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Regulation and Compliance Tools
A local school wellness policy is a written document that guides a local education agency or school district's efforts to establish a school environment that promotes student health, well-being and ability to learn.
- Local Wellness Policy Requirements (Final Rule)- The Healthy, Hunger‐Free Kids Act of 2010 expands the scope of wellness policies; brings in additional stakeholders in its development, implementation and review; triennial assessments; and requires public updates on the content and implementation.
- Sample Wellness Policy and Regulation - Iowa Association of School Boards has amended the sample policy (507.9 - Wellness Policy) and added sample regulation (507.9R1) to reflect the final rule.
- Non-Public School Sample Wellness Policy: An example of a wellness policy for non-public schools to use as a guide developed by Holy Family Schools.
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation Model Wellness Policy: Provides best practice goals and can serve as a resource in wellness policy development.
- Does Your Wellness Policy Measure Up?
- School Wellness Policy Progress Report - this tool can be used to document progress in meeting the goals written into the wellness policy at the building level.
Use the resources below to review and update your wellness policy and ensure it meets all requirements.
Nutrition Education and Promotion
Schools will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that help students develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors. Best practice ideas include:
- Display a MyPlate poster in every classroom.
- Teachers review school lunch menu each morning and discuss food groups.
- Invite a Registered Dietitian or other health professional to present nutrition information to students.
- Partner with curriculum director, family consumer science teachers, and PE teachers to incorporate nutrition education.
Resources to Support Nutrition Education and Promotion at Your School:
- Team Nutrition - An initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service provides resources for child nutrition programs. Below are free nutrition education resources that are available online. If you are interested in printed copies, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pick a Better Snack - Resources to promote fruits and vegetables (family newsletters, recipe cards, monthly lessons, bingo cards, scorecards, posters, radio PSAs, newspaper ads/articles, and fact sheets).
- Cafeteria Coaching - Utilize middle and high school students along with school nutrition staff to encourage kids to try new foods and eat nutritious school meals.
- Food Tasting Resources - Fun fact sheets, sample tasting schedule, how to hold a taste testing, tasting instructions for students, words to describe foods, food safety tips, and riddles.
- Nutrition Education and Promotion - Ideas to support nutrition education and promotion at your school.
- Nutrition Education Take-Home Bag - Create a bag to check out with families to promote healthy eating and physical activity at home. Some sample items include: A Fruit or Vegetable Story Book, Pick a Better Snack BINGO Cards, MyPlate Tip Sheets, information about school meals, and physical activity ideas.
- Smarter Lunchrooms Movement - No-cost or low-cost strategies that lunchrooms can use to increase participation, improve consumption of healthy food, and reduce food waste.
- Smarter Lunchrooms in School Wellness Policies (California)
Schools will provide students and staff with age and grade appropriate opportunities to engage in physical activity that meet federal and state guidelines, including the Iowa Healthy Kids Act. Best practice ideas include:
- Provide access to the gym and exercise equipment before and after school.
- Educate teachers and administrators the academic benefits of physical activity.
- Demonstrate brain breaks during staff meetings to encourage teachers to use them their classrooms.
- Discourage withholding recess as a punishment.
Resources to Support Physical Activity at Your School:
- Classroom Brain Breaks - Classroom energizers activate the brain and leave students more focused and ready to learn.
- Get Movin' Card Set - Provides simple, short brain break activities.
- Walking Works for Schools Tool-kit - Resource to organize a walking program at your school.
- Indoor Recess 101 - Ideas to incorporate physical activity when recess is held indoors due to the weather.
- Recess Moves: A Toolkit for Quality Recess - Discover more about the benefits for brains and bodies from an active, quality recess.
- National Physical Education Standards - SHAPE America
- Iowa Department of Education Physical Activity Webpage
Other School Based Activities
Other school based activities that promote wellness can ensure an integrated whole-school approach to the school's wellness program. Best practice examples include:
- Create a wellness page on the school website that contains non-food celebration or reward ideas, school meal information, the wellness policy and the assessment of implementation.
- Involve high school students in organizing special events such as school-wide walks/runs or taste testing new food items in elementary schools.
- Permit students to bring and carry water bottles filled with water throughout the day.
- Apply for USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge: Smarter Lunchroom Award, a certification initiative that recognizes schools for nutrition and physical activity excellence.
Resources to Support Other School Based Activities that Promote Wellness
- School Meal Promotion - Resources to promote and support school meals including communication templates for parents and staff.
- Iowa Recess Before Lunch Guide - The pilot included an assessment of food and milk waste, photo estimation, and school staff interviews and surveys.
- Water Access in Schools - Access to free water before, during, and after school hours enables students to make a healthy choice an easy choice.
