Hamden Public Schools District Policies

6142.101 - Student Nutrition and Physical Activity (Student Wellness Policy)

Purpose and Goal

The Hamden Board of Education (hereto referred to as the District) is committed to the optimal development of every student. The District recognizes the link between student wellness and learning. Healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity are essential for students to achieve their full academic potential, full physical and mental growth, and lifelong health and well-being. The Board desires to provide a comprehensive program to promote healthy eating and regular physical activity. Our goal is to have all students possess the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthy choices for a lifetime. The District shall prepare, adopt, and implement a comprehensive Coordinated School Health (CSH) approach that supports and reinforces health literacy through nutrition education, physical education and activity, health education, health services, psychological and counseling services, health promotion for staff, a safe and healthy school environment, and parent/guardian and community involvement.

This policy applies to all students, staff, and schools in the District.

I. District/School Wellness Committees

The District will convene a representative district wellness committee (hereto referred to as the DWC or work within an existing school health committee) that meets at least three times per year to establish goals for and oversee school health and safety policies and programs, including development, implementation, and periodic review and update of this district-level wellness plan (heretofore referred as "wellness plan").

The DWC membership will represent all school levels (elementary and secondary schools) and include (to the extent possible), but not be limited to: parents and caregivers; students; representatives of the school nutrition program (ex., school nutrition director); physical education teachers; health education teachers; school health professionals (ex., health education teachers, school health services staff [i.e., nurses, physicians, dentists, health educators, and other allied health personnel who provide school health services), and mental health and social services staff [i.e., school counselors, psychologists, social workers, or psychiatrists]; school administrators (ex., superintendent, principal, vice principal), school board members; health professionals (ex., dietitians, doctors, nurses, dentists); and the general public. To the extent possible, the DWC will include representatives from each school building and reflect the diversity of the community.

II. Wellness Plan Implementation, Monitoring, Accountability, and Community Engagement Implementation Plan

The DWC will develop and maintain a plan for implementation to manage and coordinate the execution of this wellness policy. The plan delineates roles, responsibilities, actions, and timelines specific to each school, and includes information about who will be responsible to make what change, by how much, where, and when, as well as specific goals and objectives for nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available on the school campus, food and beverage marketing, nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, physical education, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness.

  • The Superintendent or her designee shall appoint a District Wellness Committee. The District Wellness Committee shall be composed of parents, school district staff and community representatives. Each principal in collaboration with their school's PTA/PTSA/PTO shall select one parent and one staff member, such as a teacher, nurse, counselor, food service manager, or administrator to represent the school. Permanent members of the committee shalt include the Superintendent or his/her designee, staff responsible for the health and athletic department, and a food service representative.
  • The District Wellness Committee shall be responsible for preparing a Wellness Plan to implement, monitor and make recommendations for updates and revisions to the Wellness Policy. The Wellness Plan will be reviewed and revised annually by the Wellness Committee in time for the beginning of each academic year. Instruction 6142.101 (b) Student Nutrition and Physical Activity (Student Wellness Policy)
  • A new Annual Action Agenda will be derived each fall from the Wellness Plan's Goals and consist of Objectives that will drive the activities of the Committee over the course of the current academic year towards the implementation of the overall Plan.
  • Each goal within the Plan will have identified a timeframe and a responsible party for its implementation. At the end of each school year the Committee will review its accomplishments for the year and create a Summary of its progress toward achieving the objectives in the current Annual Action Agenda. The progress report will be sent to the Board of Education and will be posted on the District website.
  • Principals at each school shall establish school wellness committees. Members shall include the Principal, the school's representatives to the District Wellness Committee, the school nurse, and at least two teachers, two parents, and two students. The committees shall be tasked with implementing the Annual Action Agenda at their site, delivering information about the Wellness Policy, the Wellness Plan, and the Annual Action Agenda to parents and teachers at appropriate times throughout the school year, and addressing site-specific concerns

Triennial Progress Assessments

At least once every three years, the District will evaluate compliance with the wellness policy to assess the implementation of the policy and include:

  • The extent to which schools under the jurisdiction of the District are in compliance with the wellness policy;
  • The extent to which the District's wellness policy compares to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's model wellness policy; and
  • A description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the District's wellness plan.

