AYA Wellness Policy
A STRATEGIC PLAN ON WELLNESS POLICIES FOR NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES 2023-2024
K-12 educational institutions have a great responsibility to provide the highest possible quality of life to both students and staff. As such, the K-12 campus shall provide access to a healthy selection of foods and opportunities to be physically active. As these activities become entrenched within the school’s calendar, a great effort shall be made by all parties involved to encourage a healthy lifestyle which will promote an effective educational experience in a positive environment.
This policy outlines the School approach to ensuring environments and opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions. Specifically, this policy establishes goals and procedures to ensure that:
- Students in the School have access to healthy foods throughout the school day—both through reimbursable school meals and other foods available throughout the school campus—in accordance with Federal and state nutrition standards;
- Students receive quality nutrition education that helps them develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors;
- Students have opportunities to be physically active before, during, and after school;
- Schools engage in nutrition and physical activity promotion and other activities that promote student wellness;
- School staff are encouraged and supported to practice healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors in and out of school;
- The community is engaged in supporting the work of the School in creating continuity between school and other settings for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits.
AYA’s wellness policies are supported by objectives and goals that do not contradict in any shape or form the aforementioned vision. There are four main objectives that constitute the wellness policy:
- Formation of a School Wellness Council
- Determination of the quality of foods and beverages sold on school campus
- Promotion of sound nutritional habits and frequent safe physical activities
- Development of a rigorous physical education program
Formation of a School Wellness Council:
American Youth Academy will create a School Wellness Council to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The council also will serve as a resource to the school for implementing those policies. The School Wellness Council will be led by the head of school and/ or principal and may include a group of individuals representing the school community: parents, students, and representatives of the school food preparers, members of the school board, school administrators, teachers, and health professionals.
Evaluation of the quality of foods and beverages sold on school campus
AYA parents have the option of sending lunch to school with their children or purchasing lunch through the school lunch program. Students who meet eligibility criteria will be able to receive free lunch. Meals served at AYA will:
- Be appealing and attractive to children;
- Be served in clean and pleasant settings;
- Offer a balanced menu that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables;
- Serve low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk.
- Limit foods and beverages containing artificial flavoring, hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals used as preservatives.
Meal Times and Scheduling: American Youth Academy
- Will provide students with at least 20 minutes of eating time.
- Will schedule meal periods at appropriate times, between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm.
- Will schedule recess/PE periods to follow lunch periods (in elementary schools).
- Will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks by providing hand sanitizers and/or access to the bathroom facilities’ sinks.
Sharing of Foods and Beverages.
The American Youth Academy will discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.
General nutrition requirements for competitive foods:
* Be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight or have a whole grain as the first ingredient; or
* Have as the first ingredient one of the non-grain major food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein foods (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.); or
* Be a combination food that contains 1⁄4 cup of fruit and/or vegetable.
* If water is the first ingredient, the second ingredient must be one of the above.
*Any entrée item offered as part of the breakfast or lunch program is exempt if it is served as a competitive food on the day of service or the day after service in the breakfast or lunch program.
* Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables with no added ingredients, except water.
* Canned fruits with no added ingredients except water, which are packed in 100 percent juice, extra light syrup or light syrup.
* Low sodium/No salt added canned vegetables with no added fats.
* Reduced fat cheese, nuts, seeds and nut/seed butters, as well as seafood and whole eggs with no added fat are exempt from the total fat and saturated fat standards.
Nutrition standards for beverages:
Portion sizes listed are the maximum that can be offered.
Fundraising Activities: To support children’s health and school nutrition-education efforts, school fundraising activities such as bake sales will follow all the Smart Snacks in School Nutrition Standards.
School-Sponsored Events: Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events should meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (see above).
Note: (All sales for fundraising activities and School sponsored events can only be made thirty (30) minutes before or thirty (30) minutes after the last designated meal service period.
The Cafeteria Manager must approve all food items, beverage and snacks sales offered to the students in the school campus through the school operating hours including fundraisers.
Non Sold Food: The free Food and Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Schools will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages, and other considerations. Teachers may prohibit a student from ingesting snacks that are wholly sugar and have no nutritional value. Such action shall require a note to the parents of the student.
Celebrations: Classes will limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per semester. Each party should include non-sugar items in proportion to that of desserts. If the party only offers snacks and desserts at the time of the party, it should be after their lunch time for the class planning the party.
Nutrition Education and Promotion: American Youth Academy aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating habits by students. Students will receive a nutritional education and engage in a nutritional 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 healthy educational classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social studies and elective subjects using a theme based, integrative approach;
- Includes enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relevant activities, such as cultural food days;
- Promotes fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, low fat and fat free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods and health enhancing nutrition practices.
- Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise.)
- Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing and;
- Includes training for teachers and other staff.
Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting: For students to receive the nationally recommended amount of physical activity and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class.
As a result, the following are guidelines for integrating different activities in the pre-K through 5th grade classes:
- Classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
- Opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons such as morning exercise (yoga, breathing techniques, and stretching) and recess (at least 20 minutes per day).
- Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.
AYA will attempt to secure funding for physical activity for the benefit of the students and the community at large.
Communications with Parents: AYA will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. AYA will offer a healthy eating seminar for parents as part of a year-long educational program, send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school websites, and provide a nutrient analysis of school menus. AYA will encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutritional standards for individual foods and beverages. AYA will provide parents with a list of foods that meet the school’s snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities.
AYA 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. Such support includes sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a website, newsletter, or other take home materials, special events, or physical education homework
Food Marketing in Schools: School-based marketing will be consistent with nutritional education and healthy promotions. As such, the school will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages.
Staff Wellness: AYA 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. The wellness committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school health council annually.
Physical Education Program:
Daily Physical Education (P.E.) PK-12: All students in grades PK-12, including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 150 minutes/week for elementary school students and the equivalent of ½ credit for middle and high school students) each school year. Student 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 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity).
Daily Recess: All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which schools should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment
Teachers will discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, AYA shall give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.
Physical Activity Opportunities after School: The American Youth Academy will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs or intramural programs and sports activities offered by off campus professional programs.
After-school child care and enrichment programs will provide and encourage – verbally and through the provision of space, equipment, and activities – daily periods of moderate to vigorous physical activity for all participants.
Use of School Facilities outside of School Hours: School spaces and facilities should be available to students, staff, and community members before, during, and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacations. These spaces and facilities also should be available to community agencies and organizations offering physical activity and nutrition programs. School policies concerning safety will apply at all times. Students must be in the company of a sponsoring adult or teacher at all times on campus.
The American Youth Academy’s Wellness Policy shall be approved by the Board of Trustees and shall have, in place, methods for evaluating the level of implementation of the policy and the level of effectiveness of the policy on the school’s population.
Evaluating Level of Implementation
It shall be the responsibility of the School Wellness Council under supervision of the Principal and Assistant Principal to ensure proper implementation of the Wellness Policy. This shall be accomplished by:
- Overseeing weekly and monthly orders of food items to be served and sold to students;
- Visiting the Cafeteria on a regular basis and observing students’ purchases and consumption. This shall be done by random sampling and the results will be documented.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Date Reviewed: 10/19/2023
Samah Bkhitan Head of the school
Cafeteria Manager Oraib Asad
Nabil Salah Athletic Director