ATTENTION: CO-OP DIRECTORS, CHILD NUTRITION DIRECTORS, WELLNESS COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND MEMBERS
As of School Year 2006-2007, all districts were required to establish a local school wellness policy, per federal Child Nutrition regulations. The recently published USDA Final Rule on Local School Wellness Policy Implementation requires LEAs to begin developing a revised local school wellness policy during School Year 2016-2017. LEAs must fully comply with the requirements of the final rule by June 30, 2017.
Updated Wellness Policies must include:
- Specific goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness
- Standards and nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages sold to students on the school campus during the school day (meal pattern, Smart Snacks, Arkansas Nutrition Standards)
- Standards for all foods and beverages provided to students during the school day
- Policies for food and beverage marketing
- Description of public involvement, public updates, policy leadership, and evaluation plan
- Language that the district will adhere to the Arkansas Rules Governing Nutrition, Physical Activity, and BMI.
The content of wellness policies will be reviewed during Child Nutrition Administrative Reviews conducted in the district every three years, and superintendents and Child Nutrition directors will attest to the compliance of the district’s wellness policy in the Child Nutrition Agreement.
As part of the Wellness Policy’s evaluation plan, the Final Rule requires districts to conduct a Triennial Assessment of the Wellness Policy every three years, at a minimum, to determine:
- compliance with the wellness policy
- how the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies,
- and progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.
Arkansas has incorporated many pieces of the Triennial Assessment since the passing of Act 1220 in 2003 and the approval of the Arkansas Rules Governing Nutrition, Physical Activity and BMI. Therefore, some pieces of the Triennial Assessment will be required to be completed on an annual basis to meet the stricter Arkansas regulations.
The best practice will be for districts to complete each of the three components of the Triennial Assessment on an annual basis.
Step 1 of the Triennial Assessment: Wellness Committee Checklist Part 1
The Triennial Assessment requires districts to assess their compliance with the Wellness Policy. In order to meet this mandate, districts are required to complete the Wellness Committee Checklist (attached) to assess implementation and compliance on an annual basis. Completing the form has been a best practice in Arkansas for many years; however, the Wellness Committee Checklist is now a required form.
Step 2 of the Triennial Assessment: Wellness Committee Checklist Part 2
Secondly, the Triennial Assessment requires districts to compare their wellness policy to model wellness policies. Many sample policies are available through non-profit and professional organizations. These sample policies can help with language selection when schools are developing or expanding their own policies. However, in order to document compliance with this area of the Triennial Assessment, districts are required to complete the Wellness Committee Checklist “Included in Policy?” Section (last column to the right on the form) and update the Wellness Policy as needed. The checklist includes federal requirements (in gray) and state requirements that will be the outline to all Arkansas Wellness Policies.
Step 3 of the Triennial Assessment: ACSIP / SHI / BMI
Finally, the Triennial Assessment requires districts to document progress made in attaining the goals of the Wellness Policy. Arkansas schools will continue to meet these requirements by completing the Health and Wellness Priority in the Arkansas Consolidated School Improvement Plans (ACSIP) in Indistar and including BMI Data and required modules of the School Health Index in the plans annually. The Arkansas Department of Education School Health Services will continue to review and make suggestions on the Wellness Priorities of ACSIP for all schools and districts, with input from the Child Nutrition Unit and the Arkansas Health Department.
Districts are required to make the Triennial Assessment, including progress toward meeting the goals of the policy, available to the public.
Preparing for an Administrative Review:
All documentation related to Wellness Policies, Wellness Committees, and the Triennial Assessment will be reviewed during the district’s Child Nutrition Administrative Review.
Wellness Policy / Triennial Assessment Cheat Sheet (attached)
Wellness Committee Requirements Checklist – Implementation and Compliance (attached)
USDA Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Summary of Final Rule (attached)