Local Wellness Policy

The Local Wellness Policy Final Rule, published July 2016, requires all local educational agencies (LEA) that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to meet expanded local school wellness policy requirements consistent with the requirements set forth in section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act of 2010. These regulations are expected to result in local school wellness policies that strengthen the ability of a LEA to create a school nutrition environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn. In addition, these regulations will increase transparency for the public with regard to school wellness policies and contribute to integrity in the school nutrition program.

Local Wellness Policy: Guidance and Tools from ADE

April 26th, 2017 Recorded Webinar
For a printable version of the Local Wellness Policy webinar above, click here

Requirements for Local Wellness Policies USDA Local Wellness Policy Final Rule Summary

All local wellness policies, at a minimum, must include

  • Goals for
  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition promotion
  • Physical activity and
  • Other school-based activities that promote student wellness
  • Standards and nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages sold and served to students on the school campus, during the school day;
  • Policies for food and beverage marketing that allow marketing and advertising of only those foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards (by July 1, 2017)
  • Description of public involvement, public updates, policy leadership and evaluation plan

All LEAs must also:

  • Permit parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, teachers of physical education, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators and the general public to participate in the development, implementation, review and update of the LWP;
  • Inform and update the public (including parents, students and others in the community) about the content and implementation, and updating of LWP;
  • Assess compliance with the wellness policy requirements every 3 years to determine:
  • Compliance with the wellness policy (measuring implementation)
  • How the policy compares with model policies
  • Progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.
  • Maintain a copy of the current wellness policy, how assessments are made available to the public, the most recent assessment of implementation of the policy, and documentation of efforts to review and update the policy.

LEAs must comply with all the provisions of the final rule by June 30, 2017. This means all wellness policies should be updated to include all information listed here at some point during this school year. Be sure to meet with your School Health Advisory Council and other administrators to begin working on any revisions your policies may need to be compliant.

Establish measurable goals and clear policies

As part of the triennial assessment, LEAs must assess their progress toward achieving the goals and compliance with policies of the written local wellness policy. In order to do so, the goals and policies must be clear and measureable. This Activity and Assessment tool helps LEAs identify the activities they will focus on, and clearly describe the policies that will be implemented throughout the district.

Here are a few other tools to review as you are writing and revising your policy

Establishing a District Wellness Committee

LEAs are required to permit participation from various stakeholders in the community. Here are some tools to help you recruit stakeholders and build an effective District Wellness Committee.

Review current school environments

If you are just beginning the local wellness policy process, it is recommended that you review the current school health environment of all the schools in your district. This will help you understand your starting point and can help identify areas of opportunity for change. Keep in mind, these tools are meant to be used at each school, and the results can be compiled to give you an overall picture of the school health environment throughout the district.

The Final Rule requires all LEAs to complete a triennial assessment of the progress made toward achieving the goals of the local wellness poilcy, as well as compliance with the established policies at least once evey three years. They must also compare the district’s policy with model policies, and both assessments must be made available to the public. ADE has developed tools to create a framework for these assessments to help LEAs meet these requirements.

Progress toward goals and compliance with policies

ADE’s Activity and Assessment tool helps LEAs identify the activities they will focus on, and clearly describe the policies that will be implemented throughout the district. The tool should be used when initially writing the policy, as well as each year to monitor interim progress and guide necessary updates. LEAs can modify this tool as needed to reflect the aspirations of the District Wellness Committee.

Comparison with model policies

This tool is intended to help LEAs compare their local wellness policy with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Model Wellness Policy. The intent of this comparison process is to determine the areas in which the LEA’s policy already aligns with the model, as well as areas that could benefit from revisions in future years. This is not intended to provide a grade or rating, nor is it meant to provide a pass/fail outcome.

Once these tools are completed, the results should be distributed using the district communication methods. The results can be formatted however is most appropriate for each district.