Wellness Policy

The Watervliet City School District recognizes that the present and future health and well being of our school aged children are profoundly affected by dietary intake and the maintenance of a healthy weight throughout life. We know that schools contribute to current and life-long healthy decisions and dietary patterns and schools are able to model and reinforce healthy eating behaviors in partnership with parents, teachers, and the community at large. Therefore, because all foods and beverages available at school represent significant caloric intake, the menus should be designed to meet nutritional standards. Encouraging exercise, life long physical activity and commitment to healthy eating habits begin while at a young age. The Watervliet City School District acknowledges that a comprehensive and coordinated School Wellness Policy will serve to foster better nutrition, exercise and ultimately healthier students and community members.

The Watervliet City School District Wellness Policy is required by Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and Women, Infants and Children Reauthorization Act of 2004 (PL 108-265) and by the “National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” (Final Rule 80 FR11077 3-2-2015). These laws stipulate that local education agency (LEA, otherwise known for the purposes of this document as the Watervliet City School District) participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program and Summer Food Service Program shall establish a wellness policy no later than the first day of the school year beginning after June 30, 2006; Revised 2010; Revised 2018. Revised 2019. Revised 2021.

The District has established a Wellness/SAVE Committee to develop the District’s proposed local wellness policy, making such policy recommendations for review and adoption by the Board of Education. The District Wellness Committee includes, but is not limited to, representatives from each of the following groups:

a) Parents;
b) Students;
c) Health/Science/Physical Education teachers;
d) School health professionals;
e) The District’s food service program;
f) School Board;
g) School administrators; and
h) Members of the public.

The District Wellness/SAVE Committee, which meets monthly, will also be responsible for assessing current activities, programs and policies available in the District, and providing mechanisms for implementation, evaluation, and revision of the policy. In so doing, the Wellness/SAVE Committee will evaluate and make recommendations that reflect the specific needs of the District and its students.

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, obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades and physical activity and excessive calorie intake are the predominant causes of obesity;

Whereas, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the United States and major risk factors for those diseases, including unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood;

Whereas, 33% of high school students do not participate in sufficient vigorous physical activity and 72% of high school students do not attend daily physical education;

Whereas, only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) eat a healthy diet consistent with the five main recommendations from the Choose MyPlate.gov;

Whereas, nationally, the items most commonly sold from school vending machines, school stores, and snack bars include low-nutrition foods and beverages, such as soda, sports drink, imitation fruit juices, chips, candy, cookies, and snack cakes;

Whereas, school districts around the country are facing significant fiscal and scheduling constraints;

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

Thus, the Watervliet City School District is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, wellbeing and ability to learn by supporting eating and physical activity.


The goals of the Watervliet City School District Wellness Policy are:

1. To ensure that students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 receive nutrition education that provides the knowledge they need to adopt healthy lifestyles. The school district will work towards implementing nutrition education that will be integrated within a comprehensive school health education program and will include instruction that helps students learn more about the importance of various food groups (Choose MyPlate.gov); caloric, sugar and fat intake, portion size; the recognition of the role media plays in marketing and advertising foods and beverages; and the relationship of a balanced diet and regular exercise to a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Grades K-6 uses the Great Body Shop health curriculum. Grades 7-12 health curriculum is based on the NYSED health requirements at each level. Additionally, both programs supplement their lessons with outside speakers as well as groups such as “Food Play” from Hannaford, Cornell Cooperative Extension (Eat Smart New York Program) and the Scotia-Glenville traveling museum. The Assistant Superintendent will monitor to ensure the curriculum is implemented each year.

2. To reinforce nutrition concepts by all school personnel and integrate into various subject areas. Examples include: 7-12 Science classes, Foods, Gourmet Foods and 7/8th grade Home and Careers all discuss nutrition. Nutrition education will include reinforcement of the importance of physical activity and the health benefits associated with a healthy lifestyle. In UPK – 12 grade, physical education classes teach and reinforce life time sports, nutrition, and physical fitness. The Assistant Superintendent will ensure this occurs annually. Additionally, both schools will maintain vegetable gardens and shall work with the cafeteria and classrooms, to use the produce for taste testing and/or other educational purposes.

3. To utilize the services of nutrition professionals that include NYS Healthy Schools, Food Service Management, the Home and Careers Education Department, the Health Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension; the District Health Coordinator and/or the Director of Accountability will lead the effort to plan, implement and evaluate comprehensive nutrition education and promotion of the programs.