- Making Worksite Wellness Work at Your School - Provides some easy suggestions to get an employee wellness program started.
Making Healthy Choices Count at Schools - DE Headline Article
Nutrition Guidelines for All Foods and Beverages Sold to Students
Schools providing access to foods outside reimbursable meal programs must meet the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards, at a minimum. This includes items sold through a la carte, vending machines, student run stores, and fundraising activities (before school, during school and 30 minutes after). Best practice examples include:
- Work with middle or high school classes or student groups to evaluate foods and beverages sold using the Smart Snacks calculator.
- Educate administrators and teachers on Smart Snacks requirements.
- Partner with school groups to sell foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snacks requirements.
- Connect with food vendors to ensure they are aware of the requirements.
Resources to Support Nutrition Guidelines
- School Meal Planning and Resources - Tools, trainings, and communication templates to assist with implementation of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.
- Iowa Smart Snacks Webpage - Smart Snacks calculator, resources for school nutrition to work with other school groups, and Smart Snacks approved recipes.
Standards for All Foods and Beverages Provided (not sold) to Students
Foods and beverages provided (not sold) to students during the school day (e.g. class parties, rewards) must meet standards set by the district. Non-food fundraising, classroom rewards and classroom celebrations should complement the school wellness policy to provide consistent messages about health and wellness throughout the school. Best practice examples include:
- Schools may set standards related to food safety or medical needs (i.e. allergies), best practice is that nutrition is also a consideration.
- Provide parents and staff a list of foods and beverages that meet nutrition standards for classroom snacks and celebrations.
- Provide ideas to teachers and staff for non-food rewards and celebrations ideas.
Resources to Support Nutrition Standards
- Healthy Classroom Celebrations and Snacks
- Non-Food Rewards
Food and Beverage Marketing
Schools must only allow marketing and advertising of foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards on campus during the school day. Best practice examples include:
- Provide training to staff on food and beverage marketing requirements.
- Ensure food vendors are aware of the district's marketing policy.
- Display posters and bulletin boards promoting healthy foods.
- Include healthy messages and school meal menus on electronic monitors.
Resources to Support Healthy Food and Beverage Marketing
- Bulletin Boards and Signage - Ideas that can be used throughout the school to feature wellness messages to support the school wellness environment. Having fun, colorful signage and posters is a great way to make the school a warm and welcoming place and is a way to provide students the information they need to make healthy decisions.
- Posters: MyPlate for Kids, MyPlate, Eat Smart. Play Hard, Elementary Posters, Middle School Posters
- Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools - Provides guidance on promoting healthy lifestyle choices through advertising at schools.
Wellness Leadership and Public Involvement
The superintendent or designee must implement and ensure compliance by reviewing the policy at least every 3 years and recommending updates as appropriate for board approval. Schools must permit parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, physical education teachers, school health professionals, school board, administrators and the public to participate in the development, implementation, and review and update of the policy. Best practice examples include:
- Schedule the wellness committee meeting to take place with another school group meeting (i.e. School Improvement Advisory Committee).
- Delegate a wellness leader for each school building.
- E-mail parents about upcoming wellness committee meetings.
- Make the policy and assessment of the policy's progress available to the public by putting it on the school's wellness webpage.
Resources to Support Wellness Policy Committee and Public Involvement
- Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit - Sharing news about your Local School Wellness Policy is easy with these flyers, presentations, newsletter articles, and social media posts.
- School Wellness and Smart Snacks Webcast (10 minutes) - Provides an overview of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that requires all local educational agencies to establish and implement local school wellness policies and follow Smart Snacks nutrition standards.
- Parents for Healthy Schools - Tools for schools and groups to engage parents to create healthy school environments.
- How to Involve Students - Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- How to Get Feedback from Students - Minnesota Department of Health
- How to Form a Student Wellness Group
- Cedar Rapids Community School District Wellness Poster
- MFL MarMac CSD - Local newspaper article highlighting school wellness initiatives in the district and inviting community members to be a part of the wellness committee.
School Wellness Beyond the Cafeteria - Learn about strategies and actions that schools can take to create a healthy environment that reaches beyond the cafeteria and engages the community.
Healthy Schools - Healthy Students: Stay Connected!
- Newsletter - Provides information on implementing nutrition and physical activity programs in schools, awareness of upcoming school wellness training opportunities, success stories and ideas from Iowa schools working to promote healthy habits in their students and staff. Sign up to receive Healthy Schools - Healthy Students newsletter.
- Social Media - "Like Us" and "Follow Us" to find out about the latest funding opportunities, success stories across the state, and resources to support the wellness environment at your school!