There are important changes occurring around the topic of our students’ wellness. The word “wellness” captures a broad range of areas that we want to share with you. Some of these areas are federally mandated and it is important we all abide by the required changes effective July 1, 2014. Others are the result of an 18-month study by a group that took very seriously its charge to determine what is best for our kids.
Please use the below summary as an initial guide to understanding the changes. We strongly recommend you review the full policy (8600) and procedures (8600 R1) as well. Thank you for joining us in this important – and necessary – action.
An Initial Guide to the New Wellness Policy and Procedures
Food Sold in Schools: Midnight to 30 minutes after dismissal
New USDA legislation changes what can be sold to students on school grounds, from midnight to 30 minutes after the close of the school day. This includes vending machines, school stores, á la carte lines and all fundraisers. There are no exceptions to this federal mandate. Any school found out of compliance jeopardizes the $3 million in Federal funds provided to our District’s school meals program.
This applies to all schools in all districts across the country. In Edmonds School District, we have shared this policy with administrators, held a Superintendent’s Roundtable and a special meeting for parent group leaders in May. We will continue to provide support and training as we all adjust to this required change.
Food as Incentives/Rewards
The Edmonds School District strongly discourages the use of food as an incentive or reward. Staff members and parent group leaders compelled to use food must select items that meet the USDA “Smart Snacks in School.”
Physical Activity/Physical Education
The difference between physical activity and physical education is critical to understanding why both contribute to the development of healthy and active children. Physical education is a K-12 planned and sequential program of curricula and instruction that helps students develop the knowledge, attitudes, motor skills, self-management skills and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physically active and healthy lifestyles. Physical activity is the application of what is learned in physical education class.
Birthday parties in classrooms may be celebrated with non-food treats and favors for students. No food is allowed as part of a birthday celebration. Appropriate alternatives to food that may be shared on special occasions can be within the procedures.
Food may be served at three classroom celebrations (such as seasonal, cultural or curriculum related) per classroom per year. The theme and time of year of the party is up to the discretion of the classroom teacher. If food is served it must meet the “Food Safety Guidelines For Room Parties” published by the Snohomish Health District. Due to the prevalence of students with severe food allergies, foods with nuts or tree nuts are strongly discouraged.