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  1. Chris Moggia
  2. Motivator I LIKE it! Fire Starter
  4. Monday, 28 November 2016
I too have experienced fluctuating Direct Certification #’s. :woohoo: Not only do some students fall off and then back on the list, but not all of my students are listed (My expectation is that the DC list would show ALL of my enrolled (and Fall 1 certified) students, not just 2/3’rds of them.

If you have a stable school (no adds, no exits) with say 1000 students, and 150 of them have been identified as Direct Cert in August, why would the same students drop OFF and ON the list throughout the year?

This could be happening because one of the reporting agencies doesn’t submit a monthly file (I am hypothesizing).

But I have to admit to the group that I remain confused over the validity and functionality of this Direct Certification list and why it changes so frequently.

To recap my strained understanding of the Direct Certification process:

1. The Direct Certification list is a list compiled by external agencies that supply the list of pre-approved students who are eligible to receive free lunch.

2. This list is usually updated every month, with the first report of the new academic year usually released around August 5th.

However, until you start your school year (e.g. August 28th) and begin enrolling students into CALPADS, the system won’t KNOW which students are YOURS until you have entered each as enrollments. Let’s say you complete this process in the first 20 days of school. So by October 1st or so, you’ve got all of your new students entered as enrollments in CALPADS. You would expect that the October 5th report would include ALL of these students. But it usually won’t because the October list is generated and submitted by external agencies to CALPADS well before this date.

Also, if you are at the 20th day of school and you have NOT sent the paper applications out, you are technically in violation of the law. So our process is this: Print out the August 5th list which will likely contain only the names of returning students. Enter those students into the system before school starts. Then, send paper applications home to everyone else. Enter the information into your SIS and then, in the rare case that a student does not return the paper application but shows up on a subsequent DC list, you can add those students to the program at that time.

3. Schools can add the students on this list as program records in their SIS system and do NOT need to send paper applications home to parents/guardians as students are ALREADY eligible.

4. If a student appears on the Direct Certification report at ANY time during the August 5th through November 1st (I could be off on this date), then they are eligible to receive free reduced lunch for the whole year AND they can be included as a CALPADS program record for the academic year and count in the Fall 1 certification numbers

5. Students who appear on subsequent direct certification reports (e.g. December through May) would still be enrolled in a program record in your SIS and receive free lunch when they do finally qualify, BUT SCHOOLS WOULD LIKELY NEED TO SEND HOME THE APPLICATION PAPERWORK ANYWAYS SINCE THE STUDENT IS A MID-YEAR TRANSFER AND WE WOULDN’T WANT TO WAIT 4 WEEKS UNTIL THE DIRECT CERT COMES AROUND AGAIN, RIGHT?

6. The numbers on the Direct Certification report from CALPADS must align to the numbers we submit through the CNIPS online program (a separate login page). The CNIPS program asks us to breakout the Individual PROGRAMS (cal works vs. cal fresh) and this info is designated as letters (“O” and “S”) on the Direct Cert report.

That’s the extent of my personal knowledge on this matter, now here’s my questions/suggestions.

1. Wouldn’t it be better to have the CALPADS report use “W” for calWorks and “F” for calFresh instead of “O” and “S”. Then at least I would know what I was looking at.

2. Should we retain back-ups of the August, September, October and November CALPADS Direct Certification reports since students drop on and off the different monthly lists? How else would we be able to justify a DC student when they no longer appear on the October or November lists but did appear on the August list? Well, there is the paper option, of course, but this was supposed to remedy that burden . . .

3. Can the CALPADS list also display case #’s or case manager’s phone numbers in case we have additional questions? Being told to “contact Los Angeles County Social Services” is not a viable option, as I can spend hours (days?) trying to locate some of this information.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Dear Food Service Directors:

Under the administrative pilot authority in Section 18(c) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is conducting a demonstration project to evaluate direct certification (DC) in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The FNS approved the California Department of Education (CDE), in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, to participate in the new demonstration project. In order to comply with the administrative regulations of the demonstration project, the CDE is required to make updates to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) DC extract file.

Beginning with School Year (SY) 2017–18, upon the CDE providing mandatory training, and local educational agencies (LEA) implementing administrative updates, all LEAs, with access to the CALPADS DC extract file, will be able to directly certify students for both free and reduced-price meal eligibility.

LEAs must work with their point-of-sale vendors for adjustments to accommodate these values no later than July 1, 2017, when the demonstration project will be expanded statewide. The CDE CALPADS office has notified several point-of-sale vendors; however, LEAs will need to confirm system compliance with their individually contracted vendors.

Beginning in April 2017, the extract will reflect the following values:




SNAP — The student is directly certified for free meals because the student is receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (known as CalFresh in California).


TANF — The student is directly certified for free meals because the student is receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits (known as CalWORKS in California).


Medicaid — The student is directly certified for free meals because the student meets income eligibility criteria through the Medicaid Program (known as Medi-Cal in California).


Reduced — The student is directly certified for reduced-price meals because the student meets income eligibility criteria through the Medicaid Program.


Not Certified — The student is not directly certified to receive free or reduced-price meals because no match was found.

From April through June 30, 2017, the “M” and “R” values will only be visible to the 14 LEAs that are currently participating in the Federal Medicaid Demonstration Project. However, nonparticipating LEAs may see “M” or “R” values if a student attending a school participating in the demonstration project, transfers into a nonparticipating district.

The “O — Other” value will be retired effective April 2017 and will no longer appear in current or prior month’s extracts in SY 2016–17.
  1. more than a month ago
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
This is what Paula Mishima said today (July 18th, 2017) on the CSIS/CALPADS lsitserv about Direct Cert: "We share the desire to improve the DC process and are aware of the many issues. FYI, due to legal issues (who owns what data and privacy statutes) we are constrained by a current process in which another state agency conducts the actual match, and pulls data from a very old system (for example, the field length for name is much shorter than what CALPADS provides for, and cannot be changed). Various initiatives have been in the work, including legislative changes, to improve the process. We will definitely note these ideas as we continue to work to improve the process."
Roberta Trujillo
  1. more than a month ago
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