Board of Education Policy 5661: Wellness

The Niskayuna Central School District is committed to providing a school environment that promotes and protects children’s health, well-being, and the ability to learn by fostering healthy eating and physical activity.

For purposes of this policy, “school campus” means all areas of district property accessible to students during the school day; “school day” means the period from the midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day; and “competitive food” means all food and beverages other than meals reimbursed under federal food programs available for sale to students on the school campus during the school day.

Goals to Promote Student Wellness

The District seeks to ensure all of its students obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to make nutritious food selections and enjoy the benefits of physical activity. To this end, the District sets forth the following goals relating to nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities.

Nutrition and School Meals

(A) Niskayuna recognizes the important connection between a healthy diet and a student’s ability to learn effectively. Therefore, school meals, menus, a la carte offerings, and snacks will include fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains, and low fat items at least to the extent required by federal regulations, and will integrate local food into the meals served to students whenever possible.

(B) Drinking fountains shall be accessible to students during meals and throughout the day.

(C) Nutrition guidelines for reimbursable school meals at the Elementary and Middle school level shall not be less restrictive than federal and state requirements.

(D) The district shall provide a clean and safe meal environment for all students, including those with food allergies. The district shall provide sufficient dining space, serving areas, as well as efficient food distribution methods so that students have adequate time to eat lunch.

Food and Beverages Available during the School Day

Food Service will provide all food and beverage sales to students in the cafeteria. 100% of all meals, a la carte food and snacks sold will meet the USDA Healthier Generation Alliance guidelines.

a.) Snacks- should make a positive contribution to the students’ diet and health. The Director of Food Service will provide a list of healthy snacks as a recommendation for teachers to distribute to parents annually.

b.) Classroom Events- involving food shall reflect the district’s policy of promoting healthy food choices and include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as observing current school allergy policies.

c.) Students Rewards- to the extent that rewards are used, the school district encourages appropriate non-food rewards and prohibits the use of any snack not compliant with the USDA Healthier Generation Alliance guidelines.

Fundraisers and School Events

(A) When food items are provided free of charge at fundraisers and school events on school campus and during the school day, nutritious choices shall be included. Fundraisers selling food or beverages to students on school campus during the school day must meet the competitive foods nutrition standards set in federal regulations for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, calories, fat, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, sodium, and caffeine.

(B) Fund-raising activities involving food on school campus during the school day need to promote the district’s/community’s recognition of the importance of a healthy diet and be consistent with school allergy policies currently in effect.

After School Events- Sporting Events, Concession Stands, School Dances, Music Programs, Art Exhibits, Extra Curricular Clubs

The District will endeavor to make healthy food alternatives available at school-sponsored events and activities held outside the school day to promote the district’s/ community’s recognition that a healthy diet is important to promote a healthy life.

Nutrition Education

(A) Nutrition education should be interactive and teach the skills that students need to adopt healthy eating behaviors, including the ability to understand and analyze food labels.

(B) Nutrition services shall be available to support classroom activities, upon faculty request.

(C) The district shall encourage connections between nutrition education with meal offerings when possible.

Health Education

(a) Healthy living skills shall be taught as part of the regular instructional program. The K-12 Health Education program, within a coordinated school health framework, shall provide the opportunity for all students to understand and practice concepts and skills related to health promotion and disease prevention.

(b) The district shall provide for a sequential, standards based, skills driven, student centered health education program based upon New York State Standards, and shall encourage interdisciplinary instruction.

Physical Education Program

The District will provide opportunities for every student to participate in physical education and to be involved in physical activities. In doing so, the District aims to promote among students the development of knowledge and skills for specific physical activities, the maintenance of physical fitness, regular participation in physical activity, and an understanding of the short-term and long-term benefits from a physically active and healthy lifestyle.

The District will ensure that the following standards are met to achieve its goals relative to physical education and physical activity:

1. The District will have a Board-approved Physical Education Plan on file with the New York State Education Department that meets or exceeds the requirements set forth in Section 135.4 of the Commissioner’s regulations.

