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National School Lunch Program Data Exchange

This document serves to provide point-of-sale vendors and student-information-system vendors with a common file layout in an effort to improve data quality.

Contents on this page

Purpose of Project
Background
Frequency of Data Exchange
Recommended Data Exchanges
National School Lunch Program Data Exchange Record Layout

Purpose of Project

The purpose of this project is to provide point-of-sale (POS) vendors and student information system (SIS) vendors a common file layout in an effort to improve the quality of the free and reduced-price meal data exchanged between the two systems for state and federal reporting purposes. While the use of this National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Data Exchange File Format is voluntary, the California Department of Education strongly encourages the use of this file format to improve the quality of data exchanged between the two systems and ultimately, the data reported to the state.

Background

For federal and state reporting purposes, it is necessary to identify students who are eligible for free and reduced price meals (FRPM) through the NSLP.

At the local level, the primary data system used to capture student’s NSLP eligbility is the POS. The sources of the FRPM data are:

  • CALPADS Direct Certification Extract
  • Local direct certification with county welfare agencies
  • NSLP applications
  • Categorial program eligibility (homeless, foster youth, migrant)

The meal eligibility data captured in the POS is then used for the following purposes:

  1. Meal service provision
  2. Reporting to the Child Nutrition Information Payment System on counts of meals served and the FNS-742 (meal verification report)
  3. Sharing free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) data with the SIS so that students can be reported to CALPADS for inclusion in socioeconomically and economically disadvantaged subgroups for state and federal reporting.

The local SIS captures information on categorical programs and therefore serves as a primary source for categorical eligibility information. These data can be shared with the POS to directly certify students who are identified as homeless, foster youth, or migrant students.

Due to the number of different POS and SIS systems, it has become apparent that there is a lack of understanding the meaning of the data that are being exchanged between the two systems. This Data Exchange Document is intended to be used as a tool to clearly define what data are needed in these exchanges and what the data mean. Each of the POS vendors and SIS vendors would be expected to create an extract that generates the necessary data for the information exchange by mapping their system elements to the data elements defined in this document.

Frequency of Data Exchange

In order to capture information that will be most beneficial for students, it is recommended that at a minimum, data should be exchanged between the POS and SIS systems at least once a month.

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Recommended Data Exchanges

POS to SIS Exchange

Data sent from the POS to the SIS should contain meal eligibility data for the following types of eligibility determination methods:

  • State-level direct certification (CALPADS Direct Certification Extract)
  • Local-level direct certification (matches done with county welfare agencies)
  • Processed NSLP Applications

NOTE: The POS should NOT be the source of meal eligibility data for Provision 2 and 3 schools. CALPADS requires individual determinations annually via the Alternative Income Information Form which are not stored in the POS.

SIS to POS Exchange

Data sent from the SIS to the POS should contain meal eligibility data for the following types of eligibility determination methods:

  • Students identified as homeless
  • Students identified as foster youth
  • Students identified as migrant program eligible
  • Students participating in Head Start programs (if available)
  • Students identified as runaways

File Transfer and Student Privacy

All files containing personally identifiable information must be transferred between systems using a secure protocol and LEAs should adhere to all student privacy laws outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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National School Lunch Program Data Exchange Record Layout

Field Type Legend: CS = character string; DT = date
Source System Legend: POS = point of sale; SIS = student information system

Field #
Public Name Field Type
Max. Length
Definition Code Set Source System Comments Validation
Required
1
POS Record ID CS
255
A local use field to provide the point-of-sale (POS) system record identifier for a record. This field will be provided to the LEA to help facilitate locating the original record in their local POS environment. n/a

POS

n/a n/a
N
2
Academic Year ID CS
9
A unique identifier assigned to a specific Academic Year. An Academic Year is the period during which school is in regular session and provides a required number of days of instruction (175 days in California). n/a

POS - state and local direct certification, and NSLP applications

SIS - categorical programs (homeless, foster, migrant)

  1. Format: CCYY-CCYY (e.g., 2008-2009)
  2. Indicates the school year associated with the file.
  3. LEAs should ensure that foster program data are entered into the SIS.
n/a
Y
3
SSID CS
10
The unique identifier for the student assigned to or by the first California district in which the student is enrolled in accordance with CDE established standards. This number follows the student from school to school throughout his/her K–12 career. n/a SIS
  1. Must be a valid CALPADS SSID
  2. Field is included to assist with the identification of the student
n/a
N
4
Local Student ID CS
15
A unique identifier assigned to the student by a local educational agency. This may not necessarily be the same as the identifier assigned to the student at the school level. n/a SIS Field is included to assist with the identification of the student. n/a
Y
5
Student First Name CS
30
The Student’s first name, which is the first name of the person which is given to a person after birth (e.g., birth, baptism, or other naming ceremony certificate; or birth verification document) or through legal action (e.g., marriage, divorce, adoption, or name change), or is the established preferred name of the student. n/a SIS The data exchanged in this file should reflect the naming convention that is agreed upon locally. For example, when exchanging data, both systems should use either the legal or preferred name. May only include alphabetic letters, numbers, periods, hyphens and apostrophes.
Y
6
Student Middle Name CS
30
The Student’s middle name, which is the second name of a person which is given to a person after birth (e.g., birth, baptism, or other naming ceremony certificate; or birth verification document) or through legal action (e.g., marriage, divorce, adoption, or name change) ), or is the established preferred middle name of the student. n/a SIS

The data exchanged in this file should reflect the naming convention that is agreed upon locally. For example, when exchanging data, both systems should use either the legal or preferred name.

