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Wellness Policy
Wellness Policy

Committee Members:

The following committee members are involved in the development of this Policy and its implementation throughout the school year.
  • Parent(s): Kelly Padron, Veronica Garcia, Angelika Claro, Crystal Gagne, Yamely Rayon, Arlen Robles, Maria Canaca, Erika Arbulu, Cristine Grullon, Michelle Detrinidad
  • Student(s): Brenda Arias, Liam Desalle,
  • School Nutrition(s): Javier Mora, Yusleyi Cardoso, and Lourdes Isla-Marrero
  • School board(s): Cesar Christian Crousillant, and Idalia Suarez
  • School administrator(s): Eileen Hernandez, Elizabeth Poveda, Olga Camarena, Sheila Gonzalez, Teresa Santalo, Gil Lora, Ileana Melian, Eddie Gorriz, Jenny Aguirre, Pilar Fernandez, Helga Chalas, Jose Nunez, Beatriz Riera, Marisol Gomez, Cecilia Gil
  • Physical education: Aitor Muguruza, Miguel Chalas, and Eric Rodriguez, Dayami Perez, Wilmer Matos, Devin Aedo, and Leandro Gallegos,
  • Health education: Aitor Muguruza, Jessica Torres, and Anthony Gomez, Adam Fuertes, Stephen Gill, Jason Ocampo, Delmar Taylor, and Edward Gorriz,
  • Health professional: Yusleysi Cardoso, and Michelle Marin,
  • General public: Estela Sandoval, and Rosa Peramo


Preamble

Research suggests that there is a positive correlation between a student's health and well-being and his/her ability to learn. Mater Inc. recognizes that good nutrition and regular physical activity affect the health and well-being of all students. Mater Inc. is committed to providing nutritious meals through the schools' meal programs, supporting the development of good eating habits and promoting increased physical activity both in and out of school.


Physical Activity and Nutrition

Nutrition Education Goals

Nutrition. Academic performance and quality of life issues are affected by the choice and availability of good foods in our schools. Healthy foods support student physical growth, brain development, resistance to disease, emotional stability and ability to learn.
(a) Nutrition guidelines that require the use of products that are high in fiber, low in added fats, sugar and sodium, and served in appropriate portion sizes consistent with USDA standards shall be established for all foods offered by Mater Inc.’s Nutrition Services Department or contracted vendors. Menu and product selection shall utilize student, parent, staff and committee advisory groups whenever possible.
(b) Nutrition services policies and guidelines for reimbursable meals shall not be less restrictive than federal and state regulations require.
(c) Healthy food and beverage choices will be promoted using Smarter Lunchroom tools and techniques.
(d) All other foods and beverages sold during the school day will meet USDA nutrition standards.

Health Education and Life Skills. Healthy living skills will be taught as part of the regular instructional program and provides the opportunity for all students to understand and practice concepts and skills related to health promotion and disease prevention.
(a) The school shall provide for an interdisciplinary, sequential skill-based health education program based upon state standards and benchmarks.
(b) Students shall have access to valid and useful health information and health promotion products and services.
(c) Students shall have the opportunity to practice behaviors that enhance health and/or reduce health risks during the school day.
(d) Students shall be taught communication, goal setting and decision making skills that enhance personal, family and community health.

Nutrition Education:
(a) Nutrition benchmarks included in Florida’s Physical Education Standards will be taught during physical education classes and will be integrated into other subject areas, as appropriate.
(b) Nutrition education will be taught in the classroom as well as in the dining room.
(c) Staff will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating.
(d) Parents are encouraged to follow this Wellness Policy as guidance to providing a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school will send home nutrition information and will encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks. The school offers support by sharing nutritional information and educational material through the school website, newsletter, take-home materials and/or physical education homework.
Physical Activity Goals

A. Elementary
  c.1. Participation in physical activity on a regular basis. Students will participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity on a daily basis for a minimum of 30 minutes. Twice a week the students will receive formal physical education courses taught by a state-certified instructor. The student to teacher ratio is comparable to other curricular areas, and State developed standards are used.
  c.2. Participation in several physical activity programs throughout the school year for all elementary school students. Programs Activities include:
Recess
Jump Rope For Heart
Field Day
Fitness Gram
School Sports Program
Red Ribbon / Drug Free activity
Any additional activities___________________


B. Secondary
Students will participate and complete 80% of the activities provided below before the end of the school year.
1. Physical Education instruction shall be provided for Secondary students through formal physical education courses, taught by a state-certified instructor. The student to teacher ratio is comparable to other curricular areas, and State developed standards are used. Such instruction may also be provided through integration into other courses, regularly scheduled intramural activities, and/or regularly scheduled school-wide activities.
2. Participation in several physical activity programs throughout the school year for all secondary students. Program activities include:
Jump Rope For Heart
Field Day
Fitness Gram
School Sports Program
Red Ribbon / Drug Free activity
Any additional activities:____________________


Nutrition Standards for All Foods Available on School Campus during the School Day

Nutrition services policies and guidelines for reimbursable meals shall not be less restrictive than federal and state regulations require.

