Health and Wellness Policy
Today’s Fresh Start Charter School supports the following wellness principles:
- Healthy children are the foundation of a healthy society;
- Healthy, well-nourished children are better able to learn;
- All children deserve nutritious, safe, and deliciously prepared food;
- Eating habits developed in childhood will affect health throughout life;
- Knowledge of food—how it is grown, who grows it, how it is prepared, its connection to tradition, and its influence in shaping the future of society—is integral to a healthy education; Given the rapid rise in childhood obesity and diabetes, we understand the need to promote human and environmental health, high academic achievement, and a sustainable future. Complete understanding of wellness includes additional enrichment and learning opportunities for the whole child that:
- Emphasize fresh, local, seasonal, whole, and sustainably grown foods from local sources;
- Model recycling, reduction, and composting of waste;
- Develop positive social interactions, good manners, and enjoyment of meals through positive dining experiences;
- Enhance respect for cultural and agricultural values;
- Include families and the community as a resource in the learning process.
Statement of Responsibility
The Board of Today’s Fresh Start Charter School recognizes that there is a link between nutrition education, the food served in schools, physical activity, and environmental education, and that wellness is affected by all of these. The Board also recognizes the important connection between a healthy diet and a student’s ability to learn effectively and achieve high standards in school.
The Board further recognizes that the sharing and enjoyment of food, and participation in physical activities, are fundamental experiences for all people and are a primary way to nurture and celebrate our cultural diversity. These fundamental human experiences are vital bridges for building friendships, forming inter-generational bonds, and strengthening communities.
- Whereas, a healthy diet is connected to a student’s ability to learn effectively and achieve high standards in school;
- Whereas, each day, students and their parents trust that the foods offered at school are wholesome and safe, and that the Governing Board is responsible for ensuring the safety of foods provided at school;
- Whereas, fresh, seasonal, local, sustainably grown foods are a primary and recommended source of nutrition for growing children, and pre-packaged, highly processed foods create a solid waste packaging management problem and expense for school districts;
- Whereas small and mid-size farms and America’s rural communities are under economic stress, and the public dollars from farm-to-school programs create a steady and reliable source of income for farmers;
- Whereas, the knowledge and skill-base for farming, gardening, food preservation, cooking, and the ritual of the table are disappearing from American life;
- Whereas public school is an excellent place to nurture and preserve America’s food traditions through storytelling, recipe swapping, rediscovering foodways, cooking classes, garden- and farm-based learning experiences, food served in the cafeteria, and connections to the core curriculum of science, math, language arts, history, geography, and social studies.
Nutrition Education and Promotion
To help ensure the health and well-being of each student attending Today’s Fresh Start, and to provide guidance to school personnel in the areas of nutrition, health, physical activity and food service, the Governing Board encourages teachers, principals, and staff to recognize the lunch period as an integral part of the educational program of the district, and work to implement the goals of this policy. The Governing Board will ensure that:
- No student in Today’s Fresh Start goes hungry during school
- An economically sustainable meal program makes available a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack and supper to every student at every school so that students are prepared to learn to their fullest potential;
- Eating experiences and nutrition education are integrated into the core academic curriculum at all grade levels;
- Schools shall promote food-centered activities that are healthful, enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, and participatory,
- Lunch periods shall be scheduled so that students do not have to eat lunch unusually early or late, and ideally so that they come after or before periods of exercise
- All school eating areas shall contain free, safe, drinking water sources and facilities for washing hands;
- Meals will be attractively presented and served in a pleasant environment with sufficient time for eating while fostering good eating habits, enjoyment of meals, good manners, and respect for others
Nutrition promotion will be implemented through the following avenues:
- Healthy Food Posters
- Distribution of the Wellness Policy
- Posting of the Wellness Policy Summary
- Healthy eating newsletters shared with our school community.
The Governing Board recognizes the positive benefits of physical activity for student health and academic achievement. Recognizing that physical education is a crucial and integral part of a child’s education, the district will provide opportunities to ensure that students engage in healthful levels of vigorous physical activity to promote and develop the student’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Besides promoting high levels of personal achievement and a positive self-image, physical education activities should teach students how to cooperate in the achievement of common goals.
