ST. MARY’S SCHOOL WELLNESS POLICY

Adopted 10-23-06

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to assure a school environment that promotes and protects students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.

II. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

St. Mary’s is committed to providing a healthy school environment because the link between nutrition, physical activity and learning is well documented.

A. The school board recognizes that nutrition education, healthy eating, physical education and activity patterns are essential for students to achieve their full academic potential, full physical and mental growth, and lifelong health and well-being, and are essential components of the educational process, and that good health fosters student attendance and education.

B. The school environment should promote and protect students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.

C. St. Mary’s encourages the involvement of students, parents, teachers, school board, school administrator, and other interested persons in implementing, monitoring and reviewing the school’s nutrition and physical activity policies. 

D. Children need access to healthy foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn and thrive and to achieve academic success.

E. All students in grades K-6 will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.

F. Qualified food and nutrition services personnel will provide students with access to a variety of nutritious and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; try to accommodate the religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe and pleasant settings, and adequate time for the students to eat.

III. GUIDELINES

A. Foods and Beverages

Students’ lifelong eating habits are influenced by the types of food and beverages available to them.  Schools have the responsibility to help students establish and maintain lifelong eating patterns.

1. St. Mary’s School is committed to providing sound nutrition.  The school will make every effort to ensure that foods and beverages made available on campus will be consistent with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

2. Teachers will not use candy, sugar sweetened gum or carbonated soda pop as rewards for academic performance.

3. Parents will be encouraged to provide nutritious snacks each day.  The school will provide the parents with a list of healthy snack options.

4.  Parents are only allowed to bring in a lunch for their own child.  Carbonated beverages are not allowed in the school cafeteria during meal times.

5. School approved field trips are exempt from the Wellness Policy, but nutritious meals are encouraged.

6. St. Mary’s will limit the celebrations that involve foods of minimal nutritional value. 

7. Birthday celebrations and classroom parties that involve treats will be scheduled after lunch so that these celebrations will not replace a nutritious lunch and will not affect the school lunch program.  Birthday treats must be purchased and brought to school in unopened packages (no homemade items).

8.  Teachers may use food for instructional purposes.  Occasionally foods of minimal nutritional value may be used, but are not routine.

9. St. Mary’s will participate in the National School Lunch Program; Food & Nutrition Services personnel will take every reasonable measure to ensure that student access to foods and beverages meet or exceed all federal, state and local laws and guidelines.

10. Food and Nutrition Services personnel will adhere to all federal, state and local food safety and security guidelines.

B. School Nutrition Program and Personnel

1. St. Mary’s will provide healthy and safe school meal programs that will comply with all federal, state and local statutes and regulations.

2. The Director of Food and Nutrition Services shall be responsible for administering the school meals and snack programs, whose duties shall include the creation of nutrition guidelines and procedures for the selection of foods and beverages made available on campus to ensure food and beverage choices are consistent with:

3. The school will provide continuing professional development for all food and nutrition service personnel in St. Mary's School as part of the school’s responsibility to operate a food and nutrition service program.

4. The Food and Nutrition Services Program will aim to be financially self-supporting and the program is an essential educational support activity.  Budget neutrality or profit generation will not take precedence over the nutritional needs of the students.

C. Nutrition Education and Promotion

1. St. Mary’s will encourage and support lifelong healthy eating by students and engage in nutrition promotion that is:

(a) Offered as part of the health and physical education curriculum designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;

(b) Age appropriate, skill building nutrition education at each grade level that is focused on behavior change; and

(c)Integrated into other areas of the curriculum such as math, science, language arts and social sciences.

2. The staff involved in nutrition education will be adequately prepared and participate regularly in professional development activities to effectively deliver current nutrition education programs.  Preparation and professional development activities will provide evidence-based knowledge of nutrition and instructional techniques and strategies designed to promote healthy eating habits.

