Our Wellness Policy

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Wellness Policy

Wellness Policy

The district recognizes that student wellness and proper nutrition are related to students’ physical well-being, growth, development, and readiness to learn. The district is committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness, proper nutrition, nutrition education, and regular and 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.

Food and Beverage Availability

The district is committed to serving healthy meals to students, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; that are moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat, and have zero grams trans fat per serving (nutrition label or manufacturer’s specification); and to meeting the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal 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 USDA child nutrition programs through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and are committed to offering school meals that:

  • are accessible to all students
  • are appealing and attractive to children
  • are served in clean and pleasant settings
  • meet or exceed current nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations
  • promote healthy food and beverage choices using Smarter Lunchroom techniques as recommended by the USDA where appropriate

Students in grades Pre-K to fifth grade will be provided a minimum of 20 minutes to consume lunch after they have received their food.

Schools will not use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior. Additionally, schools will not withhold food or beverages as punishment. Teachers are provided with a list of alternative ideas for behavior management.

Water

To promote hydration, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students throughout the school day and throughout every school campus. The district will make drinking water available where school meals are served during mealtimes.

Competitive foods and beverages

The district is committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students on school campuses during the school day support healthy eating. The foods and beverages sold outside of the school meal programs (e.g., “competitive” foods and beverages) will meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, at a minimum. See administrative rule EFE-R, Competitive Foods Sales/Vending Machines, for more information. The district will establish standards for foods made available, but not sold, during the school day on school campuses.

All foods that meet the competitive food standards may be sold at fundraisers on the school campus during school hours. The number of fundraisers exempt from the nutrition requirements will be determined by the South Carolina State Board of Education (see administrative rule EFE-R).

Exempt fundraiser sales should not interfere with the National School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program and no sales should take place during the hours of operations that breakfast and lunch are being served. 

Smart Snack vending and canteen sales are allowed during breakfast and lunch.

All foods made available on campus will adhere to food safety and security guidelines.

During the instructional day, foods that come from home with purpose of sharing among students must be store bought, pre-packaged foods. Parents and guardians are encouraged to bring healthy options whether for sharing with a group or for their own child. Parents are discouraged from bringing fast food into the cafeteria to be consumed.

To ensure food safety, all foods served on campus for a special event should be purchased from a licensed catering service or the Child Nutrition Department.

This policy does not pertain to after school activities, i.e. PTA, Drama, National Honor Society, Booster Club, Music or Sporting Events.

District Goals for Health and Wellness

Nutrition promotion

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. Students and staff will receive consistent nutrition messages throughout schools, classrooms, gymnasiums, and cafeterias. Nutrition promotion also includes marketing and advertising nutritious foods and beverages to students and is most effective when implemented consistently through a comprehensive and multi-channel approach by school staff, teachers, parents/legal guardians, students, and the community.

The district will promote healthy food and beverage choices for all students throughout the school campus and will encourage participation in school meal programs. This promotion will occur through the use of evidence-based healthy food promotion techniques through the school meal programs using Smarter Lunchroom techniques and through adherence to a policy of 100% of foods and beverages promoted to students meeting the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.

Nutrition education

The district will teach, model, encourage, and support healthy eating by all students. Schools will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that fulfills the following criteria:

  • fosters the adoption and maintenance of healthy eating behaviors such as acquiring skills for reading food labels and menu planning
  • is part of a sequential comprehensive standards-based health education program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and healthy food preparation methods
  • emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (promotes physical activity/exercise)
  • links with school meal programs, cafeteria nutrition promotion activities, school gardens, Farm to School programs, and other school foods and nutrition-related community services
  • teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food and beverage marketing
  • includes nutrition education training for teachers and other staff

See policy IHAM, Health Education, for more information.

Physical activity

Children and adolescents should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. A substantial percentage of students’ physical activity can be provided through a comprehensive school physical activity program which includes quality physical education as the foundation; physical activity before, during, and after school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement. Schools may promote opportunities for physical activity via in school announcements, newsletters, posters, etc. The district is committed to providing these opportunities, and schools will ensure that these varied physical activity opportunities are in addition to, and not as a substitute for, physical education.

Whenever possible, recess for elementary schools will be scheduled before lunch so that children will come to lunch less distracted and ready to eat.

The district encourages the use of physical activity as a reward when feasible. Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, classroom physical activity breaks, or physical education) will not be withheld as punishment for any reason. This does not include participation on sports teams or with other sports-related after school activities, nor does it include participation on sports teams with specific academic requirements.

Physical education

The district will provide students with physical education using an age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education. The physical education curriculum will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits and incorporate essential health education concepts. The curriculum will support the essential components of physical education. See policy IHAE, Physical Education, for more information.

All students will be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes. The district will make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and will adapt physical education classes and equipment as necessary.

District Goals 

Other activities that promote student wellness

The district will integrate wellness activities across the entire school setting, not just in the cafeteria, other food and beverage venues, and physical activity facilities. The district will coordinate and integrate other initiatives related to physical activity, physical education, nutrition, and other wellness components so all efforts are complementary and work towards the same set of goals and objectives promoting student well-being, optimal development, and strong educational outcomes. Schools in the district will coordinate content across curricular areas that promote student health, such as teaching nutrition concepts in mathematics, with consultation provided by either the school or the district’s curriculum specialists.

All efforts related to obtaining federal, state, or association recognition for efforts or grants/funding opportunities for healthy school environments will be coordinated with and complementary of the wellness policy including, but not limited to, ensuring the involvement of the district wellness committee.

Community partnerships

The district will develop and enhance relationships with community partners (e.g., hospitals, universities/colleges, local businesses, SNAP-Ed providers and coordinators, YMCA, Eat Smart Move More) in support of this wellness policy’s implementation. Existing and new community partnerships and sponsorships will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with the wellness policy and its goals.

Community health promotion and family engagement

The district will promote to parents/caregivers, families, and the general community the benefits of and approaches for healthy eating and physical activity throughout the school year. Families will be informed and invited to participate in school-sponsored activities and will receive information about health promotion efforts. The district will use electronic mechanisms (e.g., email or displaying notices on the district’s website), as well as non-electronic mechanisms, (e.g., newsletters, presentations to parents or sending information home to parents), to ensure that all families are actively notified of opportunities to participate in school-sponsored activities and receive information about health promotion efforts.

Staff wellness and health promotion

The district wellness committee may have a staff wellness subcommittee that focuses on staff wellness issues, identifies and disseminates wellness resources, and performs other functions that support staff wellness in coordination with human resources staff. Schools in the district will implement strategies to support staff in actively promoting and modeling healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

Professional learning

The district follows the USDA Professional Standards for State and Local Nutrition Programs to ensure professional development in the area of food and nutrition is provided for all food service employees, including directors, managers, and staff.

When feasible, the district will offer annual professional learning opportunities and resources for non-food services 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.

District Wellness Committee/Coordinated District Health Advisory Council

The district will convene a wellness committee that meets at least once per year to establish district wellness goals for and to oversee school health and safety policies and programs including development, implementation, and periodic review and update of the wellness policy. Wellness committee members will include, to the extent possible, parents/legal guardians, students, representatives of district nutrition services, physical education teachers, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators, and the general public. The designated officer for ensuring district compliance with the wellness policy and oversight of the committee will be Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Administration.

Annually, the district will notify the public through the district website about the content and implementation of the wellness policy and share any updates to the policy. The district will also publicize the name and contact information of the Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Administration with information on how the public can become involved with the wellness committee or obtain additional information on the wellness policy. The information for this annual review can be gathered through and utilized in the district’s strategic planning process.

Schools should have a local coordinated school health and wellness committee comprised of physical education, health education and classroom teachers; school food services managers; health services personnel, guidance personnel, families; students; administrators and community members to plan, implement and improve nutrition and physical activity in the school environment in accordance with the district health and wellness policy.

