Postville Community School District’s Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition


Whereas, children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive;

Whereas, good health fosters student attendance and education;

Whereas, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful school wellness policies;

Thus, the Postville Community School District is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s healthy, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of the Postville Community School District that:

The school district will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing district-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.

  • All students in grade K-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet the Healthy Kids Act Nutritional Content Standards and USDA Smart Snacks Standards.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, all schools in our district will participate in available federal school meal programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program [including after-school snacks], Summer Food Service Program, and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program).
  • Schools will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.


I. School Wellness Committee

The school district will develop, implement, monitor, review, and as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The committee also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies. A school wellness committee consists of a group of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, members of the school board, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, and members of the public and local agricultural community, including farmers, or representatives from farm organizations, farmers’ markets, agricultural industry or community organizations that work to promote local foods.

II. Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and Served on Campus

School Meals.

Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • be appealing and attractive to children;
  • be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • meet, at minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations and that are consistent with the Healthier U.S. School Challenge requirements;
  • offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (as defined by the USDA);
  • ensure that the majority of the served grains are whole grain;
  • offer free breakfast and free lunch to all students via the Community Eligibility Program;
  • prohibit restaurant-labeled food and carbonated beverages on school grounds.

The school district will engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys, in selecting foods sold through the school meal programs in order to identify new, healthful, and appealing food choices. In addition, the school district should share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. Such information could be made available on menus, the district’s website, on cafeteria menu boards, placards, or other point-of-purchase materials.

Food Procurement. The school district shall source locally grown or raised agricultural foods within 150 miles, including school-grown products (from school gardens) to the greatest extent possible. The school will make at least $10,000 in local food purchases each year with a goal of increasing the amount of money spent each consecutive year. Menus will be developed to compliment local growing seasons and availability of foods. The district encourages fresh, seasonal, locally grown food to be sold at every location on the school site where food is sold and at all school-sponsored events and activities.

Breakfast. To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • the school district will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breakfast Program;
  • the school district will, to the extent possible, arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve school breakfasts that encourage participation;
  • the school district will notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program;
  • the school district will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.

Free and Reduced-Priced Meals. The school district will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Toward this end, the district may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; provide meals at no charge to all children, regardless of income; and/or promote the availability of school meals to all students.

Summer Food Service Program. The school district will sponsor the Summer Food Service Program for at least six weeks between the last day of the academic school year and the first day of the following school year.

Meal Times and Scheduling. The district:

  • will provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch;
  • should schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.;
  • should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities;
  • will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and
  • should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).

Qualifications of School Food Service Staff. Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the school meal programs. As part of the school district’s responsibility to operate the food service program, we will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in schools. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, school nutrition managers, and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility.

Sharing of Foods and Beverages. The school district discourages 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.

Snacks. 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. The district will disseminate a list of healthful snack items to teachers, after-school program personnel, and parents.

Soft Drink/Energy Drink Policy. Soft drinks containing caloric sweeteners as well as beverages marketed as energy drinks are prohibited for sale and/or consumption, including those brought from home or purchased off of school grounds.

Access to Free Drinking Water. Safe, unflavored, drinking water is available throughout the school day at no cost to students. For example, students are allowed to bring filled water containers to class. Additionally, teachers should promote the consumption of water by encouraging students to bring water bottles to school.

Rewards. Schools will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages, as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment.

Celebrations. Celebrations that involve food during the school day are limited to no more than one party per class per month. Each party should include no more than one food or beverage that does not meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages. All foods and beverages will be prepackaged in order to eliminate safety concerns for students with allergies. The district will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.

Regarding Foods and Beverages Sold Individually (i.e., foods sold outside of reimbursable school meals, such as through vending machines, cafeteria a la carte [snack] lines, fundraisers, school stores, etc.) and Food Marketing

Per state and national guidelines, foods and beverages sold outside the reimbursable meal program (including those sold through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines and fundraising) during the school day must meet the Iowa Healthy Kids Act Nutritional Content Standards and the Healthy Hunger-Free Act of 2010 Smart Snack Standards.

Fundraising Activities. To support children’s health and school nutrition education efforts, school fundraising activities will not involve food or will use only foods that meet the above nutrition and portion size standards for foods and beverages sold individually. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.

School-sponsored Events (such as, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances). Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day will meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually. The district encourages the sale of fresh, seasonal, locally grown food at every location on the school site where food is sold and at all school-sponsored events and activities.

Food Marketing in Schools. School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. The school district will:

  • limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually;
  • prohibit school-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages;
  • promote healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products; and
  • market activities that promote healthful behaviors (and are therefore allowable) including: vending machine covers promoting water; pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines; sales of fruit for fundraisers; coupons for discount gym memberships; and extra recess.

Examples: Marketing techniques include the following: logos and brand names on/in vending machines, books or curricula, textbook covers, school supplies, scoreboards, school structures, and sports equipment; educational incentive programs that provide foods as a reward; programs that provide schools with supplies when families buy low-nutrition food products; in-school television; free samples or coupons; and food sales through fundraising activities.

III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion

Nutrition Education and Promotion. Postville Community School District aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition 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 health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
  • promotes fruits, 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 physical activity;
  • links with meal programs, other foods and nutrition-related community services; and,
  • teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and
  • includes training for teachers and other staff.

