8505 – Wellness Policy/Nutrient Standards for Meals and Other Foods
School districts received a Memorandum from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDOA) on August 1, 2014 indicating the Model Nutrition Policy previously accepted as a Wellness Policy no longer meets the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDOA) and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). In the Memorandum, school districts were directed to a Federal website for ideas on updating and implementing a new Wellness Policy and were informed local wellness policies will be reviewed during the USDOA administrative reviews of school lunch programs, which begin sometime in the fall of 2014. The NJDOA informed Strauss Esmay Associates it intends to release a sample Policy when the NJDOA gets more guidance from the USDOA. In the meantime and after reviewing the vast amount of information on several Federal websites regarding HHFKA, Strauss Esmay has developed a new Wellness Policy Guide 8505 for districts to consider adopting until the NJDOA releases its sample Policy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates a local wellness policy must include, at a minimum: goals for nutrition promotion and education; goals for physical activity; nutrition guidelines; a mechanism for parent, school, and student involvement in updating the policy; and periodic measurement of policy compliance. The new Policy Guide includes these minimum requirements with required activities. The recommended activities in sections A.1, A.2, A.3, and A.4 of this Policy Guide were developed to not burden a school district or the food service department. A school district may eliminate, revise, or add to these activities to meet local needs. An important and required component of this Wellness Policy is the requirement that each school compile an Annual School Progress Report as part of the required periodic policy evaluation process. This Policy Guide was developed to be a district-wide Wellness Policy for each school in the district and includes requirements for all schools and individual school goals for each elementary, middle, and high school in the district. Each school is required to complete an Annual School Progress Report that is compiled into an Annual District Summary Progress Report, which becomes the basis for periodic evaluation of the district’s Policy. This option is less burdensome than having a Board adopt an individual Policy for each school in the district.
A Wellness Policy is mandated; therefore, it is recommended a school district adopt Policy Guide 8505 with an understanding that Strauss Esmay will provide an update to this Policy when the NJDOA releases its sample wellness policy, if needed. The district reviewed this Wellness Policy Guide with the food service management staff.
Other Policies Relevant to School Wellness and Practices
The Tabernacle School District's School Wellness Council takes into consideration all relevant policies pertaining to student health, nutrition, wellness, and safety. The following policies are pertinent to the practices adopted in the schools: