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Local Wellness

St. Mary’s Home for Boys

Wellness Policy on Nutrition and Physical Activity


St. Mary’s is committed to the optimal physical and academic development of every student. For students to achieve personal, academic, developmental and social success, we must create positive, safe and health-promoting learning environments at every level, in every setting, throughout the school year. St. Mary’s will align health and wellness efforts with other school improvement endeavors to ensure the optimal health and academic success of all students.

Research shows that proper nutrition and physical activity before, during and after the school day are strongly correlated with positive academic outcomes. For example, student participation in the School Breakfast Program is associated with higher grades and standardized test scores, lower absenteeism and better performance on cognitive tasks. Conversely, less-than-adequate consumption of specific foods including fruits, vegetables and dairy products is associated with lower grades. Participation in active transportation to and from school (e.g., walking and bicycling), recess, physical activity breaks, physical education and extracurricular activities involving physical activity results in better academic outcomes for students. Finally, there is evidence that adequate hydration is associated with better cognitive performance.

This local school wellness policy (LWP) outlines St. Mary’s approach to ensuring that the school environment provides opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day. This policy applies to all students and staff at St. Mary’s. Specific measurable goals and outcomes are identified within each section.

In order to be compliant with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) final rule of 2016 (final rule), the policy must at minimum:

• identify one or more St. Mary’s official(s) who have the authority and responsibility for ensuring that St. Mary’s complies with the LWP

• include language inviting caregivers, students, representatives of the school food authority* (SFA), teachers of physical education (PE), school health professionals, the board of directors, St. Mary’s administrators and the general public to participate in the development, implementation, review and update of the LWP

• include language describing the methods for informing the public (including caregivers, students and others in the community) about the LWP and any updates to the policy on an annual basis

• include language requiring that at least once every three years, the following is measured and made available to the public: o the extent to which St. Mary’s complies with the LWP

o the extent to which the LWP compares to model local school wellness policies

o the progress made in attaining the goals of the LWP

• include nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold on the school campus* during the school day* that are consistent with federal regulations for school meals and the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards* (Smart Snacks standards)

• include standards for all foods and beverages offered*, but not sold, to students during the school day (e.g., for classroom parties or classroom snacks brought by caregivers),

• include specific goals for nutrition education* and nutrition promotion* activities

• include requirements for marketing and advertising on the school campus during the school day of only those foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks standards

• include specific goals for physical activity opportunities

• include specific goals for other school-based activities that promote student wellness


Purpose of the Council

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, St. Mary’s will convene a representative District Wellness Council (DWC) that meets at least four times per year to establish goals for and oversee school health and safety policies and programs – including the development, implementation and periodic review and update of this LWP.

Council Membership

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the DWC will include representatives from the school and district level and will reflect the diversity of the community.

The DWC membership will include, but is not limited to:

• executive director (or designee)

• caregivers (ensure diversity of representation in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability status, etc.)

• students

• representatives of the school nutrition program (e.g., school nutrition director),

• physical and health education teachers and school health professionals (e.g., school nurses, physicians, dentists or other personnel who provide school health services)

• specialized instructional support personnel (e.g., school counselors, psychologists or social workers)

• St. Mary’s administrators

• board members

• community health professionals (e.g., dietitians, doctors, nurses or dentists)

• school-based OST program staff (e.g., district afterschool program coordinator, 21st Century Community Learning Center district lead or director of community-based afterschool services)

• general public (ensure diversity of representation in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability status, etc.)

• community stakeholders (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP Ed) coordinators, representatives from community-based organizations or local business representatives)

Council Leadership

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the executive director (or designee) will convene the DWC, facilitate development of and updates to the LWP and ensure each school’s compliance

with the policy. The names and contact information of the executive director (or designee) and the council members will be made readily available to the public.


Triennial Assessments

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, at least once every three years, St. Mary’s will assess the LWP by measuring:

• the extent to which the LWP meets the requirements of the final rule

• the extent to which St. Mary’s staff are complying with the LWP

• the progress made in attaining the goals of the LWP

St. Mary’s will develop and annually update an action plan for the execution of this LWP. The plan will outline who is responsible for overseeing each component, as well as actions and a timeline for the completion of activities and goals. St. Mary’s recommends the use of the Healthy Schools Program Assessment or the School Health Index to complete an annual school-level health and wellness assessment.

St. Mary’s ensures that the LWP aligns with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Model Wellness Policy.


In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the district will retain records to document the presence of and compliance with the LWP, including but not limited to:

• the current and previous board-approved LWP

• documentation demonstrating that the LWP has been made available to the public

• documentation of the most recent school-level assessments of implementation

• documentation of efforts to review and update the LWP, including who was involved, and how St. Mary’s made stakeholders aware of their ability to participate

Policy Updates

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the DWC will update the LWP based upon:

• the results of the triennial assessment

• St. Mary’s priorities

• community needs

• the results of school health assessments

• school-level implementation progress

• emerging scientific information

• new federal or state regulations or guidance

Notification to the Public

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the district will actively inform caregivers and the public each year of basic information about the LWP, including but not limited to:

• its content and any updates

• school-level implementation status

• an explanation of why updates were made, who was involved and how stakeholders were made aware of their ability to participate

• the effective dates of any policy changes

• the names and contact information of the district and school officials leading and coordinating the Wellness Council

