NORWICH FREE ACADEMY
STUDENT NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (WELLNESS) POLICY
The Norwich Free Academy (“NFA”) promotes a healthy school by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment. NFA supports a healthy environment where students learn and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices. NFA contributes to the basic health status of children by facilitating learning through the support and promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Improved health optimizes student performance potential and ensures that no child is left behind.
The goals of NFA’s Student Nutrition and Physical Activity (Wellness) Policy shall include the following:
A. Provide a comprehensive learning environment for developing and practicing lifelong wellness behaviors.
The entire school environment, not just the classroom, shall be aligned with healthy school goals and shall provide clear and consistent messages, reinforcing and positively influencing a student’s understanding, beliefs and habits as they relate to good nutrition and regular physical activity. Staff will be encouraged to serve as role models for students, demonstrating that healthy eating and physical activity are valuable parts of daily life. NFA is committed to improving academic performance for all students. Educators, administrators, parents, health practitioners and communities must consider the critical role student health plays in academic stamina and performance and adapt the school environment to ensure students’ basic nourishment and activity needs are met.
B. Support, promote, and provide education regarding nutrition and proper dietary habits contributing to students’ health status and academic performance.
School meals shall comply with federal and state statutes and regulations, meet U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) nutrition standards, requirements, and guidelines for the USDA’s National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”) and School Breakfast Program (“SBP”), as are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and information and resources available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov, and comply with the Connecticut Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools (“Connecticut Nutrition Standards”), as published by the Connecticut State Department of Education (“CSDE”). All foods sold separately from school meals must meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards, and all beverages sold to students on school premises must meet the requirements of Connecticut state statute and regulations. This applies to the sale of food and beverages at all activities on school grounds, whether sponsored by the school or an outside group. Emphasis should be placed on foods that are nutrient-rich such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds. Only 1% low-fat milk or less will be sold. To ensure high-quality nutritious meals, foods should be served with consideration toward variety, appeal, taste, safety and packaging. Food items that do not meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards and beverages that do not meet the requirements of state statute and/or regulations shall only be sold to students at the location of an event that occurs after the school day or on the weekend, provided the sale is not from a vending machine or a school store.
C. Provide opportunities for students to engage in physical activity.
A quality physical education program is an essential component for all students to learn about and participate in physical activity. The physical activity goal of NFA is to keep students in grades 9-12 physically active in order to help increase their overall level of health and wellbeing. NFA takes a holistic approach towards increasing the health of students by concentrating on the physical, mental and emotional health of each student. Physical activities are provided to all students throughout the school day and integrated across the curricula when possible.
II. Nutrition Guidelines
The Board recognizes that healthy eating patterns are essential for students to achieve their academic potential, full physical and mental growth, and life-long health and well-being. The link between nutrition and learning is well-documented. Healthy eating is demonstrably linked to reduced risk for mortality and development of many chronic diseases as adults. Schools should encourage students and staff members to establish and maintain life-long healthy eating patterns. Well-planned and well-implemented school nutrition programs have been shown to positively influence students’ eating habits.
A. The School Breakfast/Lunch Programs
The Board believes that NFA’s nutrition and food services operation should be financially self-supporting and is an essential educational support activity. In compliance with federal law, including the Child Nutrition Act, NFA’s “NSLP” and “SBP” shall be nonprofit. Services provided under the NSLP, including the Afterschool Snack Program, and the SBP will comply with all the federal requirements for program operation. School breakfast and lunch is available at both campuses (Broadway and Sachem). Menus support, promote and reinforce the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, encouraging increased consumption of nutrient-dense foods and beverages, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat and nonfat dairy products, (only 1% or lower fat milk will be sold) while limiting levels of cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars. Food service staff and customer (student, school staff and parent) feedback is considered in the planning of appealing, varied, nutritious, high quality meals that encourage increased participation in the reimbursable breakfast and lunch programs offered and discourage the purchase of á la carte and vended foods. Food service management and cafeteria staff are active members of school food service and nutrition professional organizations and participate in activities that promote professional growth and development, and are based upon current nutrition science and national health recommendations. The school’s food
service manager and cafeteria managers shall, at a minimum, be certified in food safety and sanitation. In addition, all cafeteria staff are formally trained in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), food safety and sanitation requirements, and prepare a variety of nutritious foods daily. Foods are purchased and/or prepared utilizing low-fat methods allowing for maximum nutrient retention, such as baking and steaming, promoting good health and nutrition. In addition, dietary needs are accommodated. All foods served meet or exceed minimum nutrition standards set by the USDA and federal and state statute and regulations, including those for the NSLP and SBP. Breakfast and lunch menus will be posted on the school website. Child Nutrition Program Information and application materials for the subsidized lunch program will be posted to the school website. The Food Service Program will incorporate the Farm to School initiative, providing locally grown fresh foods in the breakfast and lunch menus. The Food Service Program will also utilize produce grown in school gardens.
