The Smithfield Public Schools are committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being and ability to learn. Students who are fit, healthy, and ready to learn are better prepared to be successful in school. The Smithfield School Committee takes seriously the research and data that indicates the increased incidence of obesity among children. In the short term, overweight children may exhibit compromised health which can affect school attendance and academic performance. Long-term, overweight children have a higher risk for developing chronic diseases as adults. What is true for students is also true for our staff members. A healthy staff can more effectively perform their professional duties and serve as appropriate role models for their students. While wellness is not solely the responsibility of the schools, the Smithfield Public Schools are committed to a comprehensive approach to school health built on standards-based health and physical education curricula, healthy eating in school and staff wellness. While these are the core elements addressed in this policy, the other components of a comprehensive approach to school wellness including health services, mental and social health, a safe school environment and parent/family environment are also important. These additional components may be addressed at the school level through a variety of programs and/or initiatives included in the school’s wellness objectives as part of its School Improvement Plan.
The purpose of this policy is to specify the focus for the District’s wellness initiatives, providing clear direction for principals, teachers and other school staff, as well as students and parents.
DISTRICT WELLNESS COMMITTEE
The Smithfield School Committee shall establish a District Wellness Committee. A member of the School Committee shall co-chair the Wellness Committee with the Superintendent or her/his designee. The purpose of this Committee shall be to:
- provide direction and support (resources) to individual schools for the implementation of this policy;
- make recommendations to the District regarding specific aspects of the policy;
- evaluate the implementation of this policy on a regular basis;
- make recommendations to the Smithfield School Committee for revision of the policy as may be required by changes in federal or state regulation.
The District Wellness Committee will meet at least
Each school is encouraged to create its own Wellness Committee, which may be a subcommittee of the School Improvement Team. Each school is encouraged to address one or more of the components of the District’s Wellness policy in its School Improvement Plan. Principals shall be responsible for the implementation of the district policy and the school’s goals.
The Wellness Committee shall be responsible for an annual report to the Smithfield School Committee that reflects the efforts of the District and the individual schools to implement the Wellness Policy, specific concerns/areas in need of improvement identified by the District and/or at the school level as well as indicators of achievement in the area of policy implementation.
NUTRITION EDUCATION AND WELLNESS PROMOTION
Nutrition education in the Smithfield Public Schools will be provided as part of a K-12 standards-based, sequential, age appropriate, comprehensive health education curriculum, delivered by certified teachers at each grade level, and designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to promote and protect their personal health over the course of their lives. Nutrition education should be integrated across the curriculum whenever possible and appropriate and will be communicated and supported with consistent messaging throughout the schools.
The support of parents and families is critical to the successful implementation of the district’s wellness efforts. The Smithfield Public Schools will work with the parent organizations to provide information to parents and families about key elements of this Wellness Policy. In addition, the district will use district and school websites, newsletters, other social media, parent/teacher conferences, and back-to-school events to provide parents with information about the policy’s goals and requirements.
CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS AND SCHOOL MEALS
The Smithfield Public Schools will work closely with its Food Service Manager to offer affordable, nutritious, and appealing meals, including breakfast and lunch, snacks and beverages in compliance with the District Nutrition Standards included in this policy and current USDA guidelines. The District’s Food Service Manager will provide adequate training in food service operations, including professional development in the area of food and nutrition for all responsible for the food service program in the Smithfield Public Schools. Students and their families will be provided with information about the nutritional content of all school meals.
The cafeteria environment will allow for a relaxed and enjoyable environment where students have adequate space to eat in clean and pleasant surroundings with access to hand washing or hand sanitizing facilities before meals. The time allowed for lunch shall be adequate (a minimum of 20 minutes) to ensure that all students have a reasonable amount of time to eat.
NUTRITION GUIDELINES FOR ALL FOODS AT SCHOOLS
The integrity of the school nutrition environment depends on the quality of ALL foods and beverages sold or served at school, Pre K- 12. Foods that provide little nutritional value compete with healthy eating at school. The School District must also consider the need to protect students with special dietary limitations. The District’s Nutrition Standards shall address ALL food and beverages sold or served to students from vending machines, in school stores, as part of school-wide or classroom activities prior to and during the school day as well as a la carte items sold during school meals.
All fundraising projects involving the sale/consumption of food, beverages and/or snacks prior to and during the instructional day will follow the District’s Nutrition Standards when determining the items being sold. The instructional day is defined as 12:01 AM until 60 minutes after school ends.
All fundraising projects sponsored by staff, students and/or parent organizations (outside the times above) are encouraged to follow the District Nutrition Standards and support healthy eating and wellness.
The use of food rewards or incentives in the schools and classrooms to encourage student achievement or desirable behavior is strongly discouraged.
The rare occasions that may provide an exception to this policy directive should be reported on the Annual Health and Wellness Assessment prepared by the Principal.
