A. 20. Health and Wellness Policy for Student Nutrition and Physical Activity

 V.A.20  Health & Wellness Policy for Student Nutrition & Physical Activity 


The West Warwick Public Schools seeks to promote healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity as part of the total environment.  The District supports a healthy environment where students and staff learn and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices.  Schools contribute to basic health status by facilitating learning through the support and promotion of good nutrition and physical activity.  Improved health optimizes student and staff performance potential.  Through this policy we seek to educate, enable and empower our students and staff.

This policy meets the mandates of the new provision of Title 16 of Rhode Island General Law. This law broadens the powers and duties of school committees to include the health and wellness of students and employees and requires that the school committee establishes a school health and wellness subcommittee responsible for the development of policies, strategies and implementation plans that meet the requirements of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. The new provision requires a member of the school committee to serve as chair of the wellness subcommittee. Membership of the “Wellness Committee” must be a majority not employed by the school district and must include a minimum of one parent. The law also requires that district strategic plans include strategies to decrease obesity and improve the health and wellness of students and employees through proper nutrition, physical activity, health education, nutrition education and physical education.


    A.     Provide a comprehensive learning environment for developing and practicing lifelong wellness behaviors for students and staff.

The entire school environment, not just the classroom, shall be aligned with healthy school goals to positively influence the understanding, beliefs and habits of students as they relate to good nutrition and regular physical activity. 

    B.    Support and promote proper dietary habits contributing to student and staff health status and students’ academic performance.

All foods available on school grounds and at school-sponsored activities during the instructional day should meet or exceed the district nutrition standards.  Emphasis should be placed on foods that are nutrient dense per calorie.  To ensure high quality, nutritious meals, foods should be served with consideration toward variety, appeal, taste, safety, and packaging.  Locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables and dairy items should be purchased and served whenever possible.  The display of nutrient information at all meal sites is required.

    C.    Provide more opportunities for students and staff to engage in physical activity.

Physical activity should be included in a school's daily education program from grades pre-K through 12.  Physical activity should include regular instructional physical education, in accordance with The Rhode Island Physical Education Framework, as well as co-curricular activities, and recess.  Physical activity is also encouraged among staff.  Every effort must be made to maintain scheduled physical activity.  In addition, all students must be provided with some sort of physical activity on a daily basis.

    D.    Remain committed to improving academic performance for all students so that no child is left behind.

Educators, administrators, parents, health practitioners and communities must consider the critical role student health plays in academic stamina and performance and adapt the school environment to ensure students’ basic nourishment and activity needs are met.  To ensure widespread understanding of the benefits to school environments where nutritious foods are provided and where students have an opportunity for physical activity, a public awareness campaign that highlights research demonstrating the positive relationship between good nutrition, physical activity, and capacity of students to develop and learn should be conducted.

The West Warwick Public Schools shall provide at each school and via the district website information regarding alternative fund raising options, local fitness center contact information, FDA nutrition standards, health provider contact information, Wellness Committee information and other related information.

    E.    Establish and maintain a district-wide Coordinated School Health and Wellness Sub-Committee of the District School Committee that shall consist of:

        1.    Members of the district’s school communities, a majority of whom are not employed by the school district.  Such members shall include parents, students, representatives from community agencies, the business community, local and statewide non-profit health organizations and health professionals.

            a.    A member of the School Committee

            b.    District Food Service Director/Manager

            c.    School personnel including but not limited to:

            d.    School Nurse-Teacher 

            e.    Staff member representative from each school

            f.    Superintendent or designee

            g.    Physical Education and Health Program Leader

            h.    Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher

        2.    The purpose of the sub-committee is to:

            a.    Develop health and wellness policies, guidelines, and procedures

            b.     Make recommendations regarding the districts health education program

            c.    Make recommendations regarding the district’s physical education program

            d.    Make recommendations regarding nutrition and physical activity policies to decrease obesity and enhance the health and well-being of students and employees

            e.    Evaluate progress and revise as necessary

            f.    Serve as a resource to school sites, (e.g. provide lists of healthy incentives, snacks, birthday celebration foods, etc.)

            g.    Inform curriculum committees regarding health and physical education requirements and policies

        3.    Responsibilities may include, but not be limited to, oversight of the following:

            a.    Integration of nutrition and physical activity in the overall curriculum

            b.    Assurance that staff professional development includes nutrition and physical activity issues

            c.    Implementation of district nutrition and physical activity standards

            d.    Assurance that students receive nutrition education and engage in vigorous physical activity

            e.    Encourage healthful eating and inclusion of nutrient dense food options and the reduction of high-fat, high-sugar, and low nutrient dense foods among all school venues that involve the sale of food

            f.    Prepare an Annual Report each year that includes, but may not be limited to, the following information:

            g.    Monthly district menus and meal counts

            h.    Listing of all a la carte and vending sales of foods throughout the district including school food service, vending machines, school stores, culinary and special education programs, in-school and in-class fundraisers, etc.

