Our agency promotes nutrition and nutrition education. Our agency does this by requiring staff who work directly with the students to serve balanced and portion-controlled meals. Our agency’s staff offer a variety of healthy snack options to students during scheduled snack times. Staff working directly with students encourage students to eat healthy during scheduled mealtimes by serving balanced meals and encouraging students to try healthy food options they may not have had available to them prior to arriving to the agency. Staff also model healthy eating by eating the same meals our students are served. Staff also have access to the programs weight room and can bring outside guests from the community to utilize this facility. At our agency, students always have water available to them (water stations are in every building in our program) and are encouraged to drink water often as juices and milk options are limited and portioned by staff to promote health. Items that are high in calories or high in sugar are limited at our agency. Our campus nurse who is on site schedules and meets students monthly to check and record student’s weight. If problems regarding a student’s nutrition arise, our agency will schedule an appointment promptly with the local doctor or nutritionist. Currently, our campus nurse meets with students and staff working with students regularly to promote wellness while providing nutrition education. During the school day, physical education activities are led that align with Society of Health and Physical Education standards for all students to promote student wellness. Our physical education curriculum teaches students lifetime physical activities that they can utilize to maintain a healthy lifestyle beyond the classroom. All students receive at least 240 minutes of physical education each week. Students are not able to be exempt from physical education curriculum or substitute another activity in place of physical education curriculum. We also provide nutrition education as part of our regular curriculum for all students. Nutrition education is taught based off the Society of Health and Physical Education Standards curriculum in a sequential and comprehensive manner that sets specific goals and promotes wellness. Throughout the school day, students get nutrition education in a variety of ways from reading nutrition labels, to taste testing new healthy foods, as well as assisting in cooking and gardening. If a student has specific diet restrictions such as having a gluten allergy, our campus nurse provides specific education to that student. As our instructors teach other core classes, they are encouraged to integrate relevant components of nutrition education into the lesson plan. Students can work in the kitchen and get hands on experience as they prepare and serve meals. Students also take field trips to local farms and assist the food team in tending to the campus garden in order to increase their awareness of agriculture and the food system.
Our agency promotes the importance of physical activity to our students in a variety of ways. Our agency has a variety of outlets on campus that students can access to get physical activity. On our campus we have an outdoor pool open during warmer months, acres of wooded area for group hiking, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, an outdoor volleyball court, a baseball/softball field, and a quarter mile asphalt circle for bicycle riding and walking. Our agency utilizes these outlets to organize events that promote physical activity and are offered to students on campus such as basketball and kickball tournaments. We also encourage physical activity across campus by encouraging students to participate in our all-campus field day events. Our agency hosts four separate field days throughout the year: Winter Olympics, Spring Fling, Summer Splash, and Fall Fest. We give students access to a vast variety of sporting equipment to use as well to promote physical activity engagement. Every day, each cottage has scheduled recreation time after school. This recreation time is used for a scheduled physical activity that staff engage the students in. Though scheduled recreation times may fluctuate for each cottage on campus based upon scheduled therapy groups and school, students get 60 minutes of recreation time on average each day. We will continue to improve our use of recreation time by providing a broader variety of physical activities that students can engage in.
Behind our residential facility lies a certified high and low ropes course, which is another outlet our students can use to engage in physical activity. Our on-staff certified ropes course instructor (Program Manager) schedules team building exercises and opens the high ropes course to our students to promote wellness during non-school months. The Program Manager also runs two-hour groups with students bi-weekly to engage students in physical activity and incorporate group initiative during non- school months. Students also are encouraged to participate in our agency’s equine program that includes a horse stable on grounds along with a certified equine therapist.
Staff encourage students to earn on outings off campus that include physical activities such as ice skating, roller skating, swimming, sledding, etc. Shift Supervisors who are responsible for making the monthly activity calendar are required to plan one outing each month that involves the students engaging in physical activity.
Our agency follows the USDA certified portion-control menu regarding our nutrition policy to ensure that students are receiving the appropriate nutrition. Standard and nutrition guidelines for all food and beverages sold to students during the school day are consistent with applicable requirements set forth under 210.10. Guidelines for reimbursable school meals are not less restrictive than regulations and guidance issued by the Secretary of Agriculture. Breakfast is offered every day to all students. All children in our program receive reduced/free meals so there are no differences between what students pay that can be identified by others. Students are not charged for meals directly so there are no unpaid balances that would cause them to be stigmatized. Students are encouraged to eat the school meal by only serving the school meal with only one nutritious equivalent substitution available. Students are encouraged to taste test the provided meal prior to selecting the substitution. Students have at least 20 minutes to sit down and eat breakfast and lunch every day. Our food team receives annual training in accordance with USDA Professional Standards. Our food program puts a high priority on ensuring freshness of produce by utilizing the on-site garden or getting produce from local vendors. We do not have any vending machines or school stores on site that students can access for food or beverages throughout the school day. Our program also does not allow fundraisers during our school program. Our program does not sell caffeinated beverages to students during the school day. For celebrations involving food during the school day, standards are followed to ensure students are not offered an excess of sugar or calories. Our school does not serve food or beverages after school programming. Teachers are encouraged to utilize incentives such as physical activities and games other than food or drinks with students. All staff are trained never to add or withhold physical activity as a punishment.
We do not allow marketing of any food or beverage in our school program other than the healthy meals that are offered by the food team as part of the school program. The food team advertises the next few healthy meals on the TV screen so students are aware of what is being served in the near future.
Outside groups are encouraged to participate in our wellness policy as well such as local churches and volunteer groups. They are given guidelines when serving food that reflect the USDA certified portion control menu. Outside groups are encouraged to set up activities and engage our youth in physical exercise as they use our campus’s many outlets while they are visiting. We also encourage groups to come in to educate students on nutrition and teach them culinary skills.
Our agency will assess our wellness policy every three years by means of the Triannual Wellness School Assessment process. to ensure that we are promoting physical wellness and nutritional education to our students in accordance with all required guidelines. The Wellness program will also be reviewed twice a year by our wellness committee which is made up of various roles and stakeholders including the Director of Residential Services, Program Manager, School Teachers, Nurses, Commissary Manager, Licensed Clinicians, as well as parents and community members to ensure we are following all components of the wellness policy and make revisions as necessary to improve the quality and outcomes of our program. Students will also be able to give input on the program via our Residential Advisory Board. The Director of Residential will oversee the implementation and compliance of the CCHO Wellness Policy.
Revised June 8, 2021