Policy 4321.1 establishes standards and recommendations to ensure school environments that promote optimal nutrition for students. The Policy revisions are the result of several recommendations that were adopted by the State Board.
In May, the West Virginia Board of Education made the following recommendations regarding school nutrition:
1. Nutritious, low-fat and appealing foods and beverages, such as fruits and fruit juices, vegetables, dairy products, and whole-grain items, should be available wherever and whenever food is sold or otherwise offered at school.
2. Policies should require any school that sells soft drinks to also sell and make equally accessible water and fruit beverages, and recommend that milk also be available.
3. Times when foods are made available to students should be limited. Except for food and meals provided by school nutrition programs, state policies should be strengthened to prohibit the sale of all other foods and beverages from the beginning of the school day until after the last lunch period.
5. Exclusive soft drink contracts that include incentives tied to sales quotas or consumption levels should be discouraged or prohibited. County school systems are responsible for contracts.
6. County boards of education should establish policies or procedures to determine boundaries and restrictions to ensure that commercial advertising for foods and other items marketed to students is consistent with identified educational goals. Such policies should be evaluated for education effectiveness by the school or county on an ongoing basis.
The six recommendations were based on a survey conducted by the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition. All 55 counties were posed with questions regarding contracts with vendors and the level of vending machine monitoring.
Proposed revisions to Policy 4321.1 require that schools selling soft drinks also make available and accessible nutritious beverage choices. Further, revisions recommend that anytime food is sold on school premises such sales include some nutritious foods and/or beverages. These revisions also limit times elementary schools may sell snacks to students.
Eating and staying healthy is such an important ingredient for a recipe for academic achievement. The WVDE started its own healthy child initiative called Recipe for Success last year by encouraging more physical activities everyday. Recipe for Success calls for children and parents, alike, to perform activities such as walking to school, if possible, taking the stairs, and eating healthier.
Studies have shown the healthier a child’s body is, the healthier his or her mind. If students eat healthy and stay in good physical condition, they will learn more and will receive high scores not only on the WESTEST, but also on all exams in all subjects.
Policy 4321.1 will remain out on comment for 30 days. School administrators and parents are encouraged to review the document and make suggestions on improving the policy. You can find Policy 4321.1 by logging onto http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/