District Health and Wellness Policy

  • Policy Statement

    In order to grow, learn and thrive children need access to an environment that encourages the intake of healthful foods and participation in lifelong physical activity.

    Healthy eating and adequate physical activity will help students achieve good health and foster student attendance and learning.

    Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in New York State and throughout the nation. Recent studies have shown that at least 15% of children and adolescents are overweight and this rate has doubled over the last two decades.

    The Homer Central School District is committed to providing a school environment that promotes and protects staff and student’s health and well being by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of the Homer Central School District that:

    I. Health Advisory Committee

    The district Health Advisory Committee will review and update the district health and wellness policy annually. The Health Advisory Committee members will consist of community members, teachers, administrators, school health personnel, and others as deemed necessary by the committee chair.

    II. Nutritional Quality of food and Beverages Sold and Served on Campus

    School meals:

    - Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables
    - Serve only reduced-fat (2% or less) milk and nutritionally equivalent non-dairy alternatives.
    - Ensure that half of the offered grains are whole grain


    - Schools will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials or other means.

    Free and reduced school meals:

    - The district will, to the extent possible, remove any stigma involved with participating in this program.

    Meal times and scheduling:

    - Will, to the extent possible, provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 min after sitting down for lunch
    - To the extent possible buildings will schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g. lunch should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Students in the latest lunch period of the day will be allowed to eat healthy snacks earlier in the day when it is safe and appropriate and teacher permission is given.

    Qualifications of School Food Service Staff:

    - A qualified nutrition professional will oversee the school meal program.

    Foods and Beverages Sold Individually(i.e. sold outside of reimbursable school meals, such as through vending machines, a la carte [snack] items, fundraisers, school stores)


    - Allowed – Water, fruit and vegetable juices and fruit based drinks that contain at least 50% real fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; unflavored or flavored low-fat or fat free fluid milk and nutritionally equivalent nondairy beverages (to be defined by USDA)
    - Not allowed – soft drinks, fruit based drinks that contain less than 50% real fruit juice or that contain additional caloric sweeteners
    - If vending machines are present in staff rooms, during the 2006/2007 school year at least half of the liquid offerings will meet the guidelines set forth in this policy, 2007/2008 school year 75% of the offerings will meet the guidelines set forth in this policy and staring with the 2008/2009 school year 100% of the offerings will meet the guidelines set forth in this policy.
    Beverages must also meet the following requirements:
    • No more than 42gms of sugar per 20 oz.


    • food items sold individually and/or pre – packaged items:
    - will have no more than 7gms of total fat
    - will have no more than 10% of its calories from saturated and trans fat combined 
    - will have no more than 35% of its weight from added sugars
    - will contain no more than 360 mg of sodium per serving
    - A choice of at least two fruits and /or non – fried vegetables will be offered for sale at any location on the school site where foods are sold.

    Fundraising Activities:

    - To support children’s health and school nutrition education efforts Homer Central School District will encourage all school sponsored groups that do fundraising to use the guidelines set forth in this policy when choosing any fundraiser that involves food. All groups will offer at least one item from the guidelines along with their traditional offerings. Beginning with the 2007 school year this will be mandatory. 
    - Candy can not be sold as a fundraiser on school campus during the school day. 
    - Concessions sold at school events are required to have some of their offerings fall within the guidelines set forth in this policy. 
    - The district will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.
    - The district highly encourages fundraising activities that promote physical activity.


    • The district will disseminate a list of healthy snacks to teachers, after school program personnel and parents.


    • Schools are encouraged not to use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior and will not withhold food or beverages as punishment.


    • Schools should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. The district will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.

    III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

    Nutrition Education and Promotion

    Homer Central School District aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:
    • Is offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive standards-based program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
    • Is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
    • Includes enjoyable developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant participatory activities such as contests, taste testing, and school gardens;
    • Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products and healthy food preparation methods;
    • Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
    • Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing.

    Communications with Parents

    • The Homer Central School District will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their child. The district/school will send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school website, and disseminate other nutrition information as deemed necessary. 
    • Schools should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the nutrition standards set forth in this policy for individual foods and beverages.
    • The district/school will provide parents a list of foods that meet the district snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities.
    • The district/school will provide information about physical education and other school based physical activity opportunities before, during and after the school day; and support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school.

    Staff Wellness

    Homer Central School District highly values the health and well being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

    Physical Education K-12

    All students in grade K – 12, including students with disabilities, special health care needs and in alternative educational settings will receive regularly scheduled physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education teacher. Student’s involvement in other activities involving physical activity ( e.g. interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students will spend at least 50% of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

    V. Monitoring and Policy Review


    The Superintendent or designee will ensure compliance with established district wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. In each school, the principal or designee will ensure compliance with those policies in his/her school and will report on the school’s compliance to the school district superintendent or designee.

    School food service staff, at the school or district level, will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent or designee.

    The superintendent or designee will develop a summary report every three years on district wide compliance with the district’s established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from schools within the district. That report will be provided to the school board and also distributed to the health advisory committee, school/community associations, building principals and school health services personnel in the district.