The components of the physical education program shall include a variety of kinesthetic activities, including team, individual, and cooperative sports and physical activities, as well as aesthetic movement forms, such as dance, yoga or the martial arts. Students shall be given opportunities for physical activity through a range of before- and/or after-school programs including, but not limited to, intramurals, interscholastic athletics, and physical activity clubs. The Governing Board will ensure that:
- Teachers shall implement a curriculum that connects and demonstrates the interrelationship between physical activity, good nutrition, and health;
- An appropriate alternative activity shall be provided for students with a physical disability that may restrict excessive physical exertion;
- Physical education staff shall appropriately limit the amount or type of physical exercise required of students during air pollution episodes, excessively hot weather, or other inclement conditions. Physical Activity Exemptions The Executive Director may grant a temporary exemption from physical education under any of the following conditions:
- The student is ill or injured and a modified program to meet his/her needs cannot be provided;
- Enrolled in a juvenile home, ranch, camp or forestry camp school with scheduled recreation and exercise
Part of the educational mission of the Today’s Fresh Start is to improve the health of the entire community by teaching students and families ways to establish and maintain life-long healthy eating habits. The mission shall be accomplished through nutrition education, physical education, environmental restoration, core academic content in the classroom, and the food served in schools. The Governing Board will provide:
- Offer a school lunch program with menus that meet the meal patterns and nutrition standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Education, Office of School and Community Support.
- Provide school breakfast and snack programs (where approved and applicable) with menus that meet the meal patterns and nutrition standards established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Education, Office of School and Community Support.
- Encourage school staff and families to participate in school meal programs.
- Recommend meals brought from home meet the meal patterns and nutrition standards established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Education, Office of School and Community Support.
- Operate all Child Nutrition Programs with school foodservice staff who are qualified according to current professional standards (Policies of Operation, Bulletin 1196).
- Establish food safety as a key component of all school food operations and ensure that the food service permit is current for the Food Service school site.
- Follow State Board of Education policies on competitive foods and extra food sales (refer to Bulletin 1196).
- Establish guidelines for all foods available on the school campus during the school day with the objective of promoting health and reducing obesity. (see “Other School Policies.”)
- Adequate time for breakfast and lunch.
- Whole and enriched grain products that are high in fiber, low in added fats and sugars, and served in appropriate portion sizes consistent with the current USDA standards.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables using healthy food preparation techniques and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.
- Nonfat, reduced fat, low-fat, plain and/or flavored milk and yogurt, nonfat, reduced fat and/or low-fat real cheese.
- Nuts, nut butters, seeds, trail mix, and/or soybean snacks.
- Healthy food preparation techniques for lean meat, poultry, and fish.
- School meals accessible to all students with a variety of delivery strategies, such as breakfast in the classroom, grab-and-go meals, or alternate eating sites – where applicable.
- A cafeteria environment conducive to a positive dining experience, with socializing among students and between students and adults; with the supervision of eating areas by adults who model proper conduct and voice level; and with adults who model healthy habits by eating with the students.
- School promoted activities and fundraisers are to include healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
The Wellness Committee is a working group of the school, instrumental in drafting the Wellness Policy. The Wellness Committee is responsible for addressing food-related topics of concern to the school community and making Wellness Policy recommendations to the Board. The membership of the working group shall include at the minimum:
- The Executive Director
- 1 staff member
- 1 teacher
- A group of community/parent representatives
- A group of students
The standing Wellness Committee shall present to the Governing Board an Annual Report each year on the status of meeting the Wellness Policy goals. The report shall:
- Contain recommendations for improving the delivery and cost-effectiveness of food services;
- Assist the Director of Child Nutrition Services in the development and implementation of the Outreach and Promotion Marketing plan;
- Recommend to the Governing Board strategies to eliminate potentially harmful food additives and processes, and to increase the amount of fresh, local produce offered through the School Meal Program;
- Solicit student preferences through taste tests, surveys, and interviews, and through student participation on the district Wellness Commit
The Wellness Committee shall meet at least three times a year at hours convenient for public participation, and for sufficient time to conduct the group’s business. The responsibilities of the Wellness Committee include a review of the implementation of the wellness plan, periodic review, and updates. The Committee will also ensure that news regarding the Wellness Policy is posted on the school’s website for public viewing.
It is the intention of Today’s Fresh Start Charter School to provide a smoke-free workplace within all buildings owned or leased by the Today’s Fresh Start Charter School.