            i.    Listing of physical activity programs and opportunities for students throughout the school year 

            j.    Listing of staff wellness promotion activities


    A.    Student Nutrition Education:

The West Warwick Public Schools is committed to developing and implementing a comprehensive curriculum approach to nutrition in Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, all K-12 instructional staff will be encouraged to integrate nutritional themes from the Rhode Island Department of Education Health Education Framework and/or the Rhode Island Family & Consumer Science Framework into daily lessons when appropriate.  The health benefits of good nutrition should be emphasized.  These nutritional themes include but are not limited to:

Knowledge of the Food Guide Pyramid                              Healthy heart choices

Sources & variety of foods, including locally grown         Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Diet and disease prevention                                                Understanding calories

Healthy snacks                                                                       Healthy breakfast                                

Food labels                                                                             Bone health & osteoporosis

Major nutrients                                                                       Multicultural influences

Serving portion sizes                                                             Proper Food Safety/Sanitation

Promote and identify high nutrient dense foods                         

    B.    Parent Nutrition Education

Nutrition education will be provided to parents beginning at the elementary level.  The goal will be to continue to educate parents throughout middle and high school levels.

Nutrition education may be provided in the form of handouts, postings on the district website, articles and information provided in district or school newsletters, presentations that focus on nutritional value and healthy lifestyles, and through any other appropriate means.

    C.    Staff Nutrition & Physical Activity Education

Nutrition and physical activity education opportunities will be provided to all school staff at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  These educational opportunities may include, but not be limited to, the distribution of educational and informational materials and the arrangement of presentations and workshops that focus on nutritional value and healthy lifestyles, health assessments, fitness activities, and other appropriate nutrition and physical activity-related topics.  The purpose of staff nutrition and physical activity education will be to:

        1.    Encourage all school staff to improve their own personal health and wellness

        2.    Improve staff morale and performance

        3.    Create positive role model

        4.    Build the commitment of staff to promote the health of students

        5.    Build the commitment of staff to help improve the school nutrition and physical activity environment


    A.     Definitions for the purposes of this policy:


        1.    Physical Activity (PA) -is any leisure or non-leisure movement of the body that expends energy, such as exercise,     

sports, dance, mobility training or physical therapy, brisk walking, swimming or other body movements that result in an increased heart rate.

        2.    Physical Education (PE) -a sequential, developmentally appropriate K to 12 curriculum, in accordance with the Rhode Island Physical Education Framework, enabling students to develop the knowledge, motor skills, self-management skills, attitudes and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physical activity throughout their lives.


        3.    Adapted Physical Education and Physical Activities -

    A.    are those designed for a student whose special needs or other health conditions require alternative safe and appropriate physical activities that meet their specific needs.


    B.     District Physical Activity Goal:  To provide daily physical activity and physical education opportunities, empowering students with the knowledge and skills to lead a physically active lifestyle.


    C.    The West Warwick Public Schools shall utilize the following implementation strategies:

Physical Education:  PE and/or adapted PE will be available for all students.

        1.      The district will strive, as defined by the action plan developed by the sub committee, to provide daily PE to every student for the entire school year with the state mandated requirement of 100 minutes per week as the minimum time allotment.  The NASPE recommendation is for 150 minutes per week in elementary grades and 225 minutes in high school.

        2.      The district shall establish specific learning goals and objectives for PE.  A sequential, developmentally appropriate curriculum shall be designed, implemented, and evaluated to help students develop the knowledge, motor skills, self-management skills, attitudes, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physical activity throughout their lives.

        3.      The district will strive, as defined by the action plan developed by the sub committee, to implement recommended guidelines for school PE/PA leaders established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) enabling students to achieve and maintain a high level of personal fitness:

                a.    Expose students to a wide variety of physical activities

                b.    Teach physical skills to help maintain a lifetime of health and fitness

                c.    Encourage self-monitoring enabling students to set and achieve fitness goals

                d.    Individualize fitness/activity programs

                e.    Help students to establish a personal fitness baseline and create individual fitness benchmarks to monitor progress

                f.    Be active/positive role models

    4.      The district will strive, as defined by the action plan developed by the sub committee, to implement recommended PE/PA guidelines for students K-12 established by NASPE:

                a.    Children should accumulate at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of age appropriate physical activity on all (or most) days of the week

                b.    Children should participate in several bouts of PA lasting 15 minutes or more each day

                c.    Children should participate in a variety of age appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health

                d.    Extended periods (periods of 2 hours or more) of inactivity are discouraged for children during daytime hours

    5.      The district will strive, as defined by the action plan developed by the sub committee, to implement health-related fitness assessment:

                a.    Introduce developmentally appropriate components of a health-related fitness assessment (e.g. FitnessGram, Physical Best or the President’s Challenge) in kindergarten or first grade

                b.    Beginning in middle school and continuing through high school a health-related fitness assessment should be                                         administered to all students

    6.    In addition, all high school students must successfully pass three years of PE and must complete CPR coursework to be eligible for graduation.

