Wellness Policy for Crossroads Academy

 2021-2022 School Year

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Preamble

  2. School Wellness Committee

  3. Wellness Policy Implementation, Monitoring, Accountability, and Community Engagement

  4. Nutrition

  5. Physical Activity

  6. Additional ideas which Promote Student High Level Wellness

 

 Wellness Policy

(Note: This “Basic” level wellness policy meets the minimum Federal standards for local school wellness policy implementation under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program “Bronze”-level recognition criteria, and minimum best practice standards accepted in the education and public health fields. When possible, our school is able to establish a stronger policy that meets the Healthy Schools Program “Silver” or “Gold” levels. Our school uses language that meets and supports growth over time.)

 

I. Preamble

Crossroads Academy is committed to the optimal development of every student. We believe that all students have the opportunity to achieve personal, academic, developmental, and social success. Therefore, we create a positive and safe environment which promotes high level wellness at every level throughout the school year.

Research demonstrates that good nutrition and physical activity before, during, and after school are strongly associated with being advantageous to the students. For example, eating a well-balanced breakfast is correlated with higher grades, and test scores, and better performance on cognitive tasks. Less than adequate consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products is associated with lower grades among these students. (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) In addition, students who are physically active throughout the day (recess, physical activity breaks, high-quality physical education and extracurricular activities), perform better academically. (11,12, 13, 14) Furthermore, current research indicates that there is an association between higher cognitive function and adequate hydration. (15,16,17)

Our Schools outline the environment and opportunities for all students to participate in healthy eating and physical activity throughout the school day. Our current school policy goals will enable the following:

  1. 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 in compliance with Federal and State nutrition standards.

  2. Students receive proper nutrition education that enables them to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

  3. Students have the opportunity to be physically active prior to, during school, and after school.

  4. Our school staff promote good nutrition and physical activity in order for the students to achieve high level wellness.

  5. Education material is provided to parents about adequate nutrition and exercise.

  6. Our schools establish and maintain quality record-keeping for implementation and monitoring its current goals and objectives for all of the students. 

 

 

 

 

II. School Wellness Committee:

Our school wellness committee will meet four times a year to establish goals for overseeing school health and safety policy and programs, including development, implementation and periodic review and update of the school wellness policy. Our membership will represent all school levels, elementary and secondary schools, as well as our special needs program. Membership will include: School director, physical education teacher, health educators, school nurse, and other allied health professionals working in the school, including psychologists, social workers, school counselors, and parents.

 

LeadershipThe Director will facilitate development and updates to the wellness policy, and will help to ensure compliance of the policy.

 

Name                             Title                     e-mail address                                    Role on Committee

 

Stephanie Samman       PE Instructor       ssammon@learningcenternj.org           Assist in  implementation and eval. of wellness policy     

                                                                                                                                             

Dr. Gary   Pignatello         Director             gpignatello.crossroads@gmail.com       Assists in implementation and evaluation of wellness policy

                       

 

Judy Garelick, RN                Nurse              jgarelick@learningcenternj.org                  Assists in implementation and evaluation of wellness policy.

                                                          

 

II. Wellness Policy Implementation, Monitoring, Accountability, and Community Engagement

Implementation Plan:

The school plan delineates roles, responsibilities, actions and deadlines specific to each school, and includes information about who will be responsible to make changes, by what degree, when and where; as well as specific goals and objectives for nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available at the school, food and beverage marketing, nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, physical education and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. It is recommended that the school use the “Healthy Schools Program online tools” to complete a school-level assessment based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Index, and create an action plan that generates implementation and create an annual progress report.

 

 

Recordkeeping:

Our schools will retain records to document compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy at 199 Scoles Ave, Clifton, New Jersey, 07012. Documentation maintained in this location will include but will not be limited to:

  1. The written wellness policy including updated Covid-19 Protocols

  2. Documentation demonstrating that the policy is available to the public.

  3. Documentation of efforts to review and update the wellness policy.

  4. Documentation to demonstrate compliance with the annual public notification requirements.

  5. The most recent assessment on the implementation of the school wellness policy.

  6. Documentation demonstrating the most recent assessment of the implementation of school wellness policy.

 

Annual Notification of Policy:

The school will inform families and the public each year of basic information about this policy, including content, and updates to the policy and implementation status. The school will make this information available via the school website and via e-mails. This will include a summary of the school’s events and activities related to the wellness policy. Annually, the school will also publicize the name and contact information of the school officials leading and coordinating the committee, as well as information on how parents can become involved in the school wellness committee.

