Wellness Policy

Here is the revised Wellness Policy (effective March 2013) which was changed to meet new government guidelines. Click here for a printable (.pdf) file. Questions may be directed to Tasha Hartley 685-1005 or thartley@grsd.org 

 

 

WELLNESS POLICY

The Gateway Regional School District is committed to providing a school environment that
 enhances learning and development of lifelong wellness practices.

 

To accomplish these goals:

  • Child Nutrition Programs comply with federal, state and local requirements.  Child Nutrition Programs are accessible to all children.
  • Nutrition education is provided and promoted.
  • Patterns of meaningful physical activity connect to students’ lives outside of physical education.
  • All school-based activities are consistent with local wellness policy goals.
  • All foods and beverages made available on campus (including vending, concessions, a la carte, student stores, parties and fundraising) during the school day are consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • All foods made available on campus adhere to food safety and security guidelines.
  • The school environment is safe, comfortable, pleasing, and allows ample time and space for eating meals.  Food and/or physical activity is not used as a reward or punishment.

 

NUTRITION EDUCATION

 

  • Nutrition education is integrated into other areas of the curriculum such as math, science, language arts and social studies. Elementary students participate in Health Class. Middle school students receive four years of Health Class. High school students receive 1/2 year of Health as a required course.
  • Nutrition education includes sharing information with families and the broader community to positively impact students and the health of the community. Gateway's instrument for achieving this goal is the Gateway e-newsletter Breaking News, which is sent to all staff and parent/community subscribers via email. It is also posted on the Gateway website.
  • The staff responsible for nutrition education is adequately prepared and will be urged to participate regularly in professional development activities to effectively deliver an accurate nutrition education program as planned. Preparation and professional development activities will provide basic knowledge of nutrition, combined with skill practice in program-specific activities and instructional techniques and strategies designed to promote healthy eating habits.
  • The school cafeteria offers healthy choices and serves as a "learning laboratory" to allow students to apply critical thinking skills taught in the classroom. Elementary nurses serve as lunch duty monitors and observers.
  • The school district provides information to families that encourage them to teach their children about health and nutrition and to provide nutritious meals for their families.
  • Students will be encouraged to start each day with a healthy breakfast. All schools give students the opportunity to participate in the breakfast program. Students who arrive early must wait in the Cafeteria for the first bell. Breakfast is available at that time.
  •  

CELEBRATIONS TAKING PLACE DURING SCHOOL HOURS

  • Life-threatening food allergies must be considered at all times; therefore, food meant to be shared in elementary classrooms must receive prior approval from the school nurse.
  • Teachers using food as part of the curricula will adhere to healthy choices and must be ESSENTIAL to the learning of the concept.
  • Promotes the concept that food should not be the focus of a classroom celebration.
  •  
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
 
  • Physical education courses will be the environment where students learn, practice and are assessed on developmentally appropriate motor skills, social skills and knowledge.
  • Policies ensure that state-certified physical education instructors teach all physical education classes.
  • Policies ensure that physical education classes have a student/teacher ratio similar to other classes (24-1).
  • Provide a daily recess period at the Elementary and Middle School levels. Elementary recess is before lunch. Weather permitting, elementary students have access to the playground as buses arrive in the morning.
  • Physical education includes the instruction of individual activities as well as competitive and non-competitive team sports to encourage life-long physical activity.
  • Adequate equipment is available for all students to participate in physical education. Physical activity facilities on school grounds will be safe.
  • The school provides a physical and social environment that encourages safe and enjoyable activity for all students, including those who are not athletically gifted.
  • Information will be provided to families to help them incorporate physical activity into their student's lives.
  • Schools are encouraged to provide community access to and encourage students and community members to use the school's physical activity facilities outside of the normal school day. (Gateway's Wellness Center, athletic fields)
  • Schools encourage families and community members to institute programs that support physical activity.

 

OTHER SCHOOL- BASED ACTIVITIES

 

  • After-school programs will encourage physical activity and healthy habit formation.
  • Local wellness policy goals are considered in planning all school-based activities (such as school events, field trips, dances and assemblies).
  • Support for the health of all students is demonstrated by hosting health clinics, health screenings, and helping to enroll eligible children in Medicaid and other state children's health insurance programs (Gateway's School-Based Health Center).

