Mount Horeb Area School District Wellness Policy
Frequently Asked Questions For Staff
Updated January 2013
1. Why are we implementing a new Wellness Policy? We are required by law to make changes. On July 8, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued memo SP-42-2011: Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010: Local School Wellness Policies, outlining the new guidelines for the local school wellness policies as established by Section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The federal legislation requires each school district that participates in the National School Lunch Program to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. The new requirements which were effective in the fall of 2012, include the following elements for the wellness policy:
1. Promote student wellness
2. Prevent and reduce childhood obesity
3. Provide assurance that school meals meet Federal school meal standards
2. Who wrote the Wellness Policy? The wellness committee consists of Parents, Teachers from all grade levels, Physical Education and Health Educators, the District Medical Advisor, Child Nutrition Director, District Nurses, a School Board Member, and Administrators. This group met on multiple occasions to create the policy.
3. How will this policy affect my classroom/school day? MHASD is committed to a culture of wellness that creates an environment that encourages healthy behaviors in staff and students.
The Wellness Committee recommends that you limit the availability of food and beverages of minimal nutritional value in the classroom and encourage healthier choices. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that schools follow the Institute of Medicine’s Standards when food is available during the school day. The Viking Den, Snack Cart, and vending machines currently meet these standards. A link to the standards is available here:IOM Recommended Nutrition Standards.
4. Can we still have classroom celebrations, snacks, and incentives? Yes. All staff are encouraged to consider non-food items activities for celebrations.
Please see below regarding food in the classroom:
Addendum III: “B. The availability to students of food and beverages of minimal nutritional value shall be limited. MHASD recognizes that as children get older, they will be faced with food choices and the opportunity to educate on good choices exists within the school setting and will allow for food decision making to increase with age.
a. Snacks. Snacks should be provided by families for their own student to ensure that parents have the opportunity to provide healthy snacks and avoid potential food allergy exposures. Snack ideas for the classroom should include healthier choices such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains or complex carbohydrates.
b. Grades K-5. Parties and seasonal celebrations offered by the school or classroom teacher will encourage alternatives to food as the focus of the lesson or celebration. Individual teachers have the authority to regulate food-based activities within their classrooms. Families will be encouraged to participate by providing non- food activities. Ideas will be shared with teachers and families. If foods are shared, peanuts/nuts will be avoided due to the significance of allergies.
c. Grades 6-12. Parties and seasonal celebrations offered by the school or classroom will encourage alternatives to food as the focus of the lesson or celebration. All curricular areas, including Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes, will focus on lessons of foods with nutritional value and comply with the school district’s Life Threatening Allergy Policy #453.61."
5. Can we still have fundraisers involving food? Yes. Fundraising activities will be regulated by the building principal and activities director. For a list of non-food fundraising ideas please click here: Non-Food Fundraising Ideas.
6. If we are supposed to discourage food parties, how else can we reward our students?
Our Wellness website has links to non-food rewards for students of all ages.
7. Can parents still bring in treats for their birthday or classroom celebrations?
Yes. Please see Question #4 above. However, non-food items are encouraged. Links to Examples of non-food items and healthy snack ideas are listed below.
8. Are other school districts making changes to their wellness policy? There are many other schools making significant changes to their wellness policy due to The USDA’s stricter guidelines. MHASD is making minimal changes at this time in encouraging staff and students to shift toward a culture of wellness in our schools by discouraging unhealthy behaviors.
9. Can students bring soda, or other beverages or candy in their lunches or to be consumed at school? Yes. A goal of the policy is that as students learn that we are promoting healthy activities, they will bring healthy beverages and lunches to school; however, the guidelines do not limit what students can bring to school.
10. Does the Wellness Policy affect food items made as part of a classroom activity (e.g. in a science class, etc.)? All curricular areas, including Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes, will focus on lessons of foods with nutritional value and comply with the school district’s Life Threatening Allergy Policy #453.61.