Lunch Services at RSD

Welcome Parents, Families, and Guardians!

Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) believes that one of the most important ways we can help our students to perform better in the classrooms is to provide them with the nutrition necessary for the healthy growth of their minds and bodies. Good nutrition is critical to student development and achievement. Well-nourished students will generally have better attendance, be more attentive, and have more energy to take on the day's activities.

RSD participates in the National Child Nutrition Program (CNP) and is committed to providing all students with the opportunity to enjoy tasty, well-balanced, and nutritionally sound lunches each school day in an atmosphere they will enjoy.

Lunches that meet the CNP requirements cost students $3.85 for each meal.

Free and Reduced Price Lunches 

RSD families can apply for free or reduced-price lunches at the beginning of each school year or as their circumstances change.  All families are sent an application and FAQ at the beginning of the school year, which once completed, may be submitted to Ellie Orr in the Services for Children Department located at 1545 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY, 14621.

The information provided will be used to determine or prove a child's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. Factors considered in the application process are household size and total household income; for more information, the parent letter, income chart, and fact sheet are found in the links below. Families will be notified directly if their application is approved or denied.

Pay for Student Meals Online

RSD partners with MySchoolBucks® (MSB) to offer a way for families to pay online for school lunches as well as other school-related costs such as special field trips, dorm/class activities, and the Wildcat Zone snack bar. 


Students will use their Student ID Cards to pay for their lunch purchases. Students should continue to bring cash to pay for al carte items such as milk and treats, as these items cannot be paid for through the MSB program.


While RSD does encourage families to take advantage of the convenience of the MSB system, they still have the option to pay for the lunches by check or cash on a monthly basis by submitting them directly to the Business Office.


How to Enroll in the Online Payment System:

  1. Go to: MySchoolBucks® and register for a free account.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to activate your account.
  3. Add your students using their school, name, and birthdate.
  4. Make a payment to your student(s)’ accounts with your credit/debit card or electronic check.

A transaction fee of $2.75 will be applied. You will have the opportunity to review any fees and cancel if you choose before you are charged.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sally Atkins or Cathy Foran in the Business Office.

Resources and Communications

The goal of RSD is to provide student access to a nutritious low-cost lunch each school day and to ensure that a student whose parent/guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed or treated differently than a student whose parent/guardian does not have unpaid meal fees.

Unpaid meal charges place a large financial burden on our school. The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with federal requirements for the USDA CNP and to provide oversight and accountability for the collection of outstanding student meal balances.

The intent of this policy is to establish procedures to address unpaid meal charges throughout RSD in a way that does not stigmatize, distress, or embarrass students. The provisions of this policy pertain to regular-priced reimbursable school lunch meals only. Charging of items outside of the reimbursable meals (a la carte items, adult meals, etc.) is expressly prohibited.
Access to Meals
Free and Reduced Meal Benefits - Eligible students will be allowed to receive a free lunch meal of their choice each day. The meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students unless the student’s parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the school to withhold a meal.  A la carte items or other similar items must be paid for at the time of service.

Full Pay Students - Students will pay for meals at the school’s published paid meal rate each day.  The charged meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students unless the student’s parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the school to withhold a meal. A la carte items or other similar items must be paid for at the time of service.

Parent Outreach 
Parents are encouraged to submit a Free/Reduced Application to RSD for eligibility review or, if applicable, send a copy to RSD of their Direct Certification letter from New York State.  Either an application or qualification letter will be provided by RSD to all returning and new students/families at the beginning of each school year or as new students are enrolled throughout the school year. Returning families will still have to fill out the application every school year for eligibility review and are encouraged to submit their application no later than September 15th of every school year.  
Below are the following ways that our school staff will continue to communicate with parents/guardians:
  • Our school staff will make two documented attempts to reach out to parents/guardians to complete a meal application in addition to the application and instructions provided at the start of the new school year.
  • Our school staff will contact the parent/guardian to offer assistance with the completion of meal application to determine if there are other issues within the household causing the child to have insufficient funds, offering any other assistance that is appropriate.
Parent Notification        
For those families who do not qualify for the free meal or reduced benefits, it is their responsibility to see that their child(ren)’s lunch meals are paid for or have a lunch prepared from home.

Parents/guardians are highly encouraged to pay for the monthly lunches in advance.  There are a few options to pay in advance:  1) You can pay by check, payable to Rochester School for the Deaf and sent to the school.  2) You can bring cash to the Business Office at which time you will be issued a receipt.  3) You can pay online via MySchoolBucks. Funds should be maintained in accounts to minimize the possibility that a child may be without meal money on any given day.

A monthly invoice with the student’s current account balance will be mailed to each family within about ten days of the previous month’s end. For questions about the monthly invoices, contact Cathy Foran in the Business Office at 585-336-5801 or by email:[email protected].

