STUDENT WELLNESS, NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
The Litchfield School District recognizes that student wellness and proper nutrition are linked to students' physical well-being, growth, development, and readiness to learn. The Litchfield Board of Education will promote nutrition education, physical activity and physical education, nutrition standards for school foods and beverages, other school based activities to promote student wellness, communication, measurement and evaluation.
1. Nutrition Education and Promotion
The goal of nutrition education is to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students.
Because food is a nutritional necessity to a healthy lifestyle, it should never be used as a reward, incentive, or a punishment. No punitive or disciplinary action shall be taken that would deny a student either lunch or snack time. Staff shall avoid creating conflicts in students' routines or schedules with lunch and snack time to the extent reasonably possible.
The school environment, including the classroom and cafeteria, shall provide clear and consistent messages that explain and reinforce healthy eating and physical activity habits, therefore Litchfield staff shall:
- Provide information about healthy eating within the sequential, comprehensive health regulations and the academic frameworks of the Connecticut State Department of Education.
- Provide information about nutritious food choices consistent with current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and My Plate, published jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
- Provide current information on: moderating calories; limiting fats, sodium, and sugars; and increasing consumption of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and legumes.
- Prohibit the distribution or sale of foods of minimal nutritional value from 30 minutes before the school day begins to 30 minutes after the school day ends.
- Provide all students with the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives.
- Ensure classrooms provide consistent messages about healthy eating and lifestyles.
- Ensure classroom lessons, activities, and messages about healthy eating are age-appropriate.
- Integrate nutrition education into other subject areas when appropriate.
- Link the lifelong benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.
2. Physical Activity and Recess
To promote an active lifestyle, Litchfield staff shall:
- Provide opportunities for physical activity during the school day for all students.
- Provide students with the opportunity to participate in a variety of age-appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health, wellness, fitness, and performance benefits.
- Provide a physical and social environment that encourages safe and enjoyable activity for all students.
- Supervise recess time as outlined by Connecticut State Guidelines and provide and encourage active play and socialization unless the safety of students is in question.
- Develop ideas for indoor recess that promote movement.
- Intermittently break-up classroom activities which require more than 45 minutes of seat time with an opportunity for physical movement.
To present consistent messages about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, Litchfield staff shall not:
- Deny participation in recess or other required physical activity opportunities as a form of discipline or punishment, nor shall it be taken away for instructional purposes.
- Require any K-12 student to engage in physical activity as a form of discipline during the school day.
3. Physical Education Instruction
Physical education classes shall be the means through which all students learn, practice and are assessed on developmentally appropriate skills and knowledge necessary for lifelong, health-enhancing physical activity. Litchfield Public Schools shall provide:
- A certified physical education teacher for such classes.
- A comprehensive physical education course of study that focuses on providing students the skills, knowledge, and confidence to participate in lifelong health-enhancing physical activity shall be implemented.
- A sequential physical education program consistent with the State Board of Education curriculum regulations and Health, Safety and Physical Education academic standards will be implemented.
- The opportunity for all students to be active as much time as possible during a physical education class. Reasonable accommodations shall be provided for documented medical conditions and disabilities.
- Safe and adequate equipment, facilities, and resources shall be provided for physical education courses.
4. Nutrition Standards for School foods and Beverages (School Meals and Other Foods and Beverages
The full meal program will follow the U.S. Government's Nutrition standards.
Other Foods and Beverages at School
Foods available for purchase in school, including a la carte items and items sold in vending machines, should assist students to comply with the dietary guidelines for Americans, by providing a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sugars and salt.
Foods available for purchase in Litchfield schools shall include nutritious, low-fat foods which may include, but not be limited to, low-fat dairy products and fresh or dried fruit; and drinks which are limited to milk, nondairy milks such as soy or rice milk, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, beverages containing only water and juice, and water, at all times when food or drink is available for purchase by students during the school day. ("Food and drinks available for purchase" includes those items sold in vending machines, school stores, fundraisers and any other food sales during the school day.)
As required by Connecticut law, only milk, nondairy milk, 100% fruit juices, water, fruit or vegetable juice, and flavored water containing no added sugars, sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners, not exceeding 8 ounces, may be sold to students on school grounds.
The Litchfield Board of Education prohibits the sale of soda, sports drinks, hot chocolate, energy drinks, and sweetened drinks, such as punches and lemonade.
Prohibited beverages will not be sold on school grounds except when the sale occurs 30 minutes after the end of the regular school day or on the weekends, only at the location of the event, and only if the beverages are not sold from a vending machine or a school store.
Other School-Based Activities to Promote Student Wellness
The nutrition practices in the classroom include:
- Providing healthy snacks in appropriate portion sizes.
- Providing nonfood alternatives, such as crafts and games, for birthday and/or party celebrations. Parent(s) must notify the classroom teacher in advance about such plans.
- When a food of minimal nutritional value, even if curricularly-related, is being offered in the classroom, an attractive healthy alternative must also be provided.
- Distribution of candy in classrooms is not allowed.
A lunchroom environment that provides students with a relaxed, enjoyable climate shall be developed.
It is encouraged that the lunchroom environment be a place where students have:
- adequate space to eat and pleasant surroundings;
- access to potable water;
- adequate time for meals (at least 20 minutes daily); and
- convenient access to hand washing facilities before meals.
Competitive Foods and Fundraisers
Section 10-215b-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies prohibits public schools, private schools and residential child care institutions (RCCIs) from selling or dispensing candy to students anywhere on school premises from 30 minutes before up through 30 minutes after any school nutrition programs.
Fundraisers held during the regular school day in Litchfield Public Schools must meet state requirements, including the selling of commercial products such as potato chips, candy bars, frozen cookie dough and muffin mix, and fundraisers using foods made from scratch such as baked goods, popcorn, sandwiches and smoothies. Foods that do not comply with the state requirements can be sold directly to students for their consumption only after the regular school school day, for a specific event, and only at the location of the event itself.
5. Communication and Promotions
In order to promote family and community involvement in supporting and reinforcing nutrition education in the schools, the building Principal is responsible for ensuring:
- Nutrition education materials and cafeteria menus are disseminated and/or posted on school website;
- Parents are encouraged to send healthy snacks/meals to school; and
- Nutrition education homework that students can do with their families is assigned (e.g., reading and interpreting food labels, reading nutrition-related newsletters, preparing healthy recipes, etc.).
6. Measurement and Evaluation
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the school health program in promoting healthy eating and to implement program changes as necessary to increase its effectiveness, the building Principal is responsible for ensuring:
- Board policy and this administrative regulation are implemented as written;
- All building, grade-level nutrition education curricula and materials are assessed for accuracy, completeness, balance and consistency with state and local district educational goals and standards;
- Nutrition education is provided throughout the students' school years as part of the district's age-appropriate, comprehensive nutrition programs;
- Teachers deliver nutrition education through age-appropriate, culturally relevant, participatory activities that include social learning strategies and activities;
- Families and community organizations are involved, to the extent practicable, in nutrition education.
Litchfield Board of Education
Regulation Adopted: 5/24/2006
Regulation Reviewed: 4/6/2016