May only include alphabetic letters, numbers, periods, hyphens and apostrophes

N

 

7
Student Legal Last Name CS
50
The student’s last name or surname, which is the name born in common by members of a person’s family, or the last name recognized as the formal and consistent last name given to a person after birth (e.g., birth, baptism, or other naming ceremony certificate; or birth verification document) or through legal action (e.g., marriage, divorce, adoption, or name change) ), or is the established preferred last name of the student. n/a SIS The data exchanged in this file should reflect the naming convention that is agreed upon locally. For example, when exchanging data, both systems should use either the legal or preferred name. n/a
Y
8
Student Legal Name Suffix Code CS
3
A coded value representing the Student Legal Name Suffix of the student. The Student Legal Name Suffix is the affixation to the person's last name such as Junior, II or III, which constitutes part of the name and is used to differentiate the person from a family member with the same name as the person.

I - The First
II - The Second
III - The Third
IV - The Fourth
JR - Junior
SR - Senior
V - The Fifth
VI - The Sixth
VII - The Seventh

SIS The data exchanged in this file should reflect the naming convention that is agreed upon locally. For example, when exchanging data, both systems should use either the legal or preferred name. n/a
N
9
Student Birth Date DT
8
The month, day, and year on which a person was born based on the Gregorian Calendar. n/a SIS Format: CCYYMMDD, e.g., 20081025 n/a
Y
10
Student Gender Code CS
1
 coded value representing the person's gender. Gender is a person's actual sex or perceived sex and includes a person's perceived identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth. M - Male
F - Female
SIS Field is included to assist with the identification of the student, but is not required. n/a
N
11
NSLP Eligibility Start Date DT
8
The date a student was identified as eligible for a specific eligibility category for the new academic year, excluding the 30-day grace period from prior-year eligibility. This date varies depending on how eligibility is determined (see comments column). n/a

POS – Approved applications, state- and local-level direct certification

SIS – Categorical program records (homeless, foster, migrant)

Approved applications – The date the application was received.

Statewide Direct Certification = Certification Date

Locally Matched Direct Certification = The date the matched list was created locally.

Categorical Program Records:

  • Homeless and Migrant:  If date is in current academic year, Program start date. If date is in prior year, the first date student was enrolled in the school for the current academic year.
  • Foster:  If date is in current academic year, Case start date. If date is in prior year, the first date student was enrolled in the school for the current academic year.

Format: CCYYMMDD, e.g., 20081025

Date must be >= 7/1 of the current academic year (current year determination)
Y
12
NSLP Eligibility Category CS
1
The category of eligibility a student qualifies for based on family income or categorical program participation.  Free, reduced, or full-price.

181– Free

182 – Reduced

183 – Full-Price

POS – Approved applications, state- and local-level direct certification

SIS – Categorical program records (homeless, foster, migrant)
n/a n/a
Y
13
NSLP Eligibility Expiration Date DT
8
The date the student’s NSLP eligibility for a specific eligibility category expired or was expected to expire for the academic year. This date does not represent the date the student’s eligibility actually expired. n/a

POS – Approved applications, state- and local-level direct certification

SIS – Categorical program records (homeless, foster, migrant)
This field is not required, and actually should not be sent unless it represents a student’s actual eligibility expiration date for a specific eligibility category. (e.g., a student’s eligibility changes from reduced-price to free) Format: CCYYMMDD, e.g., 20081025
N
14
NSLP Eligibility Determination Method Code CS
1
The method that was used to determine a student’s eligibility for the NSLP.

1 – State-Level Direct Certification

2 – Local-Level Direct Certification

3 – NSLP Application

4 – Categorical Direct Certification

5 – Alternative Income Information Form

POS – Approved applications, state- and local-level direct certification

SIS – Categorical program records (homeless, foster, migrant)

May not be used locally but at some point this may be used for state reporting.

Eligibility determinations that are made using the Alternative Income Information Form may not be captured in the POS. This form is used to determine individual student eligibility for Provision 2 and 3 schools, Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools, and for schools that do not offer the NSLP.
n/a
N


To request a copy of this document in a PDF format, please send a request via e-mail to calpads@cde.ca.gov. Please refer to the National School Lunch Program Data Exchange Document to ensure that your request receives appropriate attention.

Questions:   Educational Data Management Division/CALPADS Operations Office | calpads@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6738
Last Reviewed: Friday, February 9, 2018
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