St. Joseph University School Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition

St. Joseph University School is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of St. Joseph School that:

  • The school will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring and reviewing district-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in grades Pre-K-8 will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet the nutrition recommendations of the U.s. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; will accommodate the religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, our school will participate in available federal school meal programs (including the School breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program.
  • The school will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.
To Achieve these Policy Goals:

  1. School Health Councils

The school district and/or individual schools within the district will create, strengthen, or work within existing school health councils to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The councils also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies. (a school health council consists of a group of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, members of the school board, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, members of the Home School Association and members of the public.) Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages sold and served on Campus School Meals

  • Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:
  • Be appealing and attractive to children;
  • Be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • Meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statues and regulations;
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • Serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA); and
  • Ensure that all are whole grain.
Schools should engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys, in selecting foods sold through the school meal programs in order to identify new, healthful and appealing food choices. In addition, schools should share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. Such information could be made available on menus, a website, on cafeteria menu boards, placards, or other point-of-purchase materials.Breakfast: To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • Schools will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breakfast Program.
  • Schools will, to the extent possible, utilize methods to serve school breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom, “grab-and-go” breakfast, or breakfast during morning break or recess.
  • Schools that serve breakfast to students will notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
  • Schools will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.
Free and Reduced-priced Meals: Schools will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. Qualifications of School Food Service Staff. Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the school meal programs. As part of the school’s responsibility to operate a food service program, we will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in schools. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, school nutrition managers and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility. Sharing of Foods and Beverages. School should discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets. Foods and Beverages sold individually (i.e. foods sold outside of reimbursable school meals such as through vending machines, cafeteria a la carte (snack) lines, fundraisers, school stores, etc.) Elementary Schools. The food service program will approve and provide all food and beverage sales to students in elementary schools. Given young children’s limited nutrition skills, food in elementary schools should be sold as balanced meals. If available, foods and beverages sold individually should be limited to low-fat and non-fat milk, fruits and non-fried vegetables. Middle/Junior High and High Schools. In middle/junior high and high schools, all foods and beverages sold individually outside the reimbursable school meal programs (including those sold through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines, student stores, or fundraising activities) during the school day, or through programs for students after the school, will meet the USDA regulations. Fundraising Activities. To support children’s health and school nutrition-education efforts, school fundraising activities will not involve food or will use only foods that meet the above nutrition and portion size standards for foods and beverages sold individually, Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.

  1. Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Schools will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages and other considerations. The school will disseminate a list of healthful snack items to teachers, after school program personnel, and parents.
Communications with Parents. The school will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school will offer healthy eating seminars for parents, send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school websites, and provide nutrient analyses of school menus. School should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages. The school will provide parents a list of foods that meet the school’s snacks standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities. In addition, the school will provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community. The school will provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school. Such supports will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a website, newsletter, or other take-home materials, special events or physical education homework.
Staff Wellness. St. Joseph University School highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Each school should establish and maintain a staff wellness committee composed of at least one staff members, school health council member, local hospital representative, dietitian or other health professional, recreation program representative, union representative, and employee benefits specialist. (The staff wellness committee could be a subcommittee of the school health council.) The committee should develop, promote and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage health eating, physical activity and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school health council annually.
Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education Daily Physical Education (PE) Pre-K-8. All students in grades Pre-K-8 including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 150 minutes/week for elementary school students and 225 minutes/week for middle and high school students) for the entire school year. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education teacher. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g. interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
If eligible, schools that provide snacks through after-school programs will pursue receiving reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program. Rewards: School will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for food and beverages sold individually (above), as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment.Celebrations. School should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. Each party should include no more than one food or beverage that does not meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above). The school will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers. School-sponsored Events (such as, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances). Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day will meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above). Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing St. Joseph University School aims to teach, encourage and support healthy eating by students. School should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • Is offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
  • Is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • Includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits and school gardens;
  • Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
  • Links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
  • Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and
  • Includes training for teachers and other staff.

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting. For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity (i.e., at least 60 minutes per day) and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:

  • Classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
  • Opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons; and
  • Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.