B. Cafeteria Environment
Parents will be encouraged to supply their children with naturally nutrient-rich foods and beverages such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds. Soda brought from home is strongly discouraged. All foods sold to students separately from school meals must meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards, and all beverages sold to students on school premises must meet the requirements of state law and regulations. Students will be provided with a clean, pleasant, and safe environment for eating meals, which will include convenient access to hand-washing facilities and free, safe and fresh drinking water. In accordance with state law, a minimum of twenty minutes will be allowed for lunch; between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Cafeterias will serve as an additional source of nutrition education, using posters and signage free of brands and illustrations of unhealthful foods, to promote good nutrition and food choices.
All fundraising projects involving the sale of food and beverages to students on school premises are required to follow the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards, the Connecticut Nutrition Standards, and beverage requirements of state statute and regulations at all times, unless they are sold to students at the location of an event that occurs after the school day or on the weekend, provided the sale is not from a vending machine or a school store.
A healthy school environment should not be sacrificed because of a dependence on revenue from high-added fat, high-added sugar and low-nutrient foods to support school programs. Nutrient rich food items will be encouraged as products sold for fundraising projects. The sale of nonfood items is strongly encouraged to be used for fundraisers.
Organizations operating concessions at events that occur after the school day or on the weekend will offer water, and a minimum of, but not limited to, one fruit and/or vegetable option for purchase. It is recommended that these healthier choices be marketed and sold at a lower profit margin to encourage student selection. The display and advertising of foods with minimal nutritional value is strongly discouraged.
D. Nutrition Practices in Classroom
Healthy snacks such as those satisfying the Connecticut Nutrition Standards or the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards limiting portion size, total fat, saturated fat, and grams of added sugar are strongly encouraged. NFA demonstrates a commitment to improving student nutrition, and strongly discourages the use of food items as part of a student incentive program. Nonfood alternatives are strongly encouraged for classroom celebrations. Should a classroom celebration use food items, adherence to guidance issued in compliance with the Connecticut Nutrition Standards or the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards is strongly encouraged.
E. Parent/Guardian Information
Food services will provide families with the ability to monitor their students’ food purchases. Nutrition information for school breakfast and lunch menu items is available upon request of the Food Service Program and on the school website. Nutrition information for á la carte, vended items, and items sold by school stores, all meeting the Connecticut Nutrition Standards, may be accessed on the Food Service Program’s website. Wherever possible, other nutritional information will be provided to parents on healthy snack, breakfast and lunch ideas, nonfood birthday celebration ideas, calcium needs of children, healthy portion sizes, food label reading guidelines, and fun activities to encourage physical activity outside of school.
F. Faculty Information
Wherever possible, nutritional information will be made available to staff members through a variety of means such as in-service training, publications, curriculum and publications which will include, but not be limited to, alternative birthday celebrations, activities to increase physical activity in the classroom, healthy snacks, alternative non-food reward options.
G. Nutrition Education
Nutrition education topics shall be integrated within the health education program and be consistent with the State of Connecticut’s health education standards/guidelines/framework. Educational materials will be free of brands and illustrations of unhealthful foods. Nutrition education shall be designed to help students learn:
• nutritional knowledge, including but not limited to, the benefits of healthy eating, essential nutrients, nutritional deficiencies, principles of healthy weight management, the use and misuse of dietary supplements, and safe food preparation, handling and storage;
• nutrition-related skills, including but not limited to, planning a healthy meal, understanding and using food labels, and critically evaluating nutritional information, misinformation, and commercial food advertising; and
• how to assess one’s personal eating habits, set goals for improvement and achieve these goals.
Nutrition education will be supported and supplemented whenever possible by NFA’s Medical Center. Nutrition education topics shall be integrated with the health education program and be consistent with the State of Connecticut’s health education standards/guidelines/framework and the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Guidelines for a Coordinated Approach to School Health. Nutrition education shall be based on current science, research and national guidelines, including the use of USDA Team Nutrition materials, MyPlate, and the most current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition education shall be standards-based using the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Healthy and Balanced Living Curriculum Framework and other applicable evidence-based strategies and techniques. Nutrition education shall be part of comprehensive school health education and shall also be included, where feasible, into the classroom content across areas such as science, language arts, family and consumer science, and cooking. Staff members responsible for nutrition education shall be adequately prepared and participate in professional development.
