Policy 246 School Wellness
Pequea Valley School District recognizes that student wellness and proper nutrition are related to students' physical well-being, growth, development and readiness to learn. The Board is committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness, proper nutrition, nutrition education and promotion, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning experience. In a healthy school environment, students will learn about and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices that can improve student achievement.
The Board adopts this policy based on the recommendations of the Wellness Committee and in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations.
To ensure the health and well-being of all students, the Board establishes that the district shall provide to students:
- A comprehensive nutrition program consistent with federal and state requirements.
- Access at reasonable cost to foods and beverages that meet established nutrition guidelines.
- Physical education courses and opportunities for developmentally appropriate physical activity during the school day.
- Curriculum and programs for grades K-12 that are designed to educate students about proper nutrition and lifelong physical activity, in accordance with State Board of Education curriculum regulations and academic standards.
Delegation of Responsibility
The Superintendent or designee shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of this policy to ensure each of the district's schools, programs and curriculum is compliant with this policy, related policies and established guidelines or administrative regulations.
Each building principal or designee shall annually report to the Superintendent or designee regarding compliance in his/her school.
Staff members responsible for programs related to school wellness shall report to the Superintendent or designee regarding the status of such programs.
The Superintendent or designee shall annually report to the Board on the district's compliance with law and policies related to school wellness. The report may include:
- Assessment of school environment regarding school wellness issues.
- Review of all foods and beverages sold in schools for compliance with established nutrition guidelines.
- Listing of activities and programs conducted to promote nutrition and physical activity.
- Recommendations for policy and/or program revisions.
- Suggestions for improvement in specific areas.
- Feedback received from district staff, students, parents/guardians, community members and the Wellness Committee.
The Superintendent or designee and the established Wellness Committee shall conduct an assessment at least once every three (3) years on the contents and implementation of this policy as part of a continuous improvement process to strengthen the policy and ensure implementation. This triennial assessment shall be made available to the public in an accessible and easily understood manner and include:
- The extent to which each district school is in compliance with law and policies related to school wellness.
- The extent to which this policy compares to model wellness policies.
- A description of the progress made by the district in attaining the goals of this policy.
At least once every three (3) years, the district shall update or modify this policy as needed, based on the results of the most recent triennial assessment and/or as district and community needs and priorities change; wellness goals are met; new health science, information and technologies emerge; and new federal or state guidance or standards are issued.
The district shall annually inform and update the public, including parents/guardians, students, and others in the community, about the contents, updates and implementation of this policy via the district website, student handbooks, newsletters, posted notices and/or other efficient communication methods. This annual notification shall include information on how to access the School Wellness policy; information about the most recent triennial assessment; information on how to participate in the development, implementation and periodic review and update of the School Wellness policy; and a means of contacting Wellness Committee leadership.
The district shall retain records documenting compliance with the requirements of the School Wellness policy, which shall include:
- The written School Wellness policy.
- Documentation demonstrating that the district has informed the public, on an annual basis, about the contents of the School Wellness policy and any updates to the policy.
- Documentation of efforts to review and update the School Wellness policy, including who is involved in the review and methods used by the district to inform the public of their ability to participate in the review.
- Documentation demonstrating the most recent assessment on the implementation of the School Wellness policy and notification of the assessment results to the public.
The district shall establish a Wellness Committee comprised of, but not necessarily limited to, at least one (1) of each of the following: School Board member, district administrator, district food service representative, student, parent/guardian, school health professional, physical education teacher and member of the public. It shall be the goal that committee membership will include representatives from each school building and reflect the diversity of the community.
The Wellness Committee shall serve as an advisory committee regarding student health issues and shall be responsible for developing, implementing and periodically reviewing and updating a School Wellness policy that complies with law to recommend to the Board for adoption.
The Wellness Committee shall review and consider evidence-based strategies and techniques in establishing goals for nutrition education and promotion, physical activity and other school based activities that promote student wellness as part of the policy development and revision process.
Nutrition education will be provided within the sequential, comprehensive health education program in accordance with curriculum regulations and the academic standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences.
Nutrition education in the district shall teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating by students. Promoting student health and nutrition enhances readiness for learning and increases student achievement.
Nutrition education shall provide all students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy lives.
Nutrition education lessons and activities shall be age-appropriate.
Lifelong lifestyle balance shall be reinforced by linking nutrition education and physical activity.
The staff responsible for providing nutrition education shall be properly trained and prepared and shall participate in appropriate professional development. The district shall develop standards for such training and professional development.
Nutrition education shall extend beyond the school environment by engaging and involving families and the community.
Nutrition promotion and education positively influence lifelong eating behaviors by using evidence-based techniques and nutrition messages, and by creating food environments that encourage healthy nutrition choices and encourage participation in school meal programs.
Age-appropriate physical activity opportunities, such as outdoor and indoor recess, before and after school programs, during lunch, clubs, intramurals and interscholastic athletics, shall be provided to meet the needs and interests of all students, in addition to planned physical education.
Physical activity shall not be used or withheld as a form of punishment.