Food Safety. All foods made available on campus adhere to food safety and security guidelines.

  • All foods made available on campus comply with the state and local food safety and sanitation regulations. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans and guidelines are implemented to prevent food illness in schools.

  • For the safety and security of the food and facility, access to the food service operations are limited to child nutrition staff and authorized personnel.
  • Because of the particularly serious nature of peanut/tree nut allergies, students and staff are prohibited from bringing foods or beverages with either of these ingredients to school.

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting. For students to receive the nationally recommended amount of daily 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. Toward that end:

  • classroom education will teach the 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 multiple subject lessons; and
  • classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.

Communications with Parents. The district will support parents’ efforts to provide healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The district will:

  • send home nutrition information, provide information about school food and and fitness activities via the Food and Fitness webpage, school information flyers and school webpage;
  • encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the established nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages;
  • provide parents a list of foods that meet the school district’s snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards and fundraising activities;
  • provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during and after the school day;
  • support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school.

Staff Wellness. The school district 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. Each school should:

  • develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness developed by the staff wellness committee;
  • allocate time during professional development days to allow for wellness activities (i.e., guest speakers, how to integrate physical activity into the classroom, etc.)
  • base the plan on input solicited from employees and outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among employees.

IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

Physical Education. The school district will provide physical education that:

  • is for all students in grades K-12 for the entire school year;
  • is taught by a certified physical education teacher;
  • includes students with disabilities, students with special health-care needs may be provided in alternative educational settings: and,
  • engages students in moderate to vigorous activity during at least 50 percent of physical education class time.

Daily Recess. The elementary school provides recess for students that:

  • is at least 20 minutes a day;
  • is preferably outdoors;
  • encourages moderate to vigorous physically activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment; and,

When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools will give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active. Students in elementary school will not be seated in their classrooms for longer than 60 minutes at a time.

Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School. The district will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs or intramural programs. The district will offer a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including boys, girls, students with disabilities, and students with special health-care needs. 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.

Physical Activity and Punishment. Teachers and other school and community personnel will not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

Safe Routes to School. The school district will assess, and if necessary and to the extent possible, make needed improvements to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school. When appropriate, the district will work together with local public works, public safety, and/or police departments in those efforts. The school district will explore the availability of federal “safe routes to school” funds, administered by the state department of transportation, to finance such improvements.

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.

V. Farm to School

Objective The school will participate in the program designed to connect students and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.

Nutrition Education Farm to school programs can provide interactive, experiential education activities that can strengthen and reinforce nutrition education efforts.

  • Staff shall integrate experiential education activities—such as gardening, cooking demonstrations, farm and farmers’ market tours—into existing curricula at all grade levels.
  • Nutrition education messages from the classroom will be modeled in the cafeteria and across campus by offering locally grown food whenever possible within the school meals program as well as in a la carte sales, including vending machines.
  • The district shall establish a school garden of sufficient size to provide students with experiences in planting, harvesting, preparing, serving and tasting foods, to be integrated with nutrition education and core curriculum, and articulated with state standards.
  • School food service, in partnership with other school departments and community organizations, will work to creatively market and promote locally-produced food to students, through activities such as:
    • featuring food grown in the school garden in the cafeteria, through sampling and inclusion in school meals based upon availability and acceptability.
    • developing cafeteria themes relating to local farmers and products grown in the region.
    • hosting farmers in the cafeteria and classroom.
    • developing creative campus fundraisers based on healthy food items, integrating farm grown produce where appropriate.

Physical Activity The district recognizes that school gardens and farm visits can offer physical activity opportunities, as well as agricultural education, by engaging students in activities such as planting, harvesting and weeding. Teachers and students are encouraged to take advantage of these physical activity opportunities during the school day as well as through field trips and after-school activities.

Evaluation An annual review will be conducted to measure the impact and implementation of the wellness policy. The report will include:

  • A review of school-food sales that determines:
    • the percentage of food purchased from local sources;
    • the budgetary impact of increasing local purchases;
    • existing opportunities to increase purchasing of local and seasonal items;
    • the impact of local purchasing on participation in the school meal programs.
  • An evaluation of the frequency and effectiveness of nutrition education activities involving the school garden, farm visits and other agriculture-based activities.

VI. Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring The superintendent will ensure compliance with established school district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies.

In each school:

  • the principal will ensure compliance with those policies in the school and will report on the school’s compliance to the superintendent; and,
  • food service staff will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent or principal.

In the district:

  • the school district will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If the school district has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, the school district will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.
  • the superintendent will develop a summary report every three years on school district-wide compliance with the school district’s established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from schools within the school district; and,
  • the report will be provided to the school board and also distributed to all school wellness committees, parent/teacher organizations, principals, and health services personnel in the school district.

Policy Review. To help with the initial development of the school district’s wellness policies, each school in the school district will conduct a baseline assessment of the school’s existing nutrition and physical activity environments and practices. The results of those school-by-school assessments will be compiled at the school district level to identify and prioritize needs.

Assessments will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess progress and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school district will review the nutrition and physical activity policies and practices and the provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity. The school district, and individual schools within the school district will, revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation.

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