4. To recognize that students, their families and community members need to be involved in order to succeed in teaching children about health and nutrition. Therefore it shall be the policy of the district to promote the Watervliet Health and Wellness/SAVE committees on the district web site, hold meetings open to the public and to recruit community members, parents, students, district staff and faculty to serve on the committee. Additionally, a link to Super Kids Nutrition is on our website for parents to get more information about healthy eating. We will attempt to have at least one parent participate on the committee annually.

5. To implement nutritional and dietary guidelines as required by the “National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” (Final Rule 80 FR11077 3-2-2015) as well as incorporate the recommendations from the “Smart Snacks in Schools” standards, the NYSED Child Nutrition Knowledge Center, The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and USDA. This is monitored by the Food Service Manger on a monthly basis.

6. To implement a plan for measuring the effectiveness of the wellness policy. The district will use WellSAT yearly to measure progress. District officials will review the wellness policy to ensure that the policy is being followed and present their findings to the Wellness/Save committee each year. Additional surveys to faculty, staff and families may also be used to gather feedback or more information.

7. To provide activities consistent with health and wellness messages and themes that are conducive to healthy eating habits and physical activity. The goals are to provide a clean, safe, enjoyable meal environment, provide adequate time for students to enjoy eating with friends, schedule as close to the middle of the day as possible, prohibit use of food as reward or punishment, provide enough space and serving areas to ensure student access to meals with minimum waiting time, provide clean drinking water, prohibit denial of student participation in recess or other physical activity as a form of discipline or cancellation of recess or other physical activity time for instructional make-up time, provide staff development for the food service staff and teachers in the areas of nutrition and physical education and have teachers be a role model for healthy eating including encouraging students and staff use of water bottles in the classroom.


Foods and Beverages Served/Sold During the School Day and at School Sponsored Events:

1) Foods and beverages available during the school day will include a variety of healthy choices that are of excellent quality, appealing to students, and handled in a manner consistent with state and local health department standards. The Watervliet City School District will offer a National School Breakfast and Lunch Program that follows the regulations and guidelines set forth by the USDA and will implement the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015). Food and beverages will be provided in an environment and manner consistent with local, state, and national guidelines. Increased signage and new menu items will also be implemented to help increase our lunch and breakfast consumers.

2) Foods and beverages available during the day shall minimize use of trans and saturated fats, sodium and sugar as defined by the above stated regulations and guidelines. Nutritional counts are available on the school website. Carb counts are available in the lunch lines and in the nurse’s office.

3) Food and beverages available shall offer modest portion sizes that are age-appropriate for elementary, middle and high school students respectively.

4) Products sold or offered at school functions/events (i.e. after school programing, clubs, sports, etc.) shall also offer a variety of healthy choices. The above stated regulations and guidelines shall be used for guidance in this area. At events where food and beverages are sold, 50% of items sold must meet the USDA Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act “Smart Snacks in Schools” Standards.

5) Schools will encourage and educate students to bring healthy choices for individual student classroom snacks.

6) Classroom celebrations, especially in elementary schools, shall encourage healthy choices and portion control. All celebrations should take place after lunch. Parents and families can request a list of healthy snacks from the principal that are appropriate for such celebrations. All other snacks brought or made from home will be returned home. Additionally, parents are encouraged to instead choose non-food items to celebrate their child’s birthdays including: pencils, small toys, book marks, etc. The Watervliet Cafeteria will also provide a list of available food and beverage items for purchase which meet the “Smart Snacks in Schools” standards. This includes fruit and vegetable platters.

7) All Watervliet City School District facilities shall promote positive health habits through such means as the sale of non-food and nutritious food items during fundraisers, and fully support physical activity events.

8) 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, a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statues and regulations;
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • Serve only low-fat (1%) and fat free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non dairy alternatives (to be defined by the USDA);
  • 100% of the grains are whole grains or as defined by the NSLP/NSBP.

9) Foods and Beverages Sold Individually (i.e., foods sold outside of reimbursable school meals, such as through vending machines, cafeteria à la carte (snack) lines, fundraisers, school stores, etc.) will:

a. Elementary School: The school food service program will approve and provide all food and beverage sales to students in the elementary school. Given young children’s limited nutrition skills, food in the elementary schools should be sold as balanced meals. If available, foods and beverages sold individually should be limited to low-fat milk, fruits and non-fried vegetables.

b. Junior/Senior High School: In the junior/senior high school all foods and beverages sold individually outside the reimbursable school meal programs (including those sold through a la carte (snack) lines, vending machines, student stores or fundraising activities) during the school day, or through programs for students after the school day, will meet the nutrition and portion size standards.

c. Beverages allowed: Water or seltzer water without added caloric sweeteners; fruit and vegetable juices and fruit based drinks that contain at least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; unflavored or flavored low-fat or fat-free fluid milk and nutritionally-equivalent nondairy beverages.

d. Beverages Not allowed: Soft drinks containing caloric sweeteners; sports drinks (allowed only during an athletic event); energy drinks, iced teas; fruit based drinks that contain less than 50% real fruit juice or that contain additional caloric sweeteners; beverages. No beverages containing caffeine will be sold in the elementary or middle school.

e. All food and beverages served to student before/after school must be in compliance with the USDA nutritional snack guidelines. (i.e. All drinks will be 100% fruit juice for elementary and middle school students.)

