The Decorah Community School District promotes healthy students by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as a part of the total learning environment. The school district supports a healthy environment where students learn and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices. By facilitating learning through the support and promotion of good nutrition and physical activity, we contribute to the basic health status of students. Improved health optimizes student performance potential.
The school district provides a comprehensive learning environment for developing and practicing lifelong wellness behaviors. The entire school environment, not just the classroom, shall be aligned with healthy school district goals to positively influence a student's understanding, beliefs and habits as they relate to good nutrition and regular physical activity.
The school district supports and promotes proper dietary habits contributing to students' health status and academic performance. All foods and beverages available on school grounds and at school-sponsored activities during the instructional day should meet or exceed the school district nutrition standards and be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. Foods should be served with consideration toward nutritional integrity, variety, appeal, taste, safety and packaging to ensure high-quality meals.
The school district will 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 meals. Toward this end, the school district may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; provide an alternate meal at no charge to any child who requests it; promote the availability of meals to all students; and/or use nontraditional methods for serving meals, such as "grab-and-go" or classroom breakfast.
Parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, the school board, school administrators, community members and the general public, physical education teachers, and school health professionals may participate in the development, implementation, and periodic review and update of this policy. The school district will maintain a local school wellness team comprised of such individuals. The local wellness team will develop a plan to implement this wellness policy and periodically review and update the policy. The team will designate an individual to chair the team and help with the implementation and evaluation of the policy. The team will report annually to the board and community regarding the content and effectiveness of this policy and recommend updates if needed. When monitoring implementation, school buildings will be evaluated individually with reports prepared for each building and the school district as a whole for review by the school board. The wellness team will designate building advisors to make sure buildings are in compliance with this wellness policy.
Specific wellness goals will be evaluated on a yearly basis by the wellness team, with review and oversight provided by the school board. Specific goals for nutrition education and promotion and procurement, physical activity, and other school-based activities that are designed to promote student wellness are set forth in Appendices A, B, and C, respectively. School food nutrition guidelines are set forth in Appendix D. The board will monitor and evaluate this policy as set forth in Appendix E.
The school district will be responsible to ensure that the public, including parents, students, and others in the community, are informed and updated about the content and implementation of this policy.
Date of Last Review: October 14, 2019
Date of Revision: October 14, 2019
DECORAH COMMUNITY SCHOOL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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Nutrition Education, Promotion and Procurement
The school district will provide nutrition education and engage in the procurement of foods that uphold the nutrition guidelines of food as presented in Appendix D and applicable state and federal laws, and to the greatest extent possible provide local, fresh and healthy foods. Nutrition education and procurement will support the values of local food being good for our health, our environment, our community and our economy.
Nutrition Education and Promotion:
- is offered at each grade level to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
- is part of not only health education classes, but is encouraged with cross curricular implementation.
- includes developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits and school gardens ;
- promotes fruits , vegetables, whole-grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods and health-enhancing nutrition practices with a focus on locally produced foods;
- emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and physical activity;
- correlates with school meal programs, other foods and nutrition-related community services; and,
- includes training for teachers and other staff. Food Procurement:
- The District shall source unprocessed locally grown or raised agricultural foods, within 150 miles, to the greatest extent possible, including school grown products (from school gardens), and menus will be developed to compliment local growing seasons and availability of foods.
- If the cost of unprocessed locally grown or raised agricultural food products is at or below 15% of comparably sourced foods, the district may use geographic preference for the procurement of local foods.
- The District will reach out to neighboring school districts to purchase locally grown food cooperatively, whenever possible, in order to increase the amount of products purchased from local farms and lower food costs.
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- The District will support and maintain school gardens that will serve as instructional tools for nutrition education, as well as encouraging curriculum integration into other content areas.
- The school gardens will also provide local fruits and vegetables to be incorporated into the District's school lunch. Products from the garden that are utilized by the District's Food Service will be reimbursed to the school garden fund at a percentage of the market value in order to provide sustainability for the garden projects.
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The school district will provide physical education that:
- is for all students in grades K-12 for the entire school year, except as otherwise provided by law;
- is taught by a certified physical education teacher;
- includes students with disabilities as they are physically able (students with special health-care needs may be provided physical education in alternative educational settings);and,
- engages students in moderate to vigorous activity, on average, 50 percent of physical education class time.
Daily Wellness Time (unstructured movement time)
Elementary schools should provide wellness time for students that:
- is at least 20 minutes a day;
- is preferably outdoors;
- encourages moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment
- In addition, the district discourages extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity throughout the school day. Teachers are encouraged to include physical activity within the classroom learning environment.
Integrating Physical Activity into Classroom Settings
For students to receive the nationally recommended amount of daily physical activity and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond the physical education class. Toward that end, the school district will:
- offer classroom health education that complements physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities;
- discourage sedentary activities, such as watching television, playing computer games, etc.;
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- provide opportunities for physical activity to be incorporated into other subject lessons; and,
- encourage classroom teachers to provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.