III. Physical Education Guidelines
A. The Norwich Free Academy’s Physical Education Program develops the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domain of students in grades 9 to 12. Students develop their psychomotor domain through instruction and practice of the skills necessary to be competent in a variety of physical activities. Psychomotor assessments are completed during each unit to measure competency of students. The cognitive domain of the students is developed through problem solving activities and self, as well as peer, assessment of skills. In order to develop their affective domain, students are encouraged by their teachers and classmates to succeed and to view physical activity as being pleasurable. Teachers may assess the accomplishment of this domain through observation and discussions with the class. Students in grade 10 participate in the Connecticut State Fitness Test in order to measure their level of fitness in the areas of flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular strength and endurance. Lessons are designed to provide appropriate scope and sequence for all activities, and modifications are made in order to include all students. Class size is sufficient to insure appropriate instruction and feedback opportunities. Daily equipment and facility inspection, along with modifications of rules, ensure a safe learning environment. Repairs are made to the facility and equipment is replaced when a danger exists. Rules to games may be modified in order to prevent injuries based on class size, ability of students, or condition of a facility. Students are encouraged to assist one another in order to create an emotionally safe environment. Teachers are offered in-service training in order to increase their knowledge in the area of physical education. The high school physical education curriculum is provided to students grades 9 through 12 in semester blocks. High school
students are required to complete 1 full credit of physical education. The high school physical education curriculum has a focus on fitness and lifetime activities. During fitness activities, students are engaged for the majority of the class in vigorous physical activity. Other units allow for 1/3 of the class time for vigorous activity during a warm-up at the beginning of class.
B. Other Opportunities for Physical Activity
1. Passing Time
Passing Time provides opportunities for students to walk between buildings on campus, which helps students stay alert and attentive in class and provides other educational and social benefits.
2. School Initiatives
Administrators and teachers are encouraged to find other ways for students to be physically active during the school day or thorough a school sponsored activity. Examples include the Fitness Incentive Time during the last lunch wave.
3. Extracurricular Activities
The Norwich Free Academy offers a variety of interscholastic sports for both boys and girls in each sports season. The high school offers fitness activities such as cardio and weight training. Student clubs that meet during the school day or as an extension of the school day which require physical activity are also available to the students. NFA will seek expansion of these opportunities through additional sports offerings, student clubs and intramurals.
4. School/Community Collaboration
The Norwich Free Academy shall work with the Norwich Recreation Department and other community organizations to coordinate and enhance opportunities available to students and staff members for physical activity during their out-of-school time. Students and staff are encouraged to participate in physical activities outside of school and are made aware through instruction or assignments as to where and when they can get involved in these activities.
IV. MONITORING AND EVALUATION
The Head of School or designee will invite suggestions and comments concerning the implementation and improvement of the school wellness policy from community members, including parents, students, and representatives of the school food authority, the school board, school administrators, and the public.
A. A school-wide Wellness Committee shall be established
The Wellness Committee will monitor the implementation of the school’s Wellness Policy and its nutrition and physical activity components through the Head of School or his/her designee. The Head of School or designee shall ensure compliance with established school-wide nutrition and physical activity policies. The Head of School shall ensure compliance with these policies at NFA.
The Wellness Committee comprised of community members, including parents, students and representatives of the school food authority, Board members, and school administrators shall meet a minimum of twice per school year to review nutrition and physical activity policies, evidence on student health impact, and effective programs and program elements. The committee shall prepare a report annually for the Head of School and the Board, evaluating the implementation of the policy and regulations and include any recommended changes or revisions.
B. Annual Progress Report
In accordance with federal and state law and applicable regulations, the Board will inform and update the public (including parents, students and others in the community) about the content and implementation of its wellness policy through an annual Progress Report. The Progress Report shall include the website address for this policy, a description of each school’s progress in meeting the local school wellness goals, a summary of each school’s events or activities related to the implementation of this wellness policy, the name of the individual responsible for coordinating the Wellness Committee and information on how individuals may become involved with the school Wellness Committee.
C. Triennial Assessment
At least once every three years, the Board will measure and make available to the public an assessment on the implementation of the wellness policy. In this triennial assessment, the Board will indicate the extent to which NFA is in compliance with the wellness policy, and how the Board’s wellness policy compares with model school wellness policies. In addition, the triennial assessment will provide a description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.
D. Record keeping
The school will retain records to document compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy at the schools Administrative Offices. Documentation maintained in this location will include but will not be limited to:
• The written wellness policy7
• Documentation demonstrating that the policy has been made available to the public7
• Documentation of efforts to review and update the school’s wellness policy, including an indication of who is involved in the update and methods the school uses to make stakeholders aware of their ability to participate on the District Wellness Committee7
• Documentation to demonstrate compliance with the annual public notification requirements7
• The most recent assessment on the implementation of the local school wellness policy7 and
• Documentation demonstrating that the most recent assessment on the implementation of the school’s wellness policy has been made available to the public.
Connecticut General Statutes:
§ 10-215f Certification that food meets nutrition standards.
§ 10-221o Lunch periods. Recess.
§ 10-221p Boards to make available for purchase nutritious and low-fat foods.
§ 10-221q Sale of beverages.
Public Act 16-37, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Farm to School Program Public Act 16-132, An Act Establishing a Red Ribbon Pass Program
Pub. L. 108-265, § 204, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1751
Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act § 9(f)(1) and § 17(a), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1758(f)(1) and 42 U.S.C. § 1766, as amended by Pub. L. 111-296, § 204, Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
20 U.S.C. § 7118, as amended by Pub. L. 114-95, Every Student Succeeds Act Policy Adopted: May 18, 2010
Policy Revised: May 16, 2017