Policy 5600 – District Wellness
The District is committed to providing a school environment that promotes and protects students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn, by fostering healthy eating and physical activity before, during, and after the school day. This wellness policy outlines the District’s approach to ensuring environments and opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions. This wellness policy applies to all students, staff, and schools in the District.
For the purpose of this wellness policy:
- School campus means all areas of property under the jurisdiction of the District that are accessible to students during the school day.
- School day means the period from the midnight before, to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day.
District Wellness Committee
The District has established a wellness committee that meets at least four times per year per year to oversee and establish goals for school health and safety policies and programs, including the development, implementation, and periodic review and update of this district-level wellness policy. The District Wellness Committee will evaluate and make recommendations that reflect the specific needs of the District and its students.
The District will actively seek members for the District Wellness Committee through the use of email, newsletters, the District’s website, the District’s social media page(s), and/or advertisements.
The District Wellness Committee membership will represent all school levels, and include (to the extent possible), but not be limited to, representatives from the following groups:
- Parents and caregivers;
- Physical Education teacher(s);
- School health professional(s);
- District food service program representative(s);
- School Board;
- School administrators;
- General Education teachers; and
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP–ED) coordinators.
District Wellness Leadership
The following District official(s) is/are responsible for the implementation and oversight of this district-level wellness policy:
Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health & Recreation and
Director of Special Education, Pupil Services and Special Programs
The contact information for this/these individual(s) is/are: 518-762-4611
This/these individual(s) will be referred to as District Wellness Coordinator(s) throughout this wellness policy.
The District Wellness Coordinator(s) will convene the District Wellness Committee, facilitate the development of and updates to this wellness policy, and serve as liaison(s) with community agencies. The District Wellness Coordinator(s) will also work to ensure each school’s compliance with this wellness policy.
Wellness Policy Implementation, Monitoring, Accountability, and Community Engagement
The District will develop and maintain an implementation plan to manage and coordinate the execution of this wellness policy. The plan delineates roles, responsibilities, actions, and timelines specific to each school. It also includes specific goals and objectives for nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available on the school campus, food and beverage marketing, nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, physical education, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. In developing these goals, the District will review and consider evidence-based strategies and techniques.
Annual Notification of Policy
The District will inform families and the general public each year, via the District website and/or District-wide communications, of information about this wellness policy, including, but not limited to: its implementation status, its content, and any updates to the policy. The District will endeavor to share as much information as possible about its schools’ nutrition environment, including a summary of school events or activities relative to this wellness policy implementation. Each year, the District will also publicize the name and contact information of the District official(s) leading and coordinating the District Wellness Committee, as well as information on how the community may get involved with the District Wellness Committee.
At least once every three years, the District will assess its compliance with this wellness policy. The triennial assessment will measure the implementation of this wellness policy, and include an assessment of:
- The extent to which schools in the District are in compliance with this wellness policy;
- The extent to which this wellness policy compares to model local school wellness policies; and
- A description of the progress made in attaining the goals of this wellness policy.
The following District official(s) is/are responsible for managing the District’s triennial assessment:
Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health & Recreation and
Director of Special Education, Pupil Services and Special Programs
The contact information for this/these individual(s) is/are: 518-762-4611
The District will actively notify the public of the availability of the triennial assessment results.
Revisions and Updating the Policy
This wellness policy will be assessed and updated, at a minimum, every three years based on the results of the triennial assessment. This wellness policy may also be updated as District priorities change, community needs change, wellness goals are met, new health science, information and technology emerge, and/or new Federal or State guidance or standards are issued.
Evaluation and feedback from interested parties are welcomed as an essential part of revising and updating this wellness policy.
Community Involvement, Outreach, and Communications
The District is committed to being responsive to community input, which begins with awareness of this wellness policy. On an annual basis, the District will make this wellness policy available to families and the public. The District will also annually inform families and the public, in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways, of its content and implementation status, as well as any updates to this wellness policy. The District will make this information available via the district website and/or district-wide communications. The District will use these same means to inform families and the public on how to become involved with and support this wellness policy, as well as about the results of the triennial assessment.
The District will retain records to document compliance with the requirements of this wellness policy in the District Office and/or on the District’s central computer network. Documentation maintained at this location includes, but is not limited to:
- The written wellness policy;
- Documentation demonstrating that this wellness policy has been made available to the public;
- Documentation of efforts to review and update this wellness policy, including an indication of who is involved in the update and methods the District uses to make stakeholders aware of their ability to participate on the District Wellness Committee;
- Documentation demonstrating compliance with the annual public notification requirements;
- The most recent triennial assessment on the implementation of this wellness policy; and
- Documentation demonstrating that the most recent triennial assessment results have been made available to the public.
The District seeks to ensure all of its students obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to make nutritious food selections and enjoy life-long physical activity. To this end, the District sets forth the following goals relating to nutrition.