- When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.
Physical Activity and Punishment
Employees should not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., wellness time, physical education) as punishment during the school day.
Physical Activity Requirement
Except as otherwise provided by law, physically able students in grades kindergarten through 5 shall engage in physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes each school day, and physically able students in grades 6 through 12 shall engage in physical activity for a minimum of 120 minutes per week in which there are at least 5 days of school. This requirement may be met by physical education classes, activities at recess or during class time, and before- or after school activities.
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Other School-Based Activities that Promote Student Wellness
Communication with Parents
The school district will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school district will:
- encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the established nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages;
- provide parents a list of foods that meet the school district's snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards and fundraising activities;
- provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community;
- provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during and after the school day;
- support parents' efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school; and,
- include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a web site, newsletter, other take-home materials, special events or physical education homework.
Food Marketing in Schools
School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. The school district will:
- limit its food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually;
- limit other school-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages;
- promote healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy products; and
- consider other marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors.
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Nutrition Guidelines for All Foods Available on Campus
The nutrition guidelines for all foods available will focus on compliance with applicable federal and state laws and school district nutrition standards, and promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity
Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:
- be appealing and attractive to children;
- be served in clean and pleasant settings;
- meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by state and federal law;
- offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains; highlight local food when available and appropriate;
- serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally equivalent nondairy alternatives (as defined by the USDA); fat-free chocolate milk will be available as an option one time per day at each grade level (K - 8)
- engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys, in selecting foods offered through the meal programs in order to identify new, healthful and appealing food choices; and,
- share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. (The information could be made available on menus, a web site, on cafeteria menu boards, placards or other point-of-purchase materials.)
To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn, schools will:
- operate the breakfast program, to the extent possible;
- arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve breakfasts that encourage participation,
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- notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program, where available; and,
- encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials or other means.
Meal Times and Scheduling
The school district:
- will strive to provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch;
- schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; should not schedule tutoring, club or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities;
- will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and,
- should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).
Qualification of Food Service Staff
Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the meal programs. As part of the school district's responsibility to operate a food service program, the school district will:
- provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals; and,
- provide staff development programs that include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, nutrition managers and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility.
Sharing of Foods
- The school district discourages students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children's diets.
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Foods Sold Outside the Meal (e.g. vending, a la carte, sales)
All foods and beverages sold individually outside the reimbursable meal programs (including those sold through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines, and student stores or regulated fundraising activities) on school grounds during the school day or through programs for students after the school day will meet or exceed the school district nutrition standards and be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws.
Parents are strongly encouraged to purchase a school lunch when eating with their child or pack a homemade meal.
Regulated fundraising activities on school grounds during the school day must comply with the school district nutrition standards and be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. The school district encourages fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.
Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children's diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Schools will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of meals, children's nutritional needs, children's ages and other considerations. The school district will disseminate a list of healthful snack items to teachers, after-school program personnel and parents that meet the applicable nutrition content standards.
If eligible, schools that provide snacks through after-school programs will pursue receiving reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program.
The school district will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually, as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through meals) as a punishment.
Schools should evaluate their celebrations practices that involve food during the school day. The school district will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.
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Foods and beverages offered or sold on school grounds at school-sponsored events outside the school day are encouraged to meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually following the applicable nutrition content standards.
All foods made available on campus must adhere to food safety and security guidelines.
All foods made available on campus must comply with the state and local food safety and sanitation regulations. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans and guidelines are implemented to prevent food illness in schools.
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Plan for Measuring Implementation
When monitoring implementation, school buildings will be evaluated individually with reports prepared for each building and the school district as a whole for review by the school board. The superintendent will ensure compliance with established school district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies.
In each school:
the principal will ensure compliance with those policies in the school and will report on the school's compliance to the superintendent; and,
food service staff, at the school or school district level, will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent or principal.
In the school district:
the school district will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If the school district has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, the school district will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible;
the superintendent will develop a summary report every three years on school district-wide compliance with the school district's established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from schools within the school district; and,
the report will be provided to the school board and also distributed to all school wellness committees, parent/teacher organizations, principals and health services personnel in the school district.
Specific wellness goals will be evaluated on a yearly basis by the wellness team. The team will report annually to the board and community regarding the content and effectiveness of the wellness policy and recommend updates if needed.
To help with the initial development of the school district's wellness policies, each school in the school district will conduct a baseline assessment of the school's existing nutrition and physical activity environments and practices. The results of those school-by-school assessments will be compiled at the school district level to identify and prioritize needs.
The school district will periodically measure and make available to the public an assessment on the implementation of the school district's wellness policy, including the extent to which schools in the
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District are in compliance with the policy, the extent to which the policy compares to model local school wellness policies, and the progress made in attaining the goals of the policy.
Assessments will be repeated at least every 3 years to help review policy compliance, assess progress and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school district will review the nutrition and physical activity policies and practices and the provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity. The school district will revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation.