In recognition of the critical role schools play in promoting student health, preventing obesity and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act in 2004, which required all local education agencies (LEAs) that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program to develop and implement a local school wellness policy. This legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so that the individual needs of each LEA could be addressed.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, at minimum, the local school wellness policy must:
To download free wellness policy templates for use, click on the resources below:
Looking for additional wellness policy guidance and resources? Click here to access materials through the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
A wellness policy is a set of statements around the healthy practices promoted within your school district. School districts participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to develop a wellness policy that is made publicly available and contains, at a minimum, nutrition practices, nutrition education, physical activity and an evaluation plan. Revising this policy frequently to reflect current practices will help to engage parents and families and to ensure that nutrition and physical activity guidelines are being met. To begin revising your wellness policy:
Additional Tips to for Wellness Policy Revisions:
Click here to view the wellness policy minimum requirements for inclusion prior to revision.
Click here to access both sample language and a blank scorecard to complete your WellSAT assessment.
To supplement your policy-level assessments, each school/district can gather practice-level information identified through a school health assessment. School health assessment tools will engage the school community in discussions around promoting good health within the school/district. These tools help to identify strengths and weakness of health policies and programs and provide the opportunity to create an action plan based around those findings to improve school health.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program provides a robust virtual platform and direct services for schools. Create a profile for your school to complete the Healthy Schools Assessment.
Another great resource is the Action for Healthy Kids’ (AFHK) School Health Index. Similar to the Healthy Schools Assessment, this wellness assessment will help you examine your school environment including health education, nutrition, physical activity, competitive foods and beverages, family and community involvement, staff wellness, healthy and safe school environments, and health services
A school wellness council is vital to the success of a school district’s healthy living initiatives; members of a school wellness council are responsible for the development, planning and implementation of wellness programs and oversight of policy revision and maintenance. The council focuses on the health and the well-being of students and staff that concerns itself with:
An effective wellness council is diverse and comprises district wide representation, including but not limited to, administration, teachers, coaches, students, food service personnel and community members.
What qualifies as an “active” wellness council?
Click here to learn how to form a school wellness council.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation recommends that a school wellness council should consist of 6-12 members and include school staff, students, families and community members. The council should represent the diversity of your community and include individuals that have a passion for children’s health, have an influence in the school and community, and have time to commit to supporting the council’s goals.
Tips to get started:
Once you’ve identified potential council members, it’s time to invite them to join your team. Email, snail mail or hand deliver a Wellness Council Invitation to each prospective team member.
Don’t forget: your council needs may change based on action plan priorities, school needs and district goals; be prepared to recruit new members to join the council as-needed to support your goals.
Once your wellness council is formed, use Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program Leader’s Guide to create your action plan. Start by scheduling at least four council meetings throughout the school year.
Once you’ve formed your school wellness council, it’s time to begin working on your local school wellness policy.
Original source: https://www.healthiergeneration.org/