3. The school will encourage all students to make age appropriate, healthy selections of food and beverages, including those sold individually outside the reimbursable school meal programs, such as through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines, fundraising events, concession stands, school stores, and classroom celebrations and rewards.

4. The school cafeteria will serve as a “learning laboratory” to allow students to apply nutrition skills taught in the classroom.

5. St. Mary’s will provide nutrition education to foster lifelong habits in healthy eating, and will establish linkages between health education and school meals programs.

6. St. Mary’s will limit foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior (unless this practice is allowed by a student’s individual education plan or behavior intervention plan).

7. St. Mary’s will provide information to families that encourage them to teach their children about health, nutrition and the importance of daily physical activity.

D.  Physical Activity

1. Students will develop the knowledge and skills for specific physical activities; maintain physical education, regularly participate in physical activity; and understand the short and long-term benefits of a physically active lifestyle.

2. Students will accumulate an average of 120 minutes of physical education per week.

3. The physical education teacher will be state certified or working towards the certification.

4. Physical education curriculum will follow the Diocesan approved standards for physical education with a focus on student’s development of motor skills, movement forms, and health related fitness.

5. Students will be moderately to vigorously active at least 50% of the time in physical education class.

6. St. Mary’s will provide a physical and social environment that encourages safe and enjoyable activity for all students, including those with disabilities and those who are not athletically gifted.

7. The use of physical activity as punishment, the withholding of participation in physical education class as punishment, or the use of physical education class time to complete assignments from other classes is prohibited.

8. St. Mary’s will provide community access to and encourage students and community members to use the school’s physical activity facilities outside of the normal school day.

9. St. Mary’s will encourage parents and community members to institute programs that support physical activity.

E. School based activities promoting wellness

1. St. Mary's School will create a school environment that provides a consistent wellness message, which includes the mind, body, and spirit.

2. Students will accumulate an average of 20 minutes per day of supervised recess.

3. Students will have access to hand washing before they eat meals or    snacks.

4. St. Mary’ will make every effort to provide students with sufficient time to eat after sitting down for school meals and will schedule meal periods at appropriate times during the school day.

5. Teachers and staff should discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meals or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets, and food safety/handling concerns.

F. Communication with parents

1. St. Mary’s recognizes that parents and guardians have a primary and fundamental role in promoting and protecting their children’s health and well-being.

2. The school will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children.

3. When sending a home-packed lunch or snack to school, the school encourages parents to pack healthy foods and refrain from including foods and beverages without nutritional value.  St. Mary’s prohibits carbonated soda beverage consumption in the school cafeterias during scheduled meal times.

4. St. Mary’s will provide information about physical education, nutrition and other school-based physical activity opportunities and will support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school.

5. St. Mary’s will provide outreach strategies to encourage families to reinforce and support healthy eating and physical activities.

IV. MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION

A. After approval by the School Board, the Wellness Policy will be implemented.

B. The principal will ensure compliance with the Wellness Policy and will provide an annual report of the Board of Education.

C. The Board of Education will meet once a year to review and update the policy

Legal References:

42 U.S.C. § 1751 et. seq. (Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act)

42 U.S.C. § 1751 et. seq. (Child Nutrition Act of 1996)

P.L. 108-265 (2004) § 204 (Local Wellness Policy)

7 U.S.C. § 5341 (Establishment of Dietary Guidelines)

7 C.F.R. § 210.10 (School Lunch Program Regulations)

7 C.F.R. § 220.8 (School Breakfast Program Regulations)

7 C.F.R. § 210 Appendix B (Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value)

Local Resources:

Minnesota Department of Education, www.education.state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Health, www.health.state.mn.us

County Health Departments

Action for Healthy Kids Minnesota, www.actionforhealthykids.org

Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards for Health/Physical Activity

http:/education.state.mn.us/mde/static/001070.pdf

Additional References and Associations Involved:

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)

National PTA

National School Boards Association (NSBA)

School Nutrition Association (SNA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) – Eating at School Summary

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Home Page