LOCAL WELLNESS POLICY
The Gardner School System recognizes the important relationship between wellness and academic success. The Gardner Schools are committed to providing an environment that enhances learning and promotes life-long health and fitness.
The Gardner Public Schools (GPS) are committed to meeting the requirements of the Federal Public Law (PL 108.265) that states all school districts must have a wellness policy by September 1, 2006. The Wellness Committee, informed by the Nutrition and Wellness Committees, will continue to monitor and adjust guidelines according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, NASPE (National Association for Sports and Physical Education), and best practices that are reported (for more information go to: www.physical-education-cyrrucykyn-technology-consulting.net/curriculum/NASPE_Standards.html).
The Gardner Public School Wellness Program includes a Wellness Committee and a Nutrition Committee that meets on an as needed basis. Teachers, nurses, students, parents, community partners, administrators, school committee members, and food service personnel are invited to work with the Wellness Advisory Committee and the Nutrition Committee to promote improvements in our existing health and fitness programs. Gardner Public Schools will continue to participate in implementation and measurement plans that are developed and/or recommended by the State of Massachusetts.
The Gardner Public Schools establishes goals to improve nutrition education and services. The School System provides sequential and interdisciplinary nutrition and physical education to promote life-long health and physical fitness. The District’s goal is to encourage and promote good nutrition and fitness both in school and for out of school activities. Gardner Public Schools will work to ensure that all school-based activities are consistent with local wellness policy goals and meet current National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) standards.
The Gardner Public Schools will continue to inform and support the school community by providing appropriate health and wellness programs. We encourage community partnerships and will continue to work with local health and education agencies to assess and report best practices.
The Gardner Public Schools maintains a Nutrition Committee, which meets on an as needed basis. The committee may monitor, assess, and provide healthy foods and nutritional awareness for students, parents, and staff.
Students who receive subsidized lunches are identified via computer and identification systems that are confidential and do not discriminate against any student.
A healthy lifestyle for staff is encouraged and supports our overall efforts to promote life-long fitness and health. Staff is encouraged to be role models for good health.
Health Education Guidelines
Schools in the District provide documented health education appropriate for grade level and motivated by health promotion and illness prevention guidelines.
District staff provides health education encompassing mental and physical aspects appropriate for students’ grade levels. The program gives students information to promote nutrition and physical fitness throughout their lifespans.
Wellness Policy Goals:
Food will not be used for reward or punishment.
In order to assure healthy and safe foods, any foods or beverages brought into the school for classes will have prior approval from the nurse. Approval is done through the Food In School Approval Form (see Policy JLCE Life Threatening Food Allergies).
Students will have at least 10 minutes for breakfast and 20 minutes for lunch from the time they are seated.
Elementary students will have recess prior to lunch periods when at all possible.
Elementary students will have access to hand washing supplies, and be encouraged to use them, prior to lunch.
The Food Service Department seeks to improve nutritional awareness and provide healthy foods within the school day.
Foods and beverages made available through the Food Service Department are consistent with United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service recommendations. For more information regarding these recommendations please visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/policy
Foods available on campus adhere to food safety and security guidelines.
The District strives for a safe, comfortable, pleasing environment, and provides ample space for eating meals.
A la carte items, all items in school stores and snack bars, foods and beverages sold or provided at booster sales, concession stands, and other school sponsored or school-related fundraisers and events from midnight of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day, must meet the Competitive Foods and Beverage Nutrition Standards (Appendix A).
Foods and beverages sold in vending machines must meet the Competitive Foods and Beverage Nutrition Standards at all times. (Appendix A)
Prices for school meals are consistent with Massachusetts and Federal guidelines.. A la carte items are limited in choices in order to encourage purchase of full meals.
No food may be “ordered out” and consumed in the cafeteria.
No foods purchased outside the cafeteria are allowed until lunch periods are completed.
Lunch periods are scheduled as close to the middle of the students’ day as possible.
