All schools participating in the National School Breakfast/Lunch Program must establish a local school wellness policy that includes specific goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities. In addition, standards and nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available on the school campus during the school day must remain consistent with federal regulations designed to promote student health and reduce childhood obesity. School districts must meet and provide a triennial assessment report that describes the extent to which it is complying with the wellness policy. Below is a summary of the 2023 annual meeting.
The Schuylerville Central School District consistently meets or exceeds state and federal expectations in all three buildings. The written wellness policy complies with all mandates where applicable. In the elementary school, parent volunteers assist in Rainbow Foods Week, a full five days dedicated to serving unique fruits and vegetables from all colors of the rainbow while providing education about their nutritional value. In 5th grade, ‘Too Good for Drugs’ is an integral part of the curriculum offered through the Prevention Council. 4H is also involved in the “eat a rainbow” curriculum in district health classes. Older grades participate in an “Eat Right Challenge” where students attempt to eat the recommended amounts of food from each food group. Students also create a smoothie and practice goal setting as part of the health curriculum. In the high school, a food science class was recently added and is offered biannually. In this course students investigate areas of food science, including food safety, food chemistry, food processing, food product development, and marketing.
Families and the community are involved in nutrition education through information sent home with students, cafeteria farm to school events, and the backpack program. Future goals include prioritizing mental health, hydration, healthy sleep patterns, and disconnecting from screens, which the district has already begun implementing.
The Schuylerville Central School District consistently meets or exceeds state and federal expectations for students in all three buildings. The written wellness policy complies with all mandates where applicable, and provides weekly physical fitness for all grade levels. Students are provided ample opportunities for physical fitness through a variety of organized athletics and clubs. The district encourages all students to recognize and embrace the importance and benefit of life-long physical activity and fitness.
Staff wellness initiatives are limited at this point in time. One engaging activity is the“Cinco de Milo” movement challenge headed by the High School Foreign Language Club in May where students and staff are asked to move at least 5 miles each week and submit their results. Additionally, a yoga/mindfulness session was offered on a professional development day in December, 2022. The Wellness Committee recognizes the importance of staff wellness as an example for student wellness and set a goal of planning additional fitness activities for staff, such as a steps challenge, in the future.
Standards for USDA Child Nutrition Programs and School Meals
The Schuylerville Central School District participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, and was found to be in compliance with all metrics of assessment. The local wellness policy addresses foods served in schools and ensures free drinking water is available throughout the day. While the district does not employ a formal “breakfast after the bell” program, all students are assured access to breakfast even if they arrive late.
Although the district wellness policy does not specifically address local foods purchasing, the food service department prioritizes sourcing foods from New York State and the Capital Region. Since 2020 the Schuylerville Central School District has qualified for the New York State 30% Initiative, a competitive program where schools must purchase 30% of all foods served at lunch from within the state of New York. The district cafeterias celebrate New York Thursdays, Harvest of the Month, and National Farm to School Month as methods to tie education, nutrition, and agriculture together.
Future goals for the USDA school meal programs include creating new partnerships with local growers and producers to expand student access to fresh, locally grown meat, produce, eggs, grains, and dairy.
Nutrition Standards for Competitive and Other Foods and Beverages
The local school wellness policy meets or exceeds all requirements of the USDA’s competitive food rules (“Smart Snacks”). The Wellness Committee confirmed that all guidelines for fundraisers, food sold in the cafeteria, and in school stores. Foods as part of a celebration not being sold to students are excluded from the nutrition standards, but the local wellness policy encourages all foods offered to students during the school day to meet these strict criteria.
Wellness Promotion and Marketing
The Schuylerville Central School District was found in compliance with all areas related to marketing food to students. Healthy meal choices are promoted both in and out of the cafeteria. A number of farm to school activities take place, including taste-testing local products and identifying local options on the monthly menus. In addition, high school agriculture classes have been growing lettuce and herbs, which the cafeteria then serves to students during lunch, providing a wonderful opportunity for students to eat something they grew. Goals for future wellness promotion include building a garden at the Elementary School using funds from winning the Big Apple Crunch contest, and serving recipes using local maple syrup during one week in March to complement the elementary school’s maple experience learning activities.
Implementation, Evaluation, and Communication
The district wellness committee is composed of principals, the food service manager, health and PE teachers, parents, counselors, and school nurses. The wellness policy and triennial assessments are made available to the public via the district website. The wellness policy will be reviewed annually at the school board reorganization meeting and enforced by the Food Services Manager. At the conclusion of this assessment, the wellness committee does not propose making any changes to the existing local wellness policy.