schools, OKT’s Program for Growth at Grand Rapids Public Schools MLK Jr. Leadership Academy kept on keeping on.
With help from her tech-savvy daughters, our executive director Lisa Oliver-King set up conference calling with program participants. Not only has the group been able to keep on learning, they have also been a great support to one another during this time of crisis.
The Program for Growth involves parents and caregivers of students attending the school in food growing and healthy eating education.Through OKT’s each one-teach one philosophy, leadership of the program has come up from within. Five program participants have trained to be garden and cooking coaches for the program.
On Monday Jan. 27, Kristen Trovillion, sustainability coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, shared how she is helping to green the district as well as information for making our own homes greener—and healthier. Grand Rapids is one of two districts in the state with a dedicated sustainability department. So far, she has led GRPS in the following sustainable accomplishments:
Cleaning chemicals. A district-wide inventory found that schools were using a total of 65 cleaning chemicals, many of them toxic. That number has been reduced to six safe products that are equally effective. Kristen shared that hydrogen-peroxide based cleaners kill just as many germs as bleach—and without the dangerous side effects. Did you know that exposure to bleach impacts the respiratory system? It can bring on more asthma attacks or prolong respiratory illness.
Gardens. Kristen is currently making an inventory of all gardens at Grand Rapids Public schools, noting whether they are food gardens, pollinator gardens, or other kinds of gardens. This information will help the district see what goes into a successful garden and to better communicate with grounds staff, who sometimes inadvertently damage gardens during routine maintenance.
Composting. Kristen shared that 80% of GRPS waste is generated in the lunchrooms. Four or five schools are composting a little bit of that waste in the classroom with the help of local Grand Rapids’ compost company, Wormies, and some resident red worms. Eight schools are composting food waste, compostable lunch trays and napkins via a commercial company located in Zeeland. GRPS has to pay to have waste hauled to Zeeland. She is looking into introducing reusable trays at schools with dishwashers, but most schools are not set up for these.
Lawn chemicals. Overall, GRPS does not use toxic pesticides or herbicides and is switching over to organic lawn management. Kristen noted that they only use toxic herbicides or pesticides in urgent situations, e.g. with invasive species like poison ivy. When they are used, notices are posted on the school’s front doors and elsewhere.
Energy use and recycling. GRPS is in process of installing more energy efficient lighting and making best use of natural light, as healthy lighting supports learning. They are overhauling the current recycling system and will be introducing sorting stations to replace the current bins, which cause confusion and tend to disappear.
OKT will be including Kristen’s valuable input in its next revision of A Guide to Replication: Program for Growth, which will be tailored for use by GRPS in replicating the Program for Growth at other schools in the district.
Throughout October, Our Kitchen Table cooking coaches, Toni Scott and Alynn Guerra, are sharing recipes and information that will empower Grand Rapids Public Schools’ families to make healthier food choices for their families. The programs are taking place at the Ceasar Chavez, Alger, GR Ford and MLK school buildings. Here are photos taken by participant Reouhidi Ndjerareou from the Alger School event.