Only foods and beverages that meet the Massachusetts and USDA Competitive Foods and Beverage Nutrition Standards “At-A-Glance”, may be marketed or advertised on the school campus. (Appendix A)
Nutrition Education Goals
The District will provide food and nutrition education for all students as part of the existing Comprehensive School Health Education and Wellness Program
The nutrition education program will be consistent with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks and will be designed to increase age-appropriate nutritional knowledge and skills. This will allow students to assess their own eating habits and be educated consumers with respect to advertising and the media.
The District’s teaching staff and food personnel will work together to promote a consistent, coordinated message about nutrition and healthy eating choices.
Physical fitness, both structured and general activity, is strongly supported and encouraged according to NASPE guidelines practiced in our schools.
After school and in-school programs follow approved curricula to promote life-long fitness.
Fundraisers that promote physical activity are strongly encouraged. Recess promotes physical activity and withholding recess as a punishment or in lieu of completing other academic work is strongly discouraged.
Physical Education Goals
Physical education classes will promote personal growth, connect with activities that can be maintained outside of school and encourage life-long fitness.
Each school provides a sequential and interdisciplinary plan to provide students with access to meaningful physical activity that is consistent with wellness policy goals and outlined according to NASPE curricula and standards.
Every effort will be made to provide physical education appropriate to grade level and to assess and monitor for appropriate use of NASPE guidelines.
Suitable physical education should be part of the education plan for all students. The amount of time that students spend per week in physical education classes and in recess should be designed to achieve a balance between academic goals and the need for physical activity.
Modified programs for students with chronic health problems, disabling conditions, or other special physical needs shall be provided.
All students are required to complete physical education requirements as set forth by the Gardner Public School system.
All interscholastic coaches must have up-to-date training in both First Aid and CPR.
Health Education Goals
Health curricula will be consistent with Wellness Policy goals, as well as Massachusetts and federal guidelines.
Health curricula will be monitored and assessed quarterly for consistency and appropriate guidelines, through the Wellness Committee and through physical education teachers’ reviews.
Local Wellness Policy compliance is monitored at the building level by the Principal and School Nurse. . Monitoring at the district level is the responsibility of the Wellness Committee, led by the School Nurse Leader, and supported by the Superintendent of Schools.
The school district will provide nutrition education aligned with standards established by the USDA’s National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program in all grades. For more information regarding this visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/policy. The school district will provide physical education training aligned with the standards established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). District Health and Physical Education Staff, in consultation with the Wellness Committee, will develop procedures that address nutrition and physical education.
Physical Education Activities
- Students are given opportunities for physical activity during the school day through physical education (PE) classes, daily recess periods for elementary school students, and the integration of physical activity into the academic curriculum where appropriate.
- Students are given opportunities for physical activity through a range of before-and/or after-school programs including, but not limited to, intramurals, interscholastic athletics, and physical activity clubs.
- Schools work with the community to create ways for students to walk, bike, rollerblade, or skateboard safely to and from school.
- Schools encourage parents and guardians to support their children’s participation in physical activity, to be physically active role models, and to include physical activity in family events.
- Schools provide training to enable staff to promote enjoyable, life-long physical activity among students.
Other School-Based Activities
District Health and Physical Education Staff, in consultation with the Wellness Committee, are charged with developing procedures addressing other school-based activities to promote wellness by:
- Having an adequate amount of time is allowed for students to eat meals in adequate lunchroom facilities.
- Making sure that all children who participate in subsidized food programs are able to obtain food in a manner that does not identify them to other students.
- Ensuring that environmentally-friendly practices, such as the use of locally grown and seasonal foods, school gardens, and non-disposable tableware, have been considered and implemented where appropriate.
- Considering physical activities and/or nutrition services or programs designed to benefit staff health and, to the extent practical, implementing those programs or services.
The Wellness Committee will assess all education curricula and materials pertaining to wellness for accuracy, completeness, balance, and consistency with the state and district’s educational goals and standards. District Health and Physical Education Staff, in consultation with the Wellness Committee, shall be responsible for devising a plan for implementation and evaluation of the District Wellness Policy and are charged with operational responsibility for ensuring that schools meet the goals of the District Wellness Policy. The Wellness Policy will be evaluated and revised as necessary every 3 years as required by The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.
LEGAL REFS: United States Department of Agriculture, 2016
[Adopted: July 2006]
[Revised: June 2017]