DISTRICT NUTRITION STANDARDS
Nutrition Standards Intent/Rationale:
The school breakfast, lunch and snack programs will comply with the current USDA Nutrition Standards for Federal Meals Programs and with the Rhode Island Nutrition Requirements (RINR). The Smithfield Public Schools strongly encourages the sale or distribution of nutrient dense foods for all school functions, activities, and school/classroom celebrations. Nutrient dense foods are those foods that provide students with calories rich in the nutrient content needed to be healthy. In an effort to support the consumption of nutrient dense foods in the school setting, the district has adopted the following nutrition standards governing the sale of food, snacks, beverages, and candy on school grounds. Schools are encouraged to study these standards and develop building policy using the following District Nutrition Standards as minimal guidelines.
- Encourage the consumption of nutrient dense foods, i.e. whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
- Nuts and seeds with minimal added fat in processing (no more than 3 grams of added fat per 1.75 ounce or less package size) are exempt from these standards because they are nutrient dense and contain high levels of monounsaturated fat.
“Snack” means a food that is generally regarded as supplementing a meal including but not
limited to: chips, crackers, onion rings, nachos, French fries, donuts, cookies, pastries, cinnamon rolls,
and candy. Only “healthier snacks” may be sold or distributed on school grounds to students both prior to and throughout the instructional day, including vending machines and school stores and special education programs. Individually sold portions of healthier snacks shall meet the following nutrition requirements:
- Seeds, fruit, vegetables, legumes, eggs and cheese (reduced or low fat) that have not been deep fried.
- Low fat yogurt with no more than 4 grams of total carbohydrates per ounce. (Including both naturally occurring and added sugars) per ounce and reduced fat or low fat cheese packaged for individual sale.
- Enriched or fortified grain, grain product or whole grain food items that meet all of the following standards based on manufacturers nutritional data or nutrient facts labels:
- Not more than 30 % of total calories from fat
- Not more than 10 % of total calories from saturated fat
- Not more than 7 grams total sugar per ounce
- Not more than 240 mg of sodium per serving
- Not more than 240 calories per package
- At least half of the grains will be whole grains
- Only brown rice will be served
- Local produce will be sold/served at all locations when available
- No added sweetener. “Added sweetener” shall mean any additive, including natural or artificial additives that enhances the sweetness of the beverage, including, added sugar, but does not include, the naturally occurring sugar or sugars that are contained within milk or fruit juice.
Only “healthier beverages” may be sold or distributed on school grounds both prior to and throughout the school day, including vending machines and school stores. Healthier beverages include:
- Water, including carbonated water, flavored or sweetened with one hundred percent (100%) fruit juice and containing no added sweetener.
- One percent (1%) fat milk, nonfat milk, and dairy alternatives, such as fortified soy beverages: plain or flavored, with a sugar content of not more than four (4) grams per ounce.
- One hundred percent (100%) fruit juice.
- Vegetable based drinks that are composed of no less than fifty percent (50%) vegetable juice and have no added sweetener.
- All beverages other than water and milk shall be 12 oz or less.
- Students and staff will have access to free, safe and fresh drinking water throughout the school day.
The sale of candy will not be permitted on school grounds. Candy is defined as any processed food item that has:
- Sugar (including brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, glucose (dextrose), high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, table sugar (sucrose), and syrup) is listed as one of the first two ingredients.
- Sugar is more than 25% of the item by weight.
The following EXCEPTIONS to the District Nutrition Standards MAY be allowed with the approval of the principal of the school. These exceptions should be recorded and reported in the school’s Annual Health and Wellness Assessment:
- The items are sold by individual students of the school and the sale of those items takes place after the end of the instructional day.
- The items are sold by a student organization or activity and the sale of those items takes place after the end of the instructional day.
- The items are sold by a parent organization or activity and the sale of those items takes place after the end of the instructional day.
On rare special occasions, the principal of the school may allow a school group to deviate from these Standards, but those special occasions must be recorded and included in the Annual Health and Wellness Assessment.
Classroom celebrations/activities will not include food, except if the food items are part of a curriculum-related activity. As a substitute to food, please refer to Appendix II for non-food reward suggestions for classroom celebrations. On rare occasions where food is utilized for a curriculum-related activity, all food items must be pre-approved by the classroom teacher, principal, and/or school nurse teacher. These special occasions must be recorded and included in the Annual Health and Wellness Assessment.
FOOD SAFETY/FOOD SECURITY
The food offered to students in the schools must not only be nutritious, but must also comply with food safety and sanitation regulations. The quality of food is determined both by the food’s nutrient value and by the standards by which it is prepared. Additionally, the increase in the numbers of both students and staff members who have serious food allergies requires that schools take steps to ensure that food brought into schools does not pose a threat to student and staff safety. For this reason, ALL food brought to school to feed more than one student should meet the District’s Wellness Standards and be prepared, stored and transported under hygienic conditions. Additionally, all requirements included in the District’s Food Allergy Policy must be met. The principal of the school shall be responsible for ensuring the safety of all students and staff in this regard.