• information on how the public can get involved with the Wellness Council

• information about Wellness Council meetings including dates, times, locations, agendas and meeting minutes

• mechanisms for the public to provide feedback and comments

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, St. Mary’s will ensure that communications are culturally and linguistically appropriate to the community and will use communication methods that are appropriate to ensure that all caregivers have access to the information. St. Mary’s will keep persons with disabilities or those that represent the interests of those with disabilities involved in all aspects including LWP updates and assessments. St. Mary’s will use multiple methods to distribute this information to the community, including but not limited to:

• electronic mechanisms (e.g., email)

• displaying notices on the St. Mary’s websites

• non-electronic mechanisms (e.g., newsletters)

• presentations to caregivers

• sending information home to caregivers


School Meals

Children consume as many as half of their daily calories at school. Schools play an important role in offering meals with vital nutrients while shaping students’ eating habits. Students who participate in the school meal programs have access to nutritious foods and beverages to support their growth, development and academic performance.

The USDA Child Nutrition Programs (child nutrition programs) aim to improve the health of students, help mitigate hunger and obesity and model healthy eating by providing meals that are low in fat and sodium, and abundant in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These programs support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, all schools within the district will participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) and will provide meals that meet the nutrition standards for school meals by including:

• fruits and vegetables, including a variety of fruits and vegetables that meet the required vegetable subgroups (dark green, red and orange, dry beans, and peas and legumes)

• grains (whole grain-rich)

• meats and meat alternates

• fat-free and low-fat milk

• access to free drinking water

In addition:

• school meals will be accessible to all students, and the district will accommodate special dietary needs and food allergies as required by federal regulations

• school meals will be administered by a team of qualified nutrition professionals who meet or exceed the hiring and annual continuing education/training requirements of the USDA Professional Standards for Child Nutrition Professionals

• St. Mary’s will make every effort to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the method of payment does not identify a student as eligible for free or reduced-price meals (e.g., using prepayment systems which mask students’ eligibility status)

• St. Mary’s will: o offer a variety of foods and beverages that are appealing and attractive to children.

o ensure that eating setting are clean and inviting

o prohibit the use of food as a reward or the withholding of foods as a punishment


Access to safe, free drinking water helps to increase students’ overall water consumption, maintain hydration and reduce energy intake when substituted for sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, adequate hydration may improve cognitive function among children and adolescents, which is important for learning.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students during mealtimes where school meals are served.

Competitive Foods and Beverages

St. Mary’s does not sell competitive food or beverages or permit food-based fundraising.

Celebrations and Rewards

Celebrations and positive reinforcement are an important part of St. Mary’s culture of supporting students. Using food as a reward or withholding food as a punishment undermines healthy eating habits and interferes with children’s ability to self-regulate their eating.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the district will ensure that celebrations and rewards are consistent with our nutrition policies. All foods and beverages served and offered on the school campus outside of the school meal programs during the school day will meet, at a minimum, Smart Snacks. This includes foods and beverages offered during celebrations and parties, for classroom snacks and as rewards and incentives. St. Mary’s recommends utilizing rewards that promote physical activity and/or promote educational messages. Foods and beverages will not be withheld as a punishment for any reason.


St. Mary’s does not permit food-based fundraisers.

Nutrition Education

Nutrition education is a vital part of a comprehensive health education program and empowers children with knowledge and skills to make healthy food and beverage choices.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, St. Mary’s will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating among students. Schools will provide nutrition education integrated into other subjects, as part of health education and/or offer stand-alone classes at each grade level.

Nutrition Promotion

Nutrition promotion using evidence-based techniques and nutrition messages helps to create healthy food environments and positively influences lifelong healthy eating behaviors. It also helps to encourage and increase participation in school meal programs.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, St. Mary’s will ensure that students and staff receive consistent nutrition messages throughout the school campus including in classrooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias. St. Mary’s will promote healthy food and beverage choices for all students across the school campus during the school day and will encourage participation in school meal programs.

Food and Beverage Marketing

Health and wellness efforts are weakened when students are subjected to advertising on St. Mary’s property that promotes unhealthy foods and beverages.

St. Mary’s is committed to teaching students to make informed choices about nutrition, health and physical activity and to providing a school environment that ensures opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, all foods and beverages marketed to students on the school campus during the school day will meet or exceed Smart Snacks. This includes the marketing of products on:

• the exterior of vending machines

• posters, flyers, menu boards, coolers, trash cans and other foodservice equipment

• cups used for beverage dispensing

St. Mary’s does not allow food and beverage marketing on the school campus and does not provide vending machines accessible to students.


Children and adolescents, including children with disabilities, should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day in order to ensure optimum health.

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, the St. Mary’s requires that a combination of physical activity opportunities from, but not limited to, the list below be offered to students:

• physical education (see Physical and Health Education section for additional recommended language)

• classroom physical activity

• active academics

• daily recess

• before- and after-school activities, including sports

• support for and promotion of active transportation


Schools are integral in promoting healthy behaviors, and the school building provides numerous opportunities to educate students about healthy habits

In order to be compliant with the USDA final rule, St. Mary’s will integrate wellness activities across the entire campus setting, including the cafeteria, other food and beverage venues, classrooms and physical activity facilities.


Local Wellness member list:


      David Mauer-

      Jeff Pinelli-

      Madison Aponte-

      Seth Parker-

      Francis Maher-

      Kate Parsley-

      Lynda Walker-

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