 

 

NUTRITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR ALL FOODS ON CAMPUS

 

All foods made available on campus will comply with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages, including:

 

  • VENDING MACHINES

  • ALA CARTE

  • BEVERAGE CONTRACTS

  • STUDENT STORES

  • SCHOOL PARTIES/CELEBRATIONS

  • SNACKS PROVIDED BY AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS

 

All foods made available on campus by Fundraisers and Concession stands are to comply with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Massachusetts Ala Carte and Beverage Standards.

 

Food providers will take every measure to ensure that student access to foods and beverages meets federal, state and local laws and guidelines. Food providers will offer a variety of age appropriate healthy food and beverage selections for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.

Nutrition information for products offered in snack bars, ala carte, vending, and school stores is readily available near the point of purchase.

 

Families, teachers, students and school officials are engaged in choosing the competitive food selections for their local schools

 

Promotional activities will be limited to programs that are requested by school officials to support teaching and learning.  All promotional activities in schools will be connected to activities that encourage physical activity, academic achievement or positive youth development and are in compliance with local guidelines.

 

Food providers will be sensitive to the school environment in displaying their logos and trademarks on school grounds.

 

Classroom snacks feature healthy choices.

 

Nutrition education is recommended during classroom snack time, not just during meals.  Foods and beverages sold at fundraisers include healthy choices and provide age appropriate selections for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Examples for Fundraisers are: fruit baskets, plants, seeds, candles, wrapping paper and cards.

 

Advertising messages are consistent with and reinforce the objectives of the education and nutrition environment goals of the school.

 

Advertising of foods or beverages in the areas accessible to students during meal times must be consistent with established nutrition environment standards.

 

 

EATING ENVIRONMENT

 

The National Association of State Boards of Education recommends that students should be provided adequate time to eat lunch, at least 10 minutes for breakfast and 20 minutes for lunch, from the time the student is seated.

 

Lunch periods are scheduled as near the middle of the school day as possible.  Recess for elementary grades is scheduled before lunch, whenever possible.

 

Cafeterias include enough serving areas so that students do not have to spend too much time waiting in line.

 

Dining areas are attractive and have enough space for seating all students.

 

Drinking water is available for students at meals, free of charge and easily accessible.

 

Food is not used as a reward or a punishment for student behaviors, unless it is detailed in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

 

 

CHILD NUTRITION OPERATIONS

 

The child nutrition program will aim to be financially self-supporting. However, the program is an essential educational support activity.  Budget neutrality or profit generation will not take precedence over the nutritional needs of the students.  If subsidy of the child nutrition fund is needed, it will not be from the sale of foods that have minimal nutritional value and/or compete nutritionally with program meals.

 

The child nutrition program will ensure that all students have affordable access to the varied and nutritious foods they need to stay healthy and learn well.

 

The school will strive to increase participation in the available federal Child Nutrition programs (e.g.school lunch, school breakfast, after school snack and summer food service programs).

 

Employ a food service director, who is properly qualified, certified and/or credentialed according to current professional standards, to administer the school food service program and satisfy reporting requirements.

 

All food service personnel shall have adequate pre-service training in food service operations.

 

A child’s need for nutrients does not end when school does. Therefore, recommend offering meals during breaks in the school calendar and to coordinate with other agencies and community groups to operate, or assist with operating, a summer food service program for children and adolescents who are eligible for federal program support.

 

Students are encouraged to start each day with a healthy breakfast.

 

 

FOOD SAFETY/FOOD SECURITY

 

All foods made available on campus 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.

 

For the safety and security of the food and facility, access to the food service operations are limited to Child Nutrition staff and authorized personnel. For further guidance see the US Department of Agriculture food security guidelines.

 

The Gateway Regional Wellness Policy Implementation Committee meets four times during the school year. The committee merged with the Gateway Health Advisory Committee and is comprised of: Superintendent, Food Service and Nutrition Director, Nurse Team Leader, members of the School-Based Health Center, Principals, Teachers, Parents and Students.

 

EVALUATION

 

The Health Advisory Committee will oversee the implementation of the Wellness Policy.  Faculty and staff, parents, and the community will be educated regarding the Wellness Policy through presentations, handbooks at each school, and the district website.

 

The policy will be evaluated at the conclusion of each school year with revisions made to the policy as necessary. Revisions must adhere to the guidelines in Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages.

 

The evaluation of the Wellness Policy will be reported to the Superintendent of Schools and the School Committee.                   

 

(Revisions approved March 2013)