Every three years, the district will assess its compliance with the policy, how it compares to model wellness policies published by state and federal agencies, and the district’s progress in attaining the goals of the policy. The results of this assessment will be made available to the public to showcase the wellness efforts being made by the district and how each school is in compliance with the wellness policy. Following this assessment, the district will update or modify the policy as necessary and share these changes with the public. 

Recordkeeping

The district will retain records to document compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy. Documentation maintained by the district will include but will not be limited to:

  • the written wellness policy
  • documentation demonstrating that the policy has been made available to the public
  • documentation of efforts to review and update the 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 (e.g., copy of meeting notice posted on the district website)
  • documentation to demonstrate compliance with the annual public notification requirements
  • the most recent assessment on the implementation of the wellness policy
  • documentation demonstrating the most recent assessment on the implementation of the wellness policy has been made available to the public 

Food and Beverage Marketing

The district is committed to providing a school environment that ensures opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions. The district strives to teach students how to make informed choices about nutrition, health, and physical activity. These efforts will be weakened if students are subjected to advertising on district property that contains messages inconsistent with the health information the district is imparting through nutrition education and health promotion efforts. It is the intent of the district to protect and promote student’s health by permitting advertising and marketing for only those foods and beverages that are permitted to be sold on the school campus, consistent with the district’s wellness policy. 

Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on school campuses during the school day will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards such that only those foods that comply with or exceed those nutrition standards are permitted to be marketed or promoted to students. These standards do not apply to marketing that occurs at events outside of school hours such as after school sporting events or any other events, including school fundraisers.

Contracts for goods or services that include a food and beverage marketing component executed after June 30, 2017, must conform to federal nutrition standards. No exceptions will be granted.

Food and beverage marketing is defined as advertising and other promotions in schools. Food and beverage marketing includes any oral, written, or graphic statements made for the purpose of promoting the sale of a food or beverage product made by the producer, manufacturer, seller, or any other entity with a commercial interest in the product. This term includes, but is not limited to the following: 

  • brand names, trademarks, logos, or tags, except when placed on a physically present food or beverage product or its container
  • displays, such as on vending machine exteriors
  • corporate brand, logo, name, or trademark on school equipment that is displayed during the school day, such as marquees, message boards, scoreboards, or backboards (Note: Immediate replacement of these items is not required; however, the district will replace or update scoreboards or other durable equipment when existing contracts are up for renewal or to the extent that is in financially possible over time so that items are in compliance with this policy.)
  • corporate brand, logo, name, or trademark on cups used for beverage dispensing, menu boards, coolers, trash cans, and other food service equipment; as well as on posters, book covers, pupil assignment books, or school supplies displayed, distributed, offered, or sold by the district
  • advertisements in school publications or school mailings
  • free product samples, taste tests, or coupons of a product, or free samples displaying advertising of a product

Adopted 6/26/17

Legal References:

  1. Federal Law:
    1. Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-296, 124 Stat. 3183.
  2. Federal Regulations:
    1. National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for All Goods Sold in School, 7 C.F.R. Parts 210 and 220 (2016).
    2. Local School Wellness Policy Implementation, 7 C.F.R. Parts 210 and 220 (2016).
  3. S.C. Code, 1976, as amended:
    1. Section 59-10-10, et seq. - Physical education, school health services, and nutritional standards.
    2. Section 59-10-330 - Coordinated School Health Advisory Council (CSHAC).
    3. Section 59-10-350 - Length of elementary school lunch period.
    4. Section 59-32-30(A)(1)-(3) - Comprehensive health education program; guidelines and restrictions.
  4. State Board of Education Regulations:
    1. R43-168 - Nutrition standards for elementary (K-5) school food service meals and competitive foods.
    2. R43-238 - Health education requirements.
  5. State Board of Education Academic Standards:
    1. 2014 SC Academic Standards for Physical Education.
    2. 2009 Academic Standards for Health and Safety Education.
    3. 2015 SC “Smart Snacks” and Exempt Fundraisers Memorandum.
  6. Other References:
    1. National Standards for Physical Education, NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education).
    2. National Health Education Standards, Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards.
    3. USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
    4. USDA Guide to Smart Snacks in School (2016).
    5. USDA Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Programs (2015).