If a family is experiencing financial difficulty, the administrative staff will work with the family directly and discreetly and can explore options, including a repayment schedule.

Refunds for withdrawn, and graduating students; a written or e-mailed request for a refund of any money remaining in their account must be submitted.  Students who are graduating at the end of the year will be given the option to transfer to a sibling’s account with a written request.  Any remaining funds for a particular student will be carried over to the next school year.  

Graduating students or students who left RSD with unpaid balances at the end of the school year will be subject to having their transcripts and student records withheld until their balances are paid. 
Unclaimed Funds must be requested within one school year. Unclaimed funds will then become the property of the Rochester School for the Deaf Food Service Program.

Ongoing Eligibility Certification 
The administrative staff reviews and conducts the procedures for the administration of the free and reduced-price lunch meal program of RSD to be the same as those prescribed in current and state federal laws and regulations.  The following procedures are outlined:
  • The administrative staff conducts and reviews the statewide direct certification (DCMP) process by accessing the DCMP data via the New York State Student Identification System (NYSSIS) or New York State Education Department (NYSED) Roster Upload to maximize free eligibility. NYSED provides updated direct certification data monthly.
  • The administrative staff provides parents/guardians with free and reduced-price application and instructions at the beginning of each school year to those not found on the NYSSIS system.
  • RSD must provide a thirty-day carryover of eligibility for free and reduced-price students from the previous school year during the first thirty operating days of a new school year, or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever is first.
  • The administrative staff provides at least two additional free and reduced-price applications throughout the school year to families identified as owing meal charges.
  • The administrative staff will use administrative prerogative judiciously, only after using exhaustive efforts to obtain a completed application from the parent/guardian only with available information on family size and income that falls within approvable guidelines.
Ongoing Staff Training
The administrative staff will be trained annually and throughout the year as needed on the procedures for managing meal charges using the NYSED Webinar or the school’s training program.  This includes ongoing eligibility certification for free or reduced-price meals. 
Minimizing Student Distress 
The goal of RSD for this policy is to ensure in a way that our students are not stigmatized, distressed or embarrassed while being compliant with the federal and state requirements of the USDA CNP.  The following guidelines are listed below: 
  • RSD will not publicly identify or stigmatize any student on the line or discuss any outstanding meal debt in the presence of any other students.
  • Students who incur meal charges will not be required to wear a wristband or handstamp, or to do chores or work to pay for meals.
  • RSD will not throw away a meal after it has been served because of the student’s inability to pay for the meal or because of previous meal charges.
  • RSD will not take any action directed at a student to collect unpaid school meal fees.
  • RSD will not serve alternative meals (i.e. cheese sandwiches).
  • RSD will deal directly and discreetly with parents/guardians regarding unpaid school meal fees.

Rochester School for the Deaf (“the School”) is committed to the optimal development of every student.  The School believes that for students to have the opportunity to achieve personal, academic, developmental, and social success, we need to create positive, safe, and health-promoting learning environments at every level, in every setting, and throughout the school year. 

Given the documented connection between proper nutrition, adequate physical activity, and educational success, the policy outlines the school’s approach to ensuring environments and opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions.  Specifically, this policy establishes and aims to ensure that:

  • Students have access to healthy foods throughout the school day - both through reimbursable school meals and other foods available throughout the school campus - in accordance with Federal and state nutrition standards;
  • Students receive quality nutrition education that helps them develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors;
  • Students have opportunities to be physically active before, during, and after school;
  • The School engages in nutrition and physical activity promotion and other activities that promote student wellness;
  • The school staff are encouraged and supported to practice healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors in and out of school;
  • The community is engaged in supporting the work of the school in creating continuity between school and other settings for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits;
  • The School establishes and maintains an infrastructure for management, oversight, implementation, communication about, and monitoring of the policy and its established goals and objectives.

I.  Nutrition 

The School recognizes that a nutritious, well-balanced, reasonably-portioned diet is essential for student wellness.  To help students possess the knowledge and skills necessary to make nutritious food choices for a lifetime, the School shall ensure that all foods and beverages available in school promote good nutrition balance and reasonable sizes.  The School shall ensure that all foods and beverages available for sale to students on the school campus during the school day meet or exceed the program requirements and the nutrition standards found in federal regulations.  The School participates in USDA CNPs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP).