Due to concerns regarding food allergies and restrictions on children’s diets, the sharing of foods or beverages during meal and snack times is strongly discouraged.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Physical activity is critical to a child’s healthy weight and lifestyle as well as to his/her ability to focus in the classroom. To ensure that all students are adequately active during the day, physical activity needs to be incorporated into the daily schedule of the school. While Physical Education classes provide a specific environment in which students learn, practice and are assessed on developmentally appropriate motor skills, social skills, and knowledge of personal fitness goals and practices, all teachers should recognize the importance of including some physical activity within their classrooms.
Recognizing the role and interest of parents/families in helping to keep children healthy and active, the school district and individual schools will provide information to parents about the importance of daily physical activity as well as opportunities available in the community that may be of interest to families.
Physical Education shall be provided as required for all students in Grades K-12 according to Rhode Island General Law and the Rules and Regulations for the School Health Programs. Students shall receive an average of 100 minutes per week of health/physical education. Recess, free play, and after-school activities shall not be counted as physical education. Physical Education curricula shall be aligned with the standards and performance indicators in The Rhode Island Physical Education Framework.
All students in Grades K-12, including students with disabilities, special health care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive Physical Education as prescribed by state regulation. Participation 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% of physical education time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Online, or blended learning opportunities for physical education are acceptable under this policy.
Physical Education instruction shall be provided by certified, highly qualified teachers. Professional development will be provided as needed and appropriate to ensure the quality of instruction and the safety of students. The district will provide adequate, safe, and appropriate facilities for Physical Education instruction at each school.
A daily recess period, preferably outdoors, of at least 20 minutes shall be provided to all students in grades K-5. The School District will provide appropriate outdoor space and equipment. Recess or other physical activity shall not be taken away from students as a form of punishment unless the safety of a student(s) is a concern. Inappropriate exercise or other physical activity shall not be used for the disciplinary purposes. Physical education time shall not be sacrificed in order to provide extra instructional time or to complete class work. Additional instructional time and/or the completion of classwork should take place, as often as possible, during times that do not conflict with regularly-scheduled physical activity time.
Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom
In order that students have the opportunity to achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity and fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond the Physical Education class. Supporting these goals:
- Schools will discourage extended periods (longer than 2 hours) of inactivity.
- Classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically active lifestyle and reduce time spent on sedentary activities.
- Opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject areas.
- Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons whenever possible and appropriate.
Health and Nutrition Education
Classroom Health and Nutrition 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. Students will receive grade appropriate nutrition education that is interactive and teaches the skills needed to adopt healthy eating behaviors. All K-12 instructional staff will be encouraged to integrate nutritional themes from the Rhode Island Department of Education Health Education Framework and/or the Rhode Island Family & Consumer Science Framework into daily lessons when appropriate.
The Smithfield Public Schools value the health and wellbeing of every staff member. As is the case with students, healthy staff members are more successful and better able to meet the obligations that are part of their employment. The District Wellness Committee will develop a plan to promote staff health and wellness. The purposes of this plan shall be to:
- Encourage all school staff to improve their personal health and wellness;
- Improve staff morale;
- Support positive role modeling;
- Build the commitment of staff to promote the health and wellness of students; and,
- Build the commitment of staff to help support the district’s efforts to improve the health of the school environment.
Implementation, Monitoring and Assessment
This Wellness Policy will be posted on the District’s website. Implementation will be included in the District’s Strategic Plan, as needed. Each school’s School Improvement Team (SIT) will be responsible for addressing the policy through its School Improvement Plan. The full implementation of this policy will require the support of staff, students and families at the local school level. Procedures to guide the implementation of the policy will be developed by the Wellness Committee and provided to all those responsible for their implementation and/or impacted by this policy. Information for students and parents will be distributed widely using various communication methods including, but not limited to, school and district websites, promotional/informational brochures, workshops, and presentations. Principals will be responsible for submitting the school’s Annual Wellness Assessment to the Superintendent each June.
The Superintendent, together with the individual school principals, shall monitor and may make changes to the implementation procedures to assure their appropriateness and effectiveness to the extent that any changes do not diminish the requirements set forth in the policy required by state and federal regulation.
Any changes required by Federal or State Regulations governing district health and wellness policies shall automatically override the policy as stated here. The District Wellness Committee will be responsible for periodic review to ensure compliance with Federal and State regulations.
AREAS OF IMPORTANCE OUTSIDE OF NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION/ACTIVITY
The Wellness Committee recognizes that additional topics pertaining to health and wellness, including but not limited to personal health, mental and emotional health, injury prevention, nutrition, sexuality and family life, disease control and prevention, and substance abuse and abuse prevention may be reviewed by the Health and Wellness Committee and recommendations will be forwarded to the School Committee for policy review.
Please see the link below to access the Smart Snack Calculator and for an updated list of products that follow the Smart Snacks in school nutrition standards.
EXAMPLES OF NON-FOOD REWARDS
Read a book
Sit by a friend
Teach the class
First in line
Play a computer game
No homework pass
Be the class messenger
Listen to music
Play a favorite game
Be a helper in another classroom
Eat lunch with a teacher or principal, school committee member
“Free choice” at the end of the day
Do a craft