Due to the Covid -19 Pandemic, all staff and students entering the building premises will be screened by the school nurse or by a qualified staff person, observing that the child and or staff member is generally healthy and feeling well, no stomach upset, no coughing or respiratory problems, no rhinitis, or general eye infection such as conjunctivitis. Anyone who appears ill will be sent home, and will be required to see their doctor in order to discern whether or not a Covid test is needed for reentry. If a child or staff member becomes ill with Covid or has had a direct contact with a Covid positive individual, he or she will be required to stay home for 14 days (isolation period). Any cluster outbreaks of Covid 19 will be reported to the school Director as well as the Clifton Health Department and appropriate action will be taken. Communication will be encouraged between the school nurse, the teachers and therapists, and the parents.

 A Covid-19 Questionnaire Form and a Covid Liability waiver was given to all parents and or guardians to sign. Also, all children (except those in preschool and kindergarten) as well as staff members, will be required to wear a face mask throughout the school day. Additional protective gowns, gloves, and face shields will also be provided for staff members working with medically challenged individuals. In addition, a three feet distance (1 meter) will be maintained by all students in the classroom as well as during physical activity such as Gym. Hand sanitizer will be readily available in the classrooms. Also, children will be encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Furthermore, all classrooms, staff and student lockers, will be thoroughly cleaned with an approved CDC antiseptic cleaner at the end of the school day. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the school providing for easy access for everyone in the building. 

 

Triennial Progress Assessments:

 

At least once every three years, the School will evaluate compliance with the wellness policy to assess the implementation of the policy and include:

  1. The extent to which the school is in compliance with the wellness policy

  2. The extent to which the school’s wellness policy compares to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s model wellness policy.

  3. A description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the School’s wellness policy.

The position/persons responsible for managing the triennial assessment and contact information is: Dr. Gary Pignatello, Principal of Crossroads School. Modification of the wellness policy will occur based on the results of the annual School Health Index and triennial assessments and/or as School priorities change; community needs change; wellness goals are met; new health science information, and technology emerges; and new Federal or State guidance or standards are issued. The wellness policy will be assessed and updated as indicated at least every three years, following the Triennial assessment. The parents of these schools will be updated to the wellness policy annually, as well as the triennial report results.

 

 

 

School meals:

 

Our schools are committed to serving healthy meals to children, with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; that are moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat, and have zero grams of trans fat per serving (nutrition label or manufacturer’s specification); meeting the  nutritional needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal programs aim to improve the diet and health of school children, help prevent childhood obesity, promote strong bone development of children, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating habits, and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences, religious requirements, and specific dietary needs. All food comes to school already prepared and individually wrapped for each student, allowing for the strictest sanitary precautions. No food is prepared at school.

Our school participate in the USDA child nutrition program, which includes the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This program is accessible to all students, meals are appealing and attractive to children, and are served in a clean and pleasant setting. Our school lunch program currently meets or exceeds the current nutritional requirements established by local, state, and Federal statutes and regulations. (The District offers reimbursable school meals that meet USDA nutrition standards.)

  1. Promote healthy food and beverage choices using the following “Smarter Lunchroom Techniques”:

  1. Whole fruit options are displayed in attractive bowls 

  2. All available vegetable options have been given creative or descriptive names.

  3. White milk is placed in front of other beverages in all coolers.

  4. Student surveys and taste testing opportunities are used to inform menu development, dining space décor and promotional ideas.

  5. Student artwork is displayed in the service and/or dining areas.

 

 

Staff Qualifications and Professional Development: 

 

All school nutrition program directors, managers and staff will meet or exceed hiring and annual continuing education/training requirements in the USDA professional standards for child nutrition professionals. These school nutrition personnel will refer to USDA’s Professional Standards for School Nutrition Standards website to search for training that meet their learning needs.

Water: To promote hydration, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students throughout the school day. The school will make drinking water available where school meals are served.

Competitive Foods and Beverages:

The schools are committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students during the day support healthy eating. A summary of the standards and information, as well as a Guide to Smart Snacks in Schools are available at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/tools-schools-smart-snacks. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides a set of tools to assist with implementation of Smart Snacks available at www.foodplanner.healthiergeneration.org. Our schools do not have vending machines.

 

Celebrations and Rewards:

All foods offered at the schools will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snack in School nutrition standards including:

  1. Celebrations and parties. The school will provide a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers, including non-food celebration ideas. Healthy party ideas are available from the Alliance for a Healthier generation and the USDA.

  2. Classroom snacks brought by parents. The school will provide to parents a list of foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks nutrition standards.

