Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs) and school districts to promote student wellness, prevent and reduce childhood obesity, and provide assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum Federal school meal standards. Since the beginning of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265), The School District of Palm Beach County has emphasized ongoing implementation and assessment of its “Local Wellness Policy” also called the “Wellness Promotion Policy (2.035)”.
The Wellness Promotion Task Force continuously expands its’ team of internal and community collaborators by fostering a broad-based support and enhancing the goals set forward by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296). The Act of 2010 requires The School District of Palm Beach County to inform and update the public (including parents, staff, students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of this policy. Here are a few tools that were used during the 2011-2012 school year to develop, implement, disseminate, and assess the effectiveness of the Wellness Promotion Policy in the District and community.
The Wellness Promotion Task Force (WPTF) creates a forum for the district and community partners to collaborate in promoting healthier lives. The goal of improving student performance can only be reached by encouraging a proactive approach to holistically address the health, wellness, and safety for all school children and staff, parents and the community. The Task Force is a coalition that is instrumental in promoting wellness and fulfilling the requirements under Public Law 111-296. There are five formal Task Force meetings during the school year to discuss current wellness events, showcase wellness efforts and introduce new ideas and topics to everyone. In the 2011-2012 school year due to attendees feedback, we changed two Wellness Promotion Task Force morning meetings to the afternoon (December 8, 2011 and May 10, 2012) to allow access to more individuals that were unable to attend in the morning such as: students, teachers, parents etc. Also, we converted the traditional December WPTF meeting into a “Wellness Celebration” to give token of gratitude to individuals that have worked diligently through this school year in numerous wellness initiatives.
The Task Force meetings were surveyed and results of all five meetings
were compiled for future assessment and direction of this Task Force.
The new Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296) requires the District to periodically measure and compare their established policy against other model local school wellness policies. The Florida Healthy District Coordinated School Health website has put together a Florida School District Profiles web page showing The School District of Palm Beach County as a Gold District (2012-2014) and compares other Best Practices. The School District of Palm Beach County is an active member of the Healthy District Collaborative (HDC). The HDC is a group of districts that have made a high level commitment to meeting the health needs of students and staff in order to remove barriers to learning and maximize district resources.