The District is committed to promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity by:
- Serving meals that meet or exceed nutrition requirements established by local, state, and Federal statutes and regulations;
- Ensuring all students have a scheduled lunch period;
- Providing all students with adequate time to consume meals;
- Promoting healthy food and beverage choices;
- Preparing meals that are appealing and attractive to students;
- Serving meals in clean and pleasant settings;
- Having lunch follow the recess period to better support learning and healthy eating; and
- Encouraging student participation in federal Child Nutrition Programs.
Child Nutrition Programs aim to improve the diet and health of school children, help mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.
All schools within the District participate in the following federal Child Nutrition Programs:
National School Lunch Program
School Breakfast Program
District food service staff will meet with students in grades 4 through 12 twice annually to solicit feedback on the school breakfast and/or school lunch program(s).
Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
All school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff will meet or exceed hiring and annual continuing education and training requirements as specified in the USDA Professional Standards for School Nutrition Professionals. In order to locate the training that best fits their learning needs, school nutrition personnel will refer to the USDA’s Professional Standards for School Nutrition Standards website.
To promote hydration, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students and staff throughout the school day and throughout every school campus. The District will make drinking water available where school meals are served during meal times.
Competitive Foods and Beverages
All competitive foods will meet, at a minimum, the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. The Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards aim to improve student health and well-being, increase consumption of healthful foods during the school day and create an environment that reinforces the development of healthy eating habits.
Competitive foods include all food and beverages available for sale to students on the school campus during the school day other than meals reimbursed through programs authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. This includes, but is not limited to, a la carte options in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, and snack or food carts.
Foods and Beverages Provided, But Not Sold, to Students During the School Day
The District is committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students on the school campus during the school day support healthy eating. The foods and beverages provided, but not sold, to students on the school campus during the school day (e.g. classroom parties, classroom snacks brought by parents, or other foods given as incentives) will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snack in School nutrition standards.
All foods and beverages available for sale to students through fundraisers on the school campus during the school day will meet, at a minimum, the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
School-sponsored fundraisers conducted outside of the school day will be encouraged to support the goals of this wellness policy by promoting the sale of healthy food items (fresh fruit and produce) and/or non-food items, such as water bottles, plants, etc., and by promoting events involving physical activity.
Foods and Beverages Available for Sale at Events Outside of the School Day
The District is committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students support healthy eating. The foods and beverages that are available for sale at school sponsored events outside of the school day will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snack in School nutrition standards.
Food and Beverages Marketing in Schools
All foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on the school campus during the school day will meet, at a minimum, the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Food marketing commonly includes oral, written, or graphic statements made for the purpose of promoting the sale of a food or beverage product.
The District is aware that certain scoreboards, signs, and other durable equipment it employs may market foods and beverages in a way that is inconsistent with the aims of this wellness policy. While the immediate replacement of this equipment is not required, as the District replaces or updates this equipment over time, it will ensure its replacement and purchasing decisions reflect the marketing guidelines established by this wellness policy.
Nutrition Promotion and Education
Nutrition promotion and education positively influences lifelong eating behaviors. The District will model and encourage healthy eating by:
- Promoting healthy food and beverage choices for all students by using Smarter Lunchroom techniques which guide students toward healthful choices, as well as by ensuring that 100% of foods and beverages promoted to students meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards;
- Promoting nutrition education activities that involve parents, students, and the community;
- Promoting school and community awareness of this wellness policy through various means, such as publication on the District website;
- Encouraging and promoting wellness through social media, newsletters, and an annual family wellness event;
- Encouraging participation in federal Child Nutrition Programs;
- Ensuring that the marketing and advertising of foods and beverages on school campuses during the school day is consistent with nutrition education and health promotion;
- Integrating nutrition education within the comprehensive health education curriculum and other instructional areas, as appropriate, and taught at every grade level, K through 12. Nutrition education follows applicable New York State Standards and is designed to help students acquire:
- Nutrition knowledge, including, but not limited to: the benefits of healthy eating; essential nutrients; nutritional deficiencies; principles of healthy weight management; the use and misuse of dietary supplements; and safe food storage, handling, and preparation;
- Nutrition-related skills, including, but not limited to: planning healthy meals; understanding and using food labels; critically evaluating nutrition information, misinformation, and commercial food advertising; assessing personal eating habits; and setting and achieving goals related to these concepts;
- Providing families and teachers with a list of healthy party ideas, including non-food celebration ideas;
- Providing families with a list of classroom snacks and beverages that meet USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards;
- Discouraging staff from using food as a reward or withholding food as punishment under any circumstance – teachers and other appropriate school staff will be provided with a list of alternative ways to reward students; and
- Encouraging District staff to model healthy eating, drinking, and physical activity behaviors for students.