    7.    Physical Activity:  PA and/or adapted PA opportunities will be available for all students daily:  before, during and after school.

1.      The district will strive to provide adequate, developmentally appropriate, safe facilities and recreation areas for PA.

2.      The district will strive to develop student understanding of all procedures and information to minimize risks associated with PA.

3.      The district will strive to collaborate with qualified professionals and organizations in the community contributing to PA opportunities.

4.      The district will strive to require the incorporation of NASPE Guidelines throughout all district PA activities.


The West Warwick Public Schools will follow the Nutrition Guidelines for School Vending & A La Carte Foods officially endorsed in June 2006 by the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition.

    A.     The USDA Reimbursable School Meal Programs (School Food Service)

        1.    The full meal school breakfast and lunch programs will comply with the USDA Requirements for Federal School Meals Programs.  The district standards may be more restrictive than USDA guidelines but may not be less restrictive. The School Food Service provider will be encouraged to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables and dairy products whenever possible.

        2.    The School Food Service Program including vending, ala carte and foods sold on campus will follow the District's Nutrition Standards when determining the items offered in the cafeteria as a la carte and for competitive food offerings.

        3.    The Food Service Director will work closely with the district-wide Coordinated School Health and Wellness Sub-Committee and shall comply with all Wellness Committee directives as long as said compliance does not require the violation of the contract between the Food Service Provider and the West Warwick School Committee.

    B.    A la Carte, Vending and All Foods Sold on Campus 

         1.    Food

            a.    The Wellness Committee encourages the consumption of nutrient dense foods, i.e. Whole Grains, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, and Dairy Products.

           b.    The Wellness Committee requires that any given food item for sale prior to the start of the school day and throughout the instructional day, meet the District Nutrition Standards for Vending and A la Carte Foods. 

         2.    Beverages

ONLY milk, water, and beverages containing 50-100% fruit juices with no added artificial sweeteners may be sold on school grounds both immediately prior to and throughout the instructional day.  This standard can be phased-in over the next three school years.

    C.    Cafeteria Environment

        1.    The cafeteria environment is a place where students have:

                a.    Adequate space to eat in clean, pleasant surroundings;

                b.    Adequate time to eat meals.  (The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recommends at least 20 minutes for lunch from the time students are seated with their food)

                c.    Convenient access to hand washing or hand sanitizing facilities before meals.

                d.    The above are some elements of a relaxed, enjoyable cafeteria experience.

     D.    Fundraising

        1.    All fundraising projects shall follow the District Nutrition Standards for Vending and A La Carte Foods.

        2.    All fundraising projects will follow the District Nutrition Standards for Vending and A La Carte Foods when determining the items being sold.

        3.    No candy will be sold for fundraising.  Candy is defined as any processed food item that has:

                a.    sugar (including brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, glucose dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, table sugar/ sucrose, syrup listed as one of the first two ingredients AND

                b.    sugar is more than 25% of the item by weight.

        4.    Non-food based fundraisers are encouraged.

        5.    Fundraisers that promote physical activity are encouraged.

        6.    A list of alternative fundraising products and activities shall be provided and made available pursuant to Section   of this policy.

        7.    Non-food fundraisers and fundraisers that promote physical activity are encouraged.  Any food fundraiser sold on and/or off school premises by students or school staff must comply with the RI Nutrition Guidelines for School Vending & A La Carte Foods (see attached).

        8.    The committee is well aware of the great change this requires of all of us and the daunting responsibility to raise money for our schools.  Therefore, we are expecting that fundraisers during the school year September 2007 to June 2008 will demonstrate 50% compliance to the policy and full compliance by the start of the school year in 2008.

The goal of the law and policy speaks to healthier choices.

    E.    The Following Must Comply With the District Nutrition Standards for Vending and A La Carte Foods

        1.    Teacher-to-student rewards and incentives

 We encourage non-food rewards for students and believe that incentives for student performance should include opportunities for learning, supplies to support learning, relationship building opportunities to enhance learning, and that food should be the last resource utilized to encourage student outcomes.  At no time will the withholding of food be used as a behavioral modification tool for student violations of the District’s Student Code of Conduct. 

        2.    Celebrations

Non-food classroom and school celebrations and celebrations that include activities are encouraged.  Any foods offered as part of a celebration in the classroom setting (birthdays, holiday parties, special events) or in the school before or after the instruction day (pot lucks, special events) must comply with the RI Nutrition Guidelines for School Vending & A La Carte Foods or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which specifies the consumption of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables and low fat dairy.

Classroom and school celebrations should be limited to a designated number of times per year.  The food service provider should be utilized wherever possible and appropriate to ensure food safety standards are met and to reduce the risk of food borne illness.

    3.    Classroom Snacks

    4.    School Stores

    5.    Concession

Adopted:  June 5, 2007

References:  Section 16-2-9 of the General Laws Chapter 16-2 entitled School Committees and Superintendents