Highlands School District
Highlands 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.
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.
- Evaluation of food services program.
- 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 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.
Nutrition education shall be integrated into other subjects such as math, science, language arts and social sciences to complement but not replace academic standards based on nutrition education.
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.
Community activities shall be posted on the District's website.
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.
District food service personnel shall review and implement research-based, behavioral economics techniques in the cafeteria to encourage consumption of more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and to decrease plate waste.
Consistent nutrition messages shall be disseminated and displayed throughout the district, schools, classrooms, cafeterias, homes, community and media.
Students shall be encouraged to start each day with a healthy breakfast.
District schools shall strive to provide opportunities for developmentally appropriate physical activity during the school day for all students.
Students shall participate daily in a variety of age-appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health, wellness, fitness and performance benefits.
A physical and social environment that encourages safe and enjoyable activity for all students shall be maintained.
Before and/or after-school programs shall provide developmentally appropriate physical activity for participating children.
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.
Physical education classes shall be the means through which all students learn, practice and are assessed on developmentally appropriate skills and knowledge necessary for lifelong, health-enhancing physical activity.
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.
Other School Based Activities
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.
Students shall be provided adequate time to eat: ten (10) minutes sit down time for breakfast; twenty (20) minutes sit down time for lunch.
Goals of the School Wellness policy shall be considered in planning all school based activities.
The district shall support the efforts of parents/guardians to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for children by communicating relevant information through various methods.
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 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.
The district may impose additional restrictions on competitive foods, provided that the restrictions are not inconsistent with federal requirements.
Fundraiser Exemptions -
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 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 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 Smart Snacks in School.
Parents/Guardians shall be informed through newsletters or other efficient communication methods that foods/beverages should only be brought in when requested for scheduled parties.
When possible, foods/beverages for parties and celebrations shall be provided by the food service department to help prevent food safety and allergy concerns.
Curricular Exceptions under this category are permissible. All exceptions must be approved by the building principal.
The district shall provide a list of suggested nonfood ideas, Smart Snack nutrition standards 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 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.
- A comprehensive nutrition program consistent with federal and state requirements.