2. The District recognizes the importance of physical education classes in providing students with meaningful opportunities for physical exercise and development. Consequently, the District will ensure:

(a) All physical education classes are taught or supervised by a certified physical education teacher;

(b) All physical education staff receive professional development on a yearly basis;

(c) It provides adequate space and equipment for physical education and conforms to all applicable safety standards;

(d) A sequential physical education course of study consistent with national standards for physical education is implemented, with a focus on students’ development of motor skills, movement forms, and health-related fitness;

(e) Offer cooperative physical education games and activities to 1.) allow participation for every skill level 2.) build skills of cooperation, sharing, compromise, and encouragement 3.) develop a sense of community.

3. All students will be required to fulfill the physical education requirements set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations as a condition of graduating from the District’s schools. All classroom teachers, and particularly those engaged in the instruction of K through 5 students, are strongly encouraged to incorporate into the school day short breaks for students that include, physical activity, especially after long sedentary periods. Additionally, all elementary students will be offered one daily period of recess for a minimum of twenty (20) minutes, with recess before lunch when possible. This requirement will not apply on days where students arrive late, leave early, or are otherwise on campus for less than a full day. Where weather and/or facilities allow, recess will be offered in a place that accommodates moderate to vigorous physical activity. The denial of student participation in recess or other physical activities during the school day as a form of discipline or for classroom make-up time is strongly discouraged.

Dissemination & Review

The District will post this policy and the associated administrative guidelines and regulation on the District’s website and make a copy of same available in each school building in the District.

The District designates the Director of K-12 Health, Physical Education and Athletics to ensure that each participating school complies with the District’s wellness policy. The District will annually inform and update the public about the content and implementation of the policy by posting this policy (and any updates) on the district website, referencing the policy and its availability on school publications and notices, and providing operations information about new and ongoing wellness policy activities to parents, staff and students via established communication channels.

The district will monitor and review the effectiveness of this policy toward meeting the ultimate goals required of this policy and by law, and shall modify the policy, when appropriate, in accordance with the results of any triennial assessments required by law. The District shall periodically, but not less than once every three years, measure and make available to the public an assessment on the implementation of the policy including: the extent to which schools within the District are in compliance with the school wellness policy; the extent to which the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies; and a description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.

In order to monitor and review the implementation and effectiveness of this policy, the district shall conduct:

  • Periodic informal surveys of Building Principals, classroom staff, and school health personnel to assess the progress of the wellness activities and their efforts;
  • Periodic checks of the nutritional content of food offered in the cafeteria for meals and a la carte items, and sales or consumption figures for such foods;
  • Periodic checks of the nutritional content of food available in vending machines, and sales or consumption figures for such foods;
  • Periodic checks of the amount of time spent in Physical Education classes and the nature of the activities of students in such classes;
  • Periodic checks of extracurricular activities involving physical activities, and the rate of student participation;
  • Periodic checks for student mastery of the nutrition education curriculum;
  • Periodic review of data collected by the district in furtherance of this policy;
  • Periodic survey of student/parent opinions of cafeteria offerings and wellness efforts.

The district shall comply with federal regulations regarding record keeping, including documentation regarding compliance with community involvement requirements, triennial assessment and demonstrating compliance with the public notification requirements.

Parents, students, food service professionals, physical education teachers, school health professionals, school administrators, the general public, and the school board shall be provided with the opportunity to participate in the development, implementation and periodic review and update of this wellness policy. To do this, the district shall invite participation via notices through communications channels, in school publications; on the district website; to interested persons and those with valuable expertise.

42 USC Section 1758 (b)
7 CFR Sections 210.10, 210.11, 210.31, 220.8
79 FR 10693
Education Law Section 915
8 NYCRR Section 135.4

Adopted Sept. 5, 2006 as Policy 0400 Wellness
Revised January 12, 2016 and Adopted as Policy 5661 Wellness
Revised December 11, 2018 and adopted as Wellness Policy
Revised September 10, 2019