Pawtucket Wellness Committee
What is our mission?
The Wellness Committee believes that supporting the health of Pawtucket Students is an essential role of our schools. We work to ensure that students Physical, Mental, and Social-Emotional Health is a focus of our school department by supporting and promoting programs, events, and policies that will build healthy habits.
Who Are We?
The Wellness Committee meets monthly and members come from the school committee, district, community, and our schools. Parents and students are encouraged to come to meetings and are also welcome to join the committee in promoting healthy habits in our schools. Anyone wishing to join the committee should contact the chair, Erin Dube.
All meetings and agendas for the wellness committee can be seen on the school committee calendar. You can also access past minutes from meetings on the school committee website or on the secretary of state website.
Why a Wellness Committee?
Research shows that good student health is strongly correlated with positive academic performance, improved attendance and better behavior.
For more information about specific federal, state and local school wellness regulations and policies, visit the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition website.
By USDA federal regulation, any school district participating in the National School Meals Program must develop and implement a wellness policy to help assure an equitable and healthy school environment for all students. The Pawtucket Wellness Policy was first passed in 2014.
How are we supporting student health?
The Pawtucket Wellness Committee believes that supporting student health in our schools is about educating the whole child and focuses on three key areas: Physical Wellness, Emotional Security, and Healthy Eating. Below are some of the ways that Pawtucket is working to support Student Health.
- All elementary schools in Pawtucket have been trained in Recess Rocks . This is a program that trains teachers in ways to facilitate fun, low-cost, non-competitive physical activity.
- The Walking School Bus has been set up in several elementary schools to help decrease absences and tardies in students. It is also a great way to support physical activity before school. Check out the ABC6 newstory!
- Free play time is an essential component of student wellness. The Pawtucket Wellness Policy clearly reflects the language of the state law that recess should be at least 20 minutes every day in Elementary school and that “Teachers shall make a good-faith effort to not withhold recess for punitive reasons”
- In partnership with the American Heart Association, students in Pawtucket Schools participate in Jumprope for Heart.
All Pawtucket schools serve a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, some of them locally grown in Rhode Island.
- In partnership with the RI Healthy Schools coalition, Pawtucket has Local Food Ambassador Programs in our schools. This is a great way to bring parents in as volunteers and encourage our students to try new local vegetables. Any parents looking to get involved with this program should contact __________.
- The Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program is another way that our students are introduced to new fresh fruits and vegetables with a snack during the day provided at no cost.
- Reducing Sugary Beverages is a focus of the Pawtucket Wellness Committee. The Wellness Policy limits the days that juice can be served in the schools to two days. This follows the guidance from Pediatricians who say that children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits instead of juice. The policy also limits flavored milk with added sugar to three times per week.
- Increasing Water Consumption is an important part of a healthy diet and the Pawtucket School Department now has bottle-fill water dispensers in all schools. Students are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles to school. Check out the story on NBC10!
- Sharing tables are now in place at all schools to reduce food waste and ensure all children have enough food to eat. Check out the story in the Valley Breeze!
- School Department employs 5 Social-Emotional Learning Specialists with a background in Social Work. These specialists work in the classroom and also use other settings like “lunch bunch” to connect with children who might need additional support. They also connect children and families with organizations in the community.
- Second-Step is a K-2 program that helps to build strong social-emotional awareness in our youngest students.
- Thanks to a partnership with Hasbro, all Pawtucket Schools have received training on No Bully a comprehensive program that works to “eradicate bullying and enhance school culture. The Pawtucket school department also has a Prohibition Against Bullying policy.
- The School Department has partners with Gateway Bradley and used a grant to increase awareness of mental health issues in our schools. The grant funds youth mental Health First Aid Training for our personnel. Teachers learn positive actions that promote healthy decisions and also learn how to spot children in crisis.
Get Healthy Pawtucket Day
A Key initiative of the Pawtucket Wellness Committee is Get Healthy Pawtucket Day. This annual event is free for people of all ages and bring community partners together to showcase wellness initiatives throughout the city while also supporting our three key areas of Healthy Eating, Physical Wellness, and Emotional Security.