  3. Rewards and incentives: The school will provide teachers and other relevant school staff a list of alternative ways to reward children. Foods and beverages will not be used as a reward, or withheld as punishment for any reason, such as for performance or behavior.

 

Fundraising:

The school will make available to parents and teachers a list of healthy fundraising ideas (examples from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the USDA).

 

Nutritional Education:

The school will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating by all students. Schools will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  1. Is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health.

  2. Is part of not only health education classes, but also integrated into other classroom instruction through subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subject.

  3. Includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant and participatory activities, such as cooking demonstrations or lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits and school gardens.

  4. Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain product, low-fat and fat-free dairy products and healthy food preparation methods.

  5. Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (Promotes physical activity/exercise).

  6. Links with school meal programs, other school foods and nutrition-related community services.

  7. Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food and beverage marketing.

  8. Includes nutrition education training for teachers and other staff.

 

 

Essential Healthy Eating Topics in Health Education:

The school will include in the health education curriculum a minimum of 12 of the following essential topics on healthy eating:

  1. Relationship between healthy eating and personal health and disease prevention.

  2. Food guidance from “My Plate”.

  3. Reading and using FDA’s nutrition fact labels

  4. Eating a variety of foods every day

  5. Balancing food intake and physical activity

  6. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.

  7. Choosing foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and do not contain trans- fat.

  8. Choosing foods and beverages with little added sugars.

  9. Eating more calcium-rich foods

  10. Preparing healthy meals and snacks.

  11. Risks of unhealthy weight control practices.

  12. Food safety

  13. Importance of water consumption.

  14. Importance of eating breakfast.

  15. Making healthy choices when eating at restaurants.

  16. Eating disorders

  17. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans

  18. Reducing sodium intake

  19. Social influences on healthy eating, including media, family, peers and culture.

  20. How to find valid information or services related to nutrition and dietary behavior.

  21. How to develop a plan and track progress toward achieving a personal goal to eat healthfully.

  22. Resisting peer pressure related to unhealthy dietary behavior.

  23. Influencing, supporting, or advocating for others’ healthy dietary behavior.

 

 

Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools:

The school will only permit advertising and marketing for those foods and beverages that are permitted to be sold at school, consistent with the school’s wellness policy. Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students at school during the school day will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.

 

Physical Activity:

Children and adolescents should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity can be provided through a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP). A CSPAP reflects strong coordination and synergy across all the components: quality physical education as the foundation; physical activity before, during and after school; staff involvement and family and community engagement; and the school is committed to providing these opportunities. Schools will ensure that these varied physical activity opportunities are in addition to, and not as a substitute for, physical education (addressed in “Physical Education” subsection). Our schools will be encouraged to participate in Let’s Move! Active Schools(www.letsmoveschools.org) in order to successfully address all CSPAP areas.

Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, classroom physical activity breaks or physical education) will not be withheld as a punishment for any reason. The school will provide teachers and other school staff with a list of ideas for alternative ways to discipline students.

The school will ensure that its grounds and facilities are safe and that equipment is available to students to be active. It will also conduct necessary inspections and repairs.

 

Physical Education:

The school will provide students with physical education, using an age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education. The physical education curriculum will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits, as well as incorporate essential health education concepts (discussed in the “Essential Physical Activity Topics in Health Education” subsection). The curriculum will support the essential components of physical education.

All students will be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes. The school will make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and will adapt physical education classes and equipment as necessary.

All school elementary students in each grade will receive physical education for at least 69-89 minutes per week throughout the school year.

The school physical education program will promote student physical fitness through individualized fitness and activity assessments (via the Presidential Youth Fitness Program or other appropriate assessment tool) and will use criterion-based reporting for each student.

 

Essential Physical Activity Topics in Health Education:

Health education will be required in all grades (elementary). The school will include in the health education curriculum a minimum of 12 of the following essential topics on physical activity:

  1. The physical, psychological, or social benefits of physical activity.

  2. How physical activity can contribute to a healthy weight.

  3. How physical activity can contribute to the academic learning process.

  4. How an inactive lifestyle contributes to chronic disease.

  5. Health-related fitness, that is, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.

  6. Differences between physical activity, exercise and fitness.

  7. Phases of an exercise session, that is, warm up, workout and cool-down.

  8. Overcoming barriers to physical activity.

  9. Decreasing sedentary activities, such as TV watching.

  10. Opportunities for physical activity in the community.

  11. Preventing injury during physical activity.

  12. Weather-related safety, for example, avoiding heat stroke, hypothermia and sunburn while being physically active.

  13. How much physical activity is enough, that is, determining frequency, intensity, time and type of physical activity.

  14. Developing an individualized physical activity and fitness plan.

  15. Monitoring progress toward reaching goals in an individualized physical activity plan.

  16. Dangers of using performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids.

  17. Social influences on physical activity, including media, family, peers, and culture.

  18. How to find valid information or services related to physical activity and fitness.

  19. How to influence, support, or advocate for others in physical activity.

  20. How to resist peer pressure that discourages physical activity.

 