Physical Activity and Education
Since physical activity affects students’ emotional and physical well-being, as well as their cognitive development, the District is committed to ensuring that all students, including students with disabilities requiring adaptations or modifications, are provided the opportunity to participate in physical activity before, during, and after school. Physical activity opportunities will be in addition to, not in lieu of, physical education.
Recess, physical education, or other physical activity time will not be cancelled for instructional make-up time, nor will it be withheld for disciplinary action unless the student is a danger to him or herself or others. This does not include participation on sport teams that may have specific academic requirements. Classroom teachers will be provided with a list of ideas for alternative ways to discipline students.
The District is committed to encouraging physical activity through the following:
- Brain Breaks
All classroom teachers, and particularly those engaged in the instruction of K through 5 students, are strongly encouraged to incorporate into the school day short breaks for students that include physical activity, especially after long periods of inactivity.
- Recess (Elementary)
All elementary students will be offered one daily period of recess for a minimum of 20 minutes. This requirement will not apply on days where students arrive late, leave early, or are otherwise on campus for less than a full day. Outdoor recess will be offered when weather permits. In the event that indoor recess is necessary, it will be offered in a place that accommodates moderate to vigorous physical activity.
- Active Academics
Teachers are encouraged to incorporate kinesthetic learning approaches into core learning subjects when possible to limit sedentary behavior during the school day.
- Before and After School Activities
The District will offer opportunities for all students to participate in physical activity before and/or after the school day through various methods, such as physical activity clubs, intramurals, and interscholastic sports.
- Active Transport
The District supports active transport to and from school, i.e. walking or biking. The District will encourage this behavior by securing storage facilities for bicycles and equipment and instructing students on walking and bicycling safety. The District strongly encourages the use of appropriate protective wear, such as helmets.
The District will have a Board-approved Physical Education Plan on file with the New York State Education Department that meets or exceeds the requirements set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations. All students will be required to fulfill the physical education requirements set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations as a condition of graduating from the District’s schools.
The District recognizes the importance of physical education classes in providing students with meaningful opportunities for physical exercise and development. Consequently, the District will ensure that:
- All physical education classes are taught or supervised by a certified physical education teacher;
- All physical education staff receive professional development relevant to physical education on a yearly basis;
- Interscholastic sports, intramural sports, and recess do not serve as substitutes for a quality physical education program;
- Students are afforded the opportunity to participate in moderate to vigorous activity for at least 50% of physical education class time;
- It provides adequate space and equipment for physical education and conforms to all applicable safety standards;
- An age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education is implemented, with a focus on students’ development of motor skills, movement forms, and health-related fitness;
- A physical and social environment is provided that encourages safe and enjoyable activity for all students; and
- Activities or equipment are adapted or modified to meet the needs of students who are temporarily or permanently unable to participate in the regular program of physical education. In doing so, the District will abide by specific provisions in 504 Plans and/or individualized education programs (IEP). To that end, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) will ensure that a certified physical education teacher participates in the development of a student’s IEP, if the student may be eligible for adapted physical education.
Other School-Based Activities that Promote Student Wellness
The District is committed to establishing a school environment that is conducive to healthy eating and physical activity for all. The District will, therefore, pursue the following:
The District will develop, enhance, and continue relationships with community partners in support of the implementation of this wellness policy. Existing and new community partnerships will be evaluated to ensure they are consistent with this wellness policy and its goals. The District will provide all community partners with a copy of this wellness policy so that they are aware of the District’s requirements and goals.
Community Access to District Facilities for Physical Activities
School grounds and facilities will be available to students, staff, community members and organizations, and agencies offering physical activity and nutrition programs consistent with District policy, including provisions regarding conduct on school grounds and administrative approval of use by outside organizations.
When feasible, the District will offer annual professional learning opportunities and resources for staff to increase knowledge and skills about promoting healthy behaviors in the classroom and school (e.g., increasing the use of kinesthetic teaching approaches or incorporating nutrition lessons into math class). Professional learning will help District staff understand the connections between academics and health and the ways in which health and wellness are integrated into ongoing district reform or academic improvement plans/efforts.
42 USC. §§ 1758, 1758b
7 CFR. §§ 210.10, 210.11, 210.18, 210.31, and 220.8
USDA, SP 24-2017, Local School Wellness Policy: Guidance and Q&As (Apr. 6, 2017)
81 Fed. Reg. 50,151 (July 29, 2016) (codified at 7 C.F.R. pts. 210 & 220)
Education Law § 915
8 NYCRR § 135.4
Memorandum from N.Y. St. Educ. Department on Smart Snacks Standards and Fundraisers (Sept. 16, 2014)
NOTE: Refer also to Policy # 5660 — School Food Service Program (Lunch and Breakfast)