Students and their families shall be encouraged to utilize district-owned physical activity facilities, such as playgrounds and fields, outside school hours in accordance with established district rules.
A sequential physical education program consistent with curriculum regulations and Health, Safety and Physical Education academic standards shall be developed and implemented. All district students must participate in physical education.
A varied and comprehensive curriculum that promotes both team and individual activities and leads to students becoming and remaining physically active for a lifetime shall be provided in the physical education program.
Safe and adequate equipment, facilities and resources shall be provided for physical education courses.
Physical education shall be taught by certified health and physical education teachers.
Appropriate professional development shall be provided for physical education staff.
Physical activity shall not be used or withheld solely as a form of punishment.
Other School Based Activities
Drinking water shall be available and accessible to students, without restriction and at no cost to the student, at all meal periods and throughout the school day.
Nutrition professionals who meet hiring criteria established by the district and in compliance with federal regulations shall administer the school meals program. Professional development and continuing education shall be provided for district nutrition staff, as required by federal regulations.
District schools shall provide adequate space, as defined by the district, for eating and serving school meals.
Students shall be provided a clean and safe meal environment.
Students shall have access to hand washing or sanitizing before meals and snacks.
Nutrition content of school meals shall be available to students and parents/guardians.
Fundraising projects submitted for approval shall be supportive of healthy eating and student wellness.
Nutrition Guidelines for All Foods/Beverages at School
All foods and beverages available in district schools during the school day shall be offered to students with consideration for promoting student health and reducing obesity.
Foods and beverages provided through the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs shall comply with established federal nutrition standards.
Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day, such as athletic events and dances, shall offer healthy alternatives in addition to more traditional fare.
Competitive Foods -
Competitive foods available for sale shall meet or exceed the established federal nutrition standards (USDA Smart Snacks in School). These standards shall apply in all locations and through all services where foods and beverages are sold to students, which may include, but are not limited to: a la carte options in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, snack carts and fundraisers.
Competitive foods are defined as foods and beverages offered or sold to students on school campus during the school day, which are not part of the reimbursable school breakfast or lunch.
For purposes of this policy, school campus means any area of property under the jurisdiction of the school that students may access during the school day.
For purposes of this policy, school day means the period from midnight before school begins until thirty (30) minutes after the end of the official school day.
The district may impose additional restrictions on competitive foods, provided that the restrictions are not inconsistent with federal requirements.
Fundraising activities held during the school day involving the sale of competitive foods shall be limited to foods that meet the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, unless an exemption is approved in accordance with applicable Board policy and administrative regulations.
The district may allow a limited number of exempt fundraisers as permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education each school year: up to five (5) exempt fundraisers in elementary and middle school buildings, and up to ten (10) exempt fundraisers in high school buildings. Exempt fundraisers are fundraisers in which competitive foods are available for sale to students that do not meet the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
The district shall establish administrative regulations to implement fundraising activities in district schools, including procedures for requesting a fundraiser exemption.
Non-Sold Competitive Foods -
Non-sold competitive foods available to students, which may include but are not limited to foods and beverages offered as rewards and incentives, at classroom parties and celebrations, or as shared classroom snacks, shall meet or exceed the standards established by the district.
If the offered competitive foods do not meet or exceed the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, the following standards shall apply:
- Rewards and Incentives:
- Foods and beverages shall not be used as a reward or incentive in district schools.
- Classroom Parties and Celebrations:
- Classroom parties shall offer a minimal amount of foods (maximum 2-3 items) containing added sugar as the primary ingredient (e.g., cupcakes, cookies) and will provide the following:
- Fresh fruits/vegetables; and
- Water, 100 percent juice, 100 percent juice diluted with water, low-fat milk or nonfat milk.
- When possible, foods/beverages for parties and celebrations shall be provided by the food service department to help prevent food safety and allergy concerns.
- Shared Classroom Snacks:
- Shared classroom snacks are not permitted in district schools.
The district shall provide a list of suggested nonfood ideas and healthy food and beverage alternatives to parents/guardians and staff, which may be posted via the district website, student handbooks, newsletters, posted notices and/or other efficient communication methods.
Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on the school campus during the school day shall meet or exceed the established federal nutrition standards (USDA Smart Snacks in School) and comply with established Board policy and administrative regulations.
Exclusive competitive food and/or beverage contracts shall be approved by the Board, in accordance with provisions of law. Existing contracts shall be reviewed and modified to the extent feasible to ensure compliance with established federal nutrition standards, including applicable marketing restrictions.
Management of Food Allergies in District Schools
The district shall establish Board policy and administrative regulations to address food allergy management in district schools in order to:
- Reduce and/or eliminate the likelihood of severe or potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.
- Ensure a rapid and effective response in case of a severe or potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
- Protect the rights of students by providing them, through necessary accommodations when required, the opportunity to participate fully in all school programs and activities.
Safe Routes to School
The district shall cooperate with local municipalities, public safety agency, police departments and community organizations to develop and maintain safe routes to school.
District administrators shall seek and utilize available federal and state funding for safe routes to school, when appropriate.