Revisions and Updating the Plan

The DWC will update or modify the wellness plan based on the results of the annual progress reports and triennial assessments, and/or as District priorities change; community needs change; wellness goals are met; new health science, information, and technology emerges; and new Federal or state guidance or standards are issued. The wellness policy will be assessed and updated as indicated as needed, following the triennial assessment.

III. Nutrition

School Meals

Our school district is committed to serving healthy meals to children, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat, and zero grams trans-fat per serving (nutrition label or manufacturer's specification); and to meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal programs aim to improve the diet and health of school children, help mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns, and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.

All schools within the District participate in USDA child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Healthy Foods Certificate (HFC).

Staff Qualifications and Professional Development

All school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff will meet or exceed hiring and annual continuing education/training requirements in the USDA professional standards for child nutrition professionals. These school nutrition personnel will refer to USDA's Professional Standards for School Nutrition Standards website to search for training that meets their learning needs. [US5]

Competitive Foods and Beverages 

  • All food and beverages provided by the school or school staff to students during the school day on school premises must comply with the same nutrition requirements (i.e. USDA and Connecticut Nutrition and Beverage Standards) that govern a la carte items sold on school premises during the school day.
  • As a participant in the CT State Department of Education's (CSDE) Healthy Food Certification program the district must comply with the Connecticut Nutrition Standards under Section 10-215f of the Connecticut General Statutes. The CSDE's List of Acceptable Foods and Beverages is used to select ONLY foods/commercial products that meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards to be made available for purchase on school campuses during the school day (outside of USDA school meals), including those purchased from vending machines, school stores, a la carte lines in the cafeteria, and in-school fundraisers. Following the Connecticut Nutrition Standards ensures that saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars are limited, portion sizes are moderated and nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables, low-faVnonfat dairy products, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds are promoted. [NS2 / NS3]

IV. Physical Activity and Physical Education

Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. A substantial percentage of students' physical activity can be provided through a comprehensive, school-based physical activity program (CSPAP) that includes these components: physical education, recess, classroom-based physical activity, walk and bicycle to school, and out-of-school time activities and is in accordance with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) standards and CSDE's Physical Education - A Guide to K-12 Program Development 2000. Schools will ensure that these varied opportunities are in addition to, and not as a substitute for, physical education.

Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, physical activity breaks, or physical education) will not be withheld as punishment for any reason", this does not include participation on sports teams that have specific academic requirements. The district will provide teachers and other school staff with a list of ideas for alternative ways to discipline students.

Recess (Elementary)

  • All students in grades K-6 will, to the extent appropriate for the individual child, have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a daily basis. In accordance with Section 10-2210 of the general Connecticut Statutes, all elementary schools must provide students with a period of time devoted to physical exercise of not less than 20 minutes each school day.

V. Other Activities that Promote Student Wellness

The District will integrate wellness activities across the entire school setting, not just in the cafeteria, other food and beverage venues, and physical activity facilities. The District will coordinate and integrate other initiatives related to physical activity, physical education, nutrition, and other wellness components so all efforts are complementary, not duplicative, and work towards the same set of goals and objectives promoting student well-being, optimal development, and strong educational outcomes. Schools in the District are encouraged to coordinate content across curricular areas that promote student health, such as teaching nutrition concepts in science and mathematics, with consultation provided by either the school or the District's curriculum experts.

Legal Reference:

Connecticut General Statutes

10-16b Prescribed courses of study.

10-215 Lunches, breakfasts and the feeding programs for public school children and employees.

10-221 Boards of Education to prescribe rules, policies and procedures.

10-215a Non-public school participation in feeding program.

10-21 Sb Duties of state board of education re feeding programs.

10-216 Payment of expenses.

10-215b-1 State board of education regulation - Competitive foods.

10-221o Lunch periods. Recess.

10-221p Boards to make available for purchase nutritious, low-fat foods.

National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program;

Competitive Foods. (7 CFR Parts 210 and 220, Federal Register, Vol. 45, No. 20, Tuesday, January 29, 1980, pp. 6758-6772)

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, Public Law 108-265.

Connecticut State Department of Education's Physical Education - A Guide to K-12 Program Development {2000)

Connecticut General Statutes

10-221o Lunch periods. Recess (as amended) P.A. 12-116, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, and P.A. 13-173, An Act Concerning Childhood Obesity and Physical Exercise in Schools.


First Reading:  December 8, 2015

Second Reading (adoption):  January 12, 2016

Hamden Public Schools     Hamden, Connecticut