Food Environment

1) Students shall be encouraged to start each day with a healthy breakfast.

2) All students will have the opportunity to obtain breakfast.

3) Staff and students shall be reminded to wash their hands after bathroom, toileting activities and before meals (to prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of illness).
4) Lunch periods shall be scheduled as near the middle of the day as possible.

5) Drinking water and hand-washing facilities shall be conveniently available for students. Hand washing education shall be encouraged and incorporated into the district’s school health education program. Free drinking water is available throughout the school day at water fountains and water jugs and cups are available in each lunchroom for student use.

6) Students shall be provided sufficient time to eat during meal periods in compliance with applicable local, state and federal guidelines; at least 20 minutes for lunch and 10 minutes for breakfast.

7) Students should be discouraged from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack time, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.

8) The WCSD is a closed campus where students do not have time to leave for lunch. All students are eligible to eat breakfast, lunch and snack from the cafeteria.

9) The district prohibit the advertising of foods and beverages that do not meet the USFA Smart Schools Nutritional guidelines on school property including buses, sport signs, vending machines, food display racks, etc.

Food Service Operations

1) Watervliet City School District will maintain a coordinated and comprehensive outreach, promotion and pricing plan including free/reduced lunch eligibility (District web page, letters home via Homeroom 1st Period teachers and Home-Base) to ensure maximum participation in the school meal program. Currently the district is a CEP.

2) Watervliet City School District will ensure that students eligible to receive free or reduced-priced meals are not treated differently from other students or easily identified by their peers. The point of sale requires each student to punch a number into the keypad to indicate a sale. All students do this regardless of the payment method. All meals are now free for all students.

3) Guidelines for the reimbursable meals served will not be less restrictive than local, state, federal and guidance issued by the Secretary of Agriculture. All students shall receive the same level of service and meal provisions, regardless of funding source.

4) Watervliet City School District will continue to train and develop Food Service employees. The Food Service Director will administer the school food service program, according to professional standards and will satisfy reporting requirements.

5) All food service personnel will receive adequate training and be encouraged to participate in ongoing professional development as required by law.

6) Watervliet City School District will plan menus that, over the course of the week, will meet the standards recommended in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

7) Watervliet City School District will involve families and community members, and community organizations in the development of policies and programs to ensure that school meal options are culturally sensitive and meet special dietary needs. The district will offer vegetarian options.

8) Watervliet City School District will ensure that required and effective NYS Department of Health and County standard practices are applied to all foods prepared by the Food Service Department, sold or served at school-sponsored events.

9) The schools will promote healthy food and beverages by increasing signage, holding taste tests, prominent display of healthy choices as well as encouraging their consumption.

Physical Education and Physical Activity

1) The Watervliet City School District will have a board approved physical education plan on file with NYSED that indicates:

a. Program goals and objectives;
b. The way in which students are scheduled for PE and the length of classes;
c. Program activities offered at each grade level or each year of instruction;
d. Assessment activities for determining the student’s performance, goals and objectives of the program.

2) Watervliet City School District will ensure that every student from Kindergarten through 12th grade receives regular, age-appropriate quality physical education in accordance with NYS standards. (120 minutes per/wk K-6 and 7-12 80 minutes per wk) Age-appropriate physical education is activity that utilizes movement concepts, motor skills, cognitive skills and intensity appropriate for a child’s state of development.

3) All Physical Education classes shall be taught by NYS Certified Physical Education Teachers. Physical education classes will have the same number of student to teacher ratios used in other classes as indicated by the teachers’ contract.

4) Physical Education will be designed to build interest and proficiency in the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential to a lifelong physically active lifestyle. It will include providing information, fostering a positive atmosphere, encouraging self-discipline, developing motor skills, and promoting activities that can be carried out over the course of students’ lives.

5) The physical education curriculum will be coordinated with the health education curriculum and both meet NYS Education Standards. The district provides all the PE teachers will annual professional development opportunities that are focused on PE topics and competencies.

6) Physical Education will provide safe and satisfying physical activity for all students, including those with special needs.

7) All students in grades K-12 shall be required to take physical education class.

8) Student will not be exempt of the Physical Education classes.

9) The district may not allow students to substitute other school or community activities for physical education or credit unless a doctor’s note is provided.

10) Weather permitting, elementary schools will provide daily recess. Where possibly, recess will occur prior to lunch. It will be approximately 20 minutes.

11) Watervliet City School District –sponsored, before/after-school programs will offer supervised, age-appropriate physical activities that appeal to a variety of interests, including workouts in the weight room and an exercise club.

12) Watervliet City School District shall ensure that students have adequate space and equipment to participate in structured in physical activity. Facilities on school grounds will be kept safe and well maintained.

13) Watervliet City School District shall provide information to parents and the community at large (Watervliet City School District Web Page) in order to promote and incorporate physical activity and healthy eating habits into their children’s lives.

14) The district will develop a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) for each building.

15) Each school shall partner with local government and community based agencies to support active transport to school to implement a comprehensive transportation program. The City of Watervliet has developed a “Safe Routes to School” program.

Nutrition Guidelines

1) In an effort to encourage healthy life-long eating habits by providing foods that are high in nutrients, low in fat and added sugars, and of moderate portion size, the District Wellness Committee will recommend nutrition standards to be set for all foods and beverages available on school campus. For purposes of this section, the school day is defined as the period from the midnight before, to thirty (30) minutes after the end of the official school day.

2) School meals will, at a minimum, meet the program requirements and nutrition standards of the National School Breakfast, National School Lunch Programs and USDA Smart Snacks.  http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp

3) Fundraising:

a. All food and beverages sold as a fundraiser during the school day will meet the nutritional requirements listed in the USDA Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act “Smart Snacks in Schools” Rule.

b. School-sponsored fundraisers conducted outside of the school day will be encouraged to support the goals of this policy by promoting the sale of healthy food items (fresh fruit and produce) and/or non-food items, such as water bottles, plants, t-shirts, etc., and by promoting events involving physical activity.

c. School administrators, with the assistance of the District Wellness/SAVE Committee, will create and promote a list of approved fundraising activities. All fundraisers taking place during the school day must be approved by the appropriate Building Principal prior to their being conducted.

Local Wellness Committee

1) The Watervliet City School District has a diverse Local Wellness Committee that is comprised of the major stakeholder groups: administrators, teachers, faculty, food service staff & management, parents, students and community members.

2) The Watervliet City School District will recruit (via school district web page/site) community members for the local wellness committee who are involved in efforts to improve the overall health and well being of children and youth.

3) The local wellness committee will monitor and evaluate the school district’s policies annually to ensure they are properly implemented and progress is made in improving and maintaining students’ nutrition and physical activity patterns.

4) The Watervliet City School District will attempt to supplement its efforts by seeking nutrition and physical activity partnerships with relevant community and corporate citizens.

5) The Food Service Director will be available to speak with parents during an open house.

6) Where as school staff and support personnel serve as role models, the Watervliet City School District encourages activities and creates programs that support healthy lifestyles for all school district employees. This includes the use of the school track and the fitness center.

Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Wellness Policy

1) The District will annually report on the progress each of its schools has made toward meeting the goals of this policy. Such report will include:

a. The website address for the wellness policy and/or information on how the public can access a copy;
b. A description of each school’s progress in meeting the wellness policy goals;
c. A summary of each school’s local school wellness events or activities;
d. Contact information for the leader(s) of the Wellness Committee; and
e. Information on how individuals can get involved in the Wellness Committee’s work.
f. The Food service manager will report to the Watervliet City School Board of Education annually; a formal assessment which will consist of exemplar menus, 5 day menu evaluation (Nutrikids), and State Education Department(SED)/School Meals Initiative(SMI) evaluations (including production records, standardized recipes and nutritional labels), and the results of county audits when available.

2) Assessments of the District’s wellness policy and implementation efforts will be repeated on a triennial basis. This will include:

  • Compliance with the wellness policy;
  • How the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies;
  • Progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy; and
  • Any policy/updates based on best practices.

3) The District will, as necessary, revise this wellness policy and develop work plans to facilitate its implementation.

4) The Superintendent, with the Director of Curriculum’s direct oversight, will be responsible for ensuring the Wellness Policy is implemented throughout the district. The school principals shall be required to report building level compliance to the Director of Curriculum and the district’s SAVE committee.

5) Elements of the wellness policy will be communicated to the public through the district website, documents sent home and BOE meetings.

42 USC Section 1758b
7 CFR Section 210.11
79 FR 10693
Education Law Section 915
8 NYCRR Section 135.4
Adoption Date: 07/18