School Meals

The School will serve healthy and appealing foods and beverages following the federal and state nutrition guidelines.  The School is committed to:

  • Offer reimbursable school meals that meet USDA nutrition standards. 
  • Serve school meals that include fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains, and low-fat items at least to the extent required by federal regulations, and provide students with a variety of choices to maintain a balanced diet over the course of a school week.
  • Minimize serving food and beverages with the use of trans and saturated fats, sodium, and sugars as defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Encourage students to try new or unfamiliar items.
  • Make free drinking water available to all students throughout the school day and throughout the school campus, including during mealtimes. 
  • Make the best effort possible to schedule lunchtime at appropriate times (typically during normal lunch hours between 11 am and 1 pm) and to provide students with sufficient time to eat after sitting down for school meals.
  • Provide a clean, safe, enjoyable meal environment for students that reflects the social value of eating.
  • Make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to and prevent the overt identification of students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.

Food Service Department 

The food service department follows strict Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to keep and maintain our kitchen facilities.  In order to ensure food safety for our school, the Food Services Director must approve any requests for the use of our kitchen facilities for special events.  

The Food Service Director must be properly qualified, certified, and/or credentialed according to professional standards to administer the school food service program and satisfy reporting requirements.  All of the school nutrition program staff will meet or exceed annual continuing education requirements in the USDA professional standards for child nutrition professionals. 

Competitive Foods and Beverages

For the purpose of this policy, “school day” means the period from midnight the night before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day (12 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.), and “competitive food” means all food and beverages other than meals reimbursed under federal and state food programs available for sale to students on the school campus during the school day. 

The School is committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students on the school campus during the school day support healthy eating.  The foods and beverages sold outside the school meal programs (competitive foods and beverages) will meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, at a minimum.  These standards will apply in the school campus and through all services where foods and beverages are sold, which may include, but are not limited to: a la carte options in the cafeteria, vending machines, school stores, and snack/food carts.  

Only foods and beverages that meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards may be sold to students through fundraisers on the school campus during the school day. The School encourages fundraising that promotes the sale of non-food items, being mindful of healthy lifestyles.  

Food advertising and marketing which includes, but is not limited to: brand names, logos, trademarks on school equipment or food service equipment, and advertisements in school publications or school mailings, is prohibited during the school day unless the items meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards. 

Food for Celebrations and Snacks

This section applies to all school and classroom parties, snacks that have been bought in for the class and celebrations, food provided to learn about cultures or countries, and other events where food is provided, but not sold.  This is to strongly encourage our classroom teachers to promote healthy options for classroom holiday parties and to discourage foods and beverages that do not meet federal nutrition standards at celebrations.  Classroom celebrations should encourage healthy choices and portion control.  The celebrations should be scheduled so they will not interfere with school meals.

Food for Rewards

School personnel is strongly discouraged from using food or beverages as rewards for the classroom or specific students.  School personnel will use other ways to reward good behavior, superior test scores, or other classroom goals met.  Non-food rewards and incentives will be used as the first choice to encourage positive behavior.  Foods and beverages will not be withheld as punishment for any reason, such as for performance or behavior.


Only foods and beverages that meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards may be sold to students through fundraisers on the school campus during the school day. The School encourages fundraising that promotes the sale of non-food items as well as activities that promote physical activities, and being mindful of healthy lifestyles.  

All fundraisers taking place during the school day and outside of school hours must be approved by the department director and the Superintendent prior to the implementation of the fundraising activity.  Student groups conducting fundraisers that take place off the school campus or outside the school day must be aware of the policy and are encouraged to follow this policy.

Nutrition Promotion and Education

The School believes that nutrition promotion and education is a key component in introducing and reinforcing healthy behaviors in students.  Nutrition promotion and education that teaches the knowledge, skills, and values needed to adopt healthy eating behaviors shall be integrated into the curriculum.   Nutrition topics will be integrated within the health education curriculum and other instructional areas such as classroom instruction in other subject areas such as mathematics, science, language arts, family and consumer science, and other elective subjects where appropriate.  Nutrition instruction will follow applicable New York State Standards and be designed to help students acquire:

Nutrition knowledge, including but not limited to: the benefits of healthy eating, essential nutrients, nutritional deficiencies, principles of healthy weight management, the use and misuse of dietary supplements, safe food storage, handling, and preparation.


Nutrition-related skills, including but not limited to: planning healthy meals, understanding and using food labels, critically evaluating nutrition information, misinformation, and commercial food advertising, assessing personal eating habits, and setting achievable goals related to these concepts.

Nutrition promotion and education can include enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, and participatory activities such as cooking demonstrations or lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits, and school gardens.  The School will encourage participation in the school meal program and promote healthy nutrition choices in our school environment.  The students and staff will receive consistent nutrition messages throughout the school campus.  

II.  Physical Activity

The School will provide opportunities for every student to participate in physical education and to be involved in physical activities.  In doing so, the School encourages every student to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities, to regularly participate in physical activity, and to appreciate and enjoy physical activity as an ongoing part of a healthy lifestyle.  In addition, staff, families, and the community are encouraged to participate in and model physical activity as a valuable part of daily life. The School’s Physical Education program shall adhere to the curricular requirements of the Commissioner of Education and the New York State Learning Standards. 

Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, physical activity breaks, or physical education) will not be required or withheld as punishment for any reason.

Physical Education

The School will provide students with physical education, using an age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum with the New York State Learning Standards.  The physical education curriculum will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits, as well as incorporate essential health education concepts.  Students (based on grade level) will engage in physical education for at least the minimum number of hours or days per week under State requirements. 

All students will be provided equal opportunities to participate in physical education classes.  The School will make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and will adapt physical education classes and equipment as necessary.  Student involvement in other physical activities such as extracurricular programs will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirements. 


The School strongly supports physical activity throughout the school day.  All elementary students will be offered at least 20 minutes of recess on all or most days during the school year.  Outdoor recess will be offered when the weather is feasible for outdoor play.  In the event that the School must conduct indoor recess during inclement weather, teachers and staff promote physical activity for students, to the extent practicable.

Physical Activity in the Classroom

Teachers will incorporate the integration of physical activity in the classroom, both as activity breaks and as part of the educational process such as kinesthetic learning approaches.  Students will be offered periodic opportunities to be active or to stretch throughout the day on all or most days during a typical school week.  These physical activity breaks will complement, not substitute, physical education class, recess, and class transition periods.  When feasible, professional learning opportunities and resources for staff can be offered to help increase knowledge and skills about promoting healthy behaviors in the classroom and school.

Extracurricular Opportunities for Physical Activity

The School will promote clubs and athletic program activities that meet the various physical activity needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including before and after school activities.  All students will be encouraged and given the opportunity to join these extracurricular activities.    

Other School-Based Activities

The School may implement other appropriate programs that help create a school environment that conveys consistent wellness messages and is conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.  Such activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Hosting or promoting health forums or fairs, employee health, and wellness activities, or community-wide events; 
  • Providing after-school programs for students that occur after school hours, including physical activity or nutrition-related components of school-based programs;
  • Communicating to families and the community via electronic/non-electronic mechanisms on health or nutrition topics and school-sponsored activities;
  • Promoting staff wellness through physical activities and/or nutrition services/programs designed for the health of the staff;
  • Providing counseling, psychological, nursing, and social health services that safeguard the physical, emotional, and social well-being of students; and,
  • Providing access to the school facilities for the use of physical activities and/or health/nutrition-related programs for staff and the community, following the school policy for the use of facilities.

III.  Policy Monitoring/Implementation

Wellness Committee 

The School will convene a wellness committee that meets at least two times per year to establish goals for and oversee school health and safety policies and programs, including development, implementation, periodic review, and update of the wellness policy.  The wellness committee membership may include, but is not limited to: Administrators, School Food Service Director and school food service staff, teachers and school health professionals (ex: nurses, health education/physical education teachers, and school support services staff), parents/guardians, board members, students, and the general community.  The School shall designate the Director of Business Operations to be responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the wellness policy are carried out. 

The wellness committee will assess current activities and programs within the wellness policy, identify specific areas of need for the School, and provide mechanisms for implementation, evaluation, effectiveness, and revision of the wellness policy over time.  This is to ensure that the School meets the goals and mandates of its local wellness policy.


If you are interested in joining the wellness committee, please fill out THIS FORM or contact Sally Atkins.

Monitoring and Reporting 

The School will retain records to document compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy, including the annual progress reports, the triennial assessments, and committee meeting minutes.  The annual progress reports will be available via the school website and/or the school newsletter.  These reports will include the website address for the wellness policy, a description of progress in meeting the wellness policy goals, a summary of wellness events or activities, contact information of the leader(s) of the wellness committee, and information on how individuals can get involved in the wellness committee’s work.  Evaluation and feedback from interested parties are welcomed as an essential part of the process throughout the school year. 

At least every three years, the triennial assessment of the School’s wellness policy and implementation efforts will be reviewed and evaluated.  The triennial assessment report will include the compliance of the wellness policy, information on how the policy compares to the model wellness policy, and a description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.  The triennial assessment will also be available via the school website and the school newsletter.   

The wellness committee and the School will update or modify the wellness policy based on the results of the annual progress reports and triennial assessments, and/or as the School’s priorities change; community needs change; wellness goals are met, new health science, information, and technology emerges; and new Federal or state regulations are issued.  The wellness policy will be assessed and updated as indicated at least every three years. 

Green Poster identifying the nondiscrimination statement for the department of agriculture including the contact information for filing a complaint.In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, RSD is prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.  
Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 
  • mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  • fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  • email: [email protected] institution is an equal opportunity provider.
RSD is an equal opportunity provider.

Lunch Menus