School Meals: Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program will:
1. Be appealing and attractive to children.
2. Be served in clean and pleasant setting.
3. Meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations.
4. Offer a variety of milk including fat free flavored milk and no more than 1% fat content.
5. Comply with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
6. Be baked, not fried.
7. Include more local fresh fruits and vegetables.
8. Include whole grain products.

Vending Machines
1. Vending machine snacks will meet USDA Smart Snacks standards.
2. Beverage vending machines where student meals are served or eaten shall include healthier options such as 100% fruit juice and water.
3. Beverage vending machines in secondary school sites shall include non-carbonated drinks with less than 150 calories per container and no more than 1/3rd of the choices shall be carbonated drinks.

Other Foods Items Provided or Sold on Campus
1. High energy drinks with elevated levels of caffeine will not be available for sale on school campus.
2. Healthy foods meeting Smart Snack standards will be encouraged at school events.
3. Non-food items will be encouraged for fundraisers.
4. The use of food and physical activity as punishment is prohibited.
5. Classroom parties or Celebrations will be after lunch and foods that meet Smart Snack Standards will be encouraged.
6. Competitive foods will comply will nutrition standards as required in 7CFR 210.11.
7. The School will accept bag lunches prepared from home but will not accept food and beverage drop-offs/deliveries that originate from outside eating establishments.

Goals for Other School-Based Activities
Designed to Promote Student Wellness

Mater, Inc. integrates wellness activities across the school setting. Mater, Inc. promotes increased participation in school based nutrition programs by making the participation and the return of the application a high priority. The school will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Mater Inc. promotes student well-being, optimal development and strong educational outcomes.
The school will:
(a) Promote the availability of the same meals to all students;
(b) Establish meal times consistent with Federal Regulations;
(c) Prohibit the withholding of food as punishment;
(d) Be in compliance with drug, alcohol and tobacco free policies;
(e) Maximize the reduction of waste by reducing, reusing and recycling; and,
(f) Encourage employees to engage in daily physical activity during the workday, such as walking around the school building either inside or outside, as part of work breaks and/or lunch periods, before or after work hours.

Teachers will not use identifiable brand names in their nutritional instruction unless they are found to be necessary to the lesson being taught and any commercial advertising on school campus will comply with the Smart Snacks in School Nutrition Standards. School personnel serve as nutrition educators and role models for healthy lifestyles. School staff is encouraged to model healthy eating by offering healthier choices at school meetings and events. School staff will:
(a) Encourage students to interact with family members on assignments & projects; and
(b) Create an environment where students, parents/guardian and staff members are accepted, respected and valued for their personal integrity.

For students to receive the nationally recommended amount of daily physical activity and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students will be provided with different opportunities for physical activity. Toward this end, the school will:
(a) Discourage sedentary activities, such as watching television; playing computer games, etc;
(b) Provide opportunities for physical activity to be incorporated into other subject lessons;
(c) Encourage classroom teachers to provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate;
(d) Promote school-based health & wellness activities for students; and,
(e) Provide information about wellness resources and services to assist in identifying and supporting the health, safety and well-being of students and staff.

Goals for Measurement and Evaluation

The Principal, or the principal’s designee; will monitor compliance with the established wellness policy by convening the Healthy School Team on a yearly basis. School Nutrition staff will monitor compliance with nutrition policies within the school food service area and will report on this matter to the Healthy School Team. In accordance with the NSLP, breakfast and lunch menus will be reviewed regularly to ensure USDA meal pattern compliance.

The Healthy School Team will ensure compliance with the policy, report on the school's compliance and recommend revisions as necessary, to the Mater Inc.’s Wellness Committee. Every three years, the Wellness Committee will conduct an assessment and make recommendations to the Governing Board at a scheduled governing board meeting. The governing board meeting is a public meeting as required by Ch.119 of the Florida Statutes, relating to public records. Notice is provided to the public prior to the meeting, giving the public an opportunity to review and offer input regarding the revisions. The most updated version of the wellness policy is always available on the school website for the public to view.

How well the policy is being managed and its effectiveness will be assessed every three years. Updates will be included based on the results of the annual and triennial reviews and as needs change. The evaluation process will address necessary changes to nutrition education, physical activity, other school-based activities and changes to the nutritional quality of foods available to students that have occurred as a result of the wellness policy and as a result of new information, new standards or new guidance.

The evaluation process will answer questions relating to whether the goals stated in the policy have been met. Basic questions that are important to policymakers, students, school staff, parents, and the general public will be addressed in the evaluation process. For example:
  • Did the school change to healthier food options?
  • Did participation in the Breakfast and/or Lunch Program change?
  • Did the school promote good eating habits and healthy food options?
  • Did the school provide students with opportunities to participate in a variety of physical activities?
  • Did the students have a different number of minutes of physical activity?
  • Did the school conduct student taste testing introducing healthier food items?
Assessments will be repeated every three years to review policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement.






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