Recess (Elementary):

All elementary schools will offer at least 20 minutes of recess on all days during the school year. If recess is offered before lunch, schools will have appropriate hand-washing facilities and/or hand-sanitizing devices located just inside/outside the cafeteria to ensure proper hygiene prior to eating and students are required to use these devices before eating. Hand-washing time, as well as time to put away coats/hats/gloves, will be built in to the recess transition period/timeframe before students enter the cafeteria.

Outdoor recess will be offered when weather is feasible for outdoor play. In the event that the school must conduct indoor recess, teachers and staff will follow the indoor recess guidelines that promote physical activity for students, to the extent practicable. Recess will complement, not substitute, physical education class. Recess monitors or teachers will encourage students to be active, and will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever possible. Social distancing, 6 feet from each other, in order to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Masks are worn daily by both students and staff. Handwashing and or the use of hand sanitizer is encouraged as needed throughout the day.

 

Classroom Physical Activity Breaks (Elementary and Secondary):

Students will be offered periodic opportunities to be active or to stretch throughout the day on all or most days during a typical school week. The school recommends that teachers provide short (3-5 minutes) physical activity breaks to students during and between classroom time at least three days per week. These physical activity breaks will complement, not substitute for physical education class, recess, and class transition periods. The school will provide resources and links to resources, tools, and technology with ideas for classroom physical activity breaks. See USDA and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

 

 

 

Active Academics:

Teachers will incorporate movement and kinesthetic learning approaches into “core” subject instruction when possible (example: science, math, language arts, social studies, and others) and do their part to limit sedentary behavior during the school day.

The school will support classroom teachers incorporating physical activity and employing kinesthetic learning approaches into core subjects by providing annual professional development opportunities and resources, including information on leading activities, activity options, as well as making available background material on the connections between learning and movement.

Teachers will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever possible.

 

Before and After School Activities:

The school will offer opportunities for students to participate in physical activity either before and/or after the school day (or both) through a variety of ways. The school will encourage students to be physically active before school and after school by the following suggestions:

  1. Promote activities such as participation in International Walk to School Week, National Walk and Bike to School Week.

  2. Instruction on walking/bicycling safety provided to students.

  3. Use crossing guards.

  4. Use crosswalks on streets leading to schools.

  5. Use walking school buses.

  6. Create and distribute maps of school environment (example: sidewalks, crosswalks, roads, pathways, bike racks, etc.)

 

 

Other Activities that promote Student Wellness:

The school will integrate wellness activities across the entire school setting, not just in the cafeteria, other food and beverage venues and physical activity facilities. The school will coordinate and integrate other initiatives related to physical activity, physical education, nutrition and other wellness components so all efforts are complementary, not duplicative, and work towards the same set of goals and objectives, promoting student well-being, optimal development, ad strong educational outcomes.

Schools are encouraged to coordinate content across curricular areas that promote student health, such as teaching nutrition concepts in mathematics, with consultation provided by school professionals.

 

Community Partnerships:

The school will develop relationships with community partners (example: hospitals, universities/colleges, and local businesses). Existing and new community partnerships and sponsorships will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with the wellness policy and its goals.

 

Community Health Promotion and Family Engagement:

The school will promote to parents/caregivers, families, and the general community the benefits of and approaches for healthy eating and physical activity throughout the school year. Families will be informed and invited to participate in school-sponsored activities and will receive information about health promotion efforts.

 

Professional Learning:

When possible, the school will offer annual professional learning opportunities and resources for staff to increase knowledge and skills about promoting healthy behaviors in the classroom and in school (example: increasing the use of kinesthetic teaching approaches or incorporating nutrition lessons into math class). Professional learning will help staff understand the connections between academics and health, and the ways in which health and wellness are integrated into ongoing district reform or academic improvement plans/efforts. All staff members have recently attended CPR & AED & First Aid training and are currently certified in these areas. In addition, many of our staff members have been trained and are now certified in Narcan administration.

If you have any questions about the results of our most recent assessment, please contact Gary Pignatello at 973-478-4866 ext. 103