Food Services

​Programs and Services

Payment Options:

Parents and guardians may pay for school a la carte items in advance either online using the SchoolCafe system or by paying by check/cash/money order at Hill Top Academy (HTA).

Paying Online:  Parents/guardians may prepay online using the secure and easy-to-use SchoolCafe system which will allow use of debit or credit card to put money in your student's account.  Automated payments and low balance alerts will help parents/guardians make timely payments, ensuring that their student has sufficient funds to purchase food/beverages at school.

While there is no charge to view a student's account, there is a $1.95 convenience fee that will be assessed for each payment transaction to the SchoolCafe user.  A minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100 are allowed for each transaction.

Paying by Check:  While we encourage parents/guardians to use SchoolCafe for payments, we will still accept checks made payable to "CAIU" or "Capital Area Intermediate Unit" for up to $20 which will be applied to your student's account.  Payments must be made in the morning in order to ensure that those dollars will be posted to your student's account for use that day.  A meal pre-payment envelope will be available at the HTA Office. 

See "SchoolCafe" and/or "Cafeteria Procedures" for more information.

School Breakfast Program:

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federal and state reimbursement program for each breakfast served that meets federal requirements. All SBP sponsors (CAIU) are required to offer free and reduced price breakfasts to eligible children.

The SBP began as a pilot project in 1966, and was made permanent in 1975. The SBP has been serving breakfasts to school children across the nation since the pilot program began. Today, more than 8.5 million children nationwide participate in the SBP. In Pennsylvania, the participation number is over 200,000.

Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between school breakfast participation and academic performance. In addition, breakfast participation has shown to improve school attendance, students’ attention spans, and performance of tasks; fewer problems with irritability, anxiety and aggression were also noted.

The CAIU Hill Top Academy participates in the School Breakfast Program and uses a food-based meal pattern as required by PDE.  Changes to the SBP's meal pattern began in SY 2013-14 and continues with the current year.  Based on the meal pattern, there are specific minimum requirements in three food components that may consist of four food items.  The three food components are grains (with optional meat/meat alternate allowed); fruit/vegetable; and milk.  Grains must be 100% "whole grain-rich", sodium is reduced, fruit serving is 1 cup per day and students are required to take 1/2 cup fruit under "Offer vs Serve". 

National School Lunch Program:

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federal and state reimbursement program for each meal served that meets federal requirements. All NSLP sponsors (CAIU) are required to offer free and reduced price lunches to eligible children. The CAIU is entitled to receive USDA commodities for each lunch they serve. The variety of commodities we may receive depends on product availability and market prices.

The Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the Federal level.  At the State level, the NSLP is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).  The National School Lunch Act (NSLA) permanently authorized the lunch program in 1946.  Every school day the NSLP serves nutritious meals to more than 30.5 million children nationwide.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 directed USDA to update the NSLP's meal pattern and nutrition standards based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The new meal pattern went into effect at the beginning of the SY 2012-13 and increased the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the school menu.

The CAIU Hill Top Academy participates in the National School Lunch Program and uses a food-based meal pattern as required..  The food-based menu planning approach focuses on food components, not nutrients.  There are five required food components at lunch which are grains, fruits, vegetables, meat/meat alternates and fluid milk.  Additionally, the updated meal pattern also sets revised calorie, saturated fat, and sodium standards for each age/grade groups receiving school meals.  Since Hill Top Academy encompasses K-12 students all in one facility, PDE approved the CAIU to use one meal pattern for all grades beginning with the 2013-14 school year.  We still must meet all the requirements of that meal pattern.

Offer vs. Serve is a serving method designed to reduce food waste and food cost.  It is an option at the Hill Top Academy.  All students must take a minimum of one half cup of either fruit or vegetable component.  Students are also allowed to decline two of the five required food components at lunch.  Students are encouraged to eat all five components. Grains must be 100% "whole grain-rich" and sodium is reduced. 

(Excerpts taken from the PDE Food and Nutrition website)