Skip to main content

Wellness Policy

School Wellness Image


I.          School Health Councils

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

III.         Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

IV.        Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

V.         Goals

VI         Monitoring and Policy Review

Children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive.

The Board of Trustees recognizes the link between student health and learning and desires to provide a comprehensive program promoting healthy eating and physical activity for district students. The Superintendent or School Authority (SA) shall build a coordinated school health system that supports and reinforces health literacy through health education, physical education and activity, health services, nutrition services, psychological and counseling services, health promotion for staff, a safe and healthy school environment, and parent/guardian and community involvement.

To encourage consistent health messages between the home and school environment, the SA may disseminate health information and/or the district's student wellness policy to parents/guardians through district or school newsletters, handouts, parent/guardian meetings, district and school web sites, and other communications. Outreach to parents/guardians shall emphasize the relationship between student health and academic performance.

This wellness policy recognizes the link between student health and learning and desires to provide a comprehensive program promoting healthy eating and physical activity for district students. Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, LEAs and school districts to promote student wellness, prevent and reduce childhood obesity, and provide assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum Federal school meal standards.

I. School Health Councils

The Superintendent or SA shall permit parents/guardians, students, food service employees, physical education teachers, school health professionals, Board members, school administrators, and members of the public to participate in the development, implementation, and periodic review and update of the district's student wellness policy.

To fulfill this requirement, the Superintendent or SA will appoint a school health council or other district committee whose membership shall include representatives of these groups. He/she also may invite participation of other groups or individuals, such as health educators, curriculum directors, counselors, before- and after-school program staff, health practitioners, and/or others interested in school health issues.

The school health council/committee shall advise the district on health-related issues, activities, policies, and programs. At the discretion of the Superintendent or designee, the duties of the council/committee may also include the planning, implementation, and evaluation of activities to promote health within the school or community.

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

For all foods available on each campus during the school day, the district shall adopt nutritional guidelines which are consistent with and support the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity.

The Board believes that foods and beverages available to students at district schools should support the health curriculum and promote optimal health, taking into consideration the needs of students with special dietary needs. Nutritional standards adopted by the District for all foods and beverages sold to students, including foods and beverages provided through the District's Child Nutrition program, student stores, vending machines, or other venues, shall meet or exceed state and federal nutritional standards.

In order to maximize the District's ability to provide nutritious meals and snacks, all qualifying District schools shall participate in available federal school nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and after-school snack programs. When approved by the California Department of Education, the district may sponsor a summer meal program.

The Superintendent or SA will require school organizations to use healthy food items or non-food items for fundraising purposes. He/she also shall encourage school staff to avoid the use of non-nutritious foods as a reward for students' academic performance, accomplishments, or classroom behavior.

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 a 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. Schools will not allow students to share their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children's diets.

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.)

Fundraising Activities. To support children's health and school nutrition-education efforts, school fundraising activities will allow food or beverages from midnight to one-half hour after school that follow Assembly Bill 626 fundraising guidelines. Schools will also encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of items for fundraising options.

Snacks. Snacks served during the school day or in after-school programs should 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.

  • If eligible, schools that provide snacks through after-school programs will pursue receiving reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program.

Rewards. Schools will not reward students with foods or beverages that do not meet the approved AB626 food guidelines. Non-food items should be considered for rewards. Food or beverages will not be withheld as punishment.


Schools will limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. Each party will include food or beverage that meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above). The district will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.

School staff will encourage parents/guardians or other volunteers to support the district's nutrition education program by choosing nutritional quality when selecting any snacks which they may donate for occasional class parties. Class parties or celebrations shall be held after the lunch period and only foods that meet or exceed state and federal nutritional standards can be served.

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 do not have to meet the nutritional requirements.

III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Goals, Promotion, and Food Marketing
The Board shall adopt goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness.

Nutrition education shall be provided as part of the health education program and, as appropriate, shall be integrated into other academic subjects in the regular educational program. Nutrition education also may be offered through before- and after- school programs.

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting. For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity (i.e., at least 60 minutes per day) 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 health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management 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 other subject lessons; and
  • classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.

Food or Physical Activity as a Reward or Punishment

  • The school district will prohibit the use of food as a reward or punishment in schools.
  • The school district will not deny student participation in recess or other physical activities as a form of discipline or for classroom make-up time.

Communications with Parents. The District/school will support parents' efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The district/school will offer healthy eating seminars for parents, send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on websites, and provide nutrient analyses of school menus. Schools should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages. The district/school will provide parents a list of foods that meet the district's snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities. In addition, the district/school will provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community.

The District/school will provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents' efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school. Such supports will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a website, newsletter, or other take-home materials, special events, or physical education homework.

Food Marketing in Schools. School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. As such, schools 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.  School-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages is prohibited. The promotion of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products is encouraged.

The Board and the Wellness Policy prohibits the marketing and advertising of non-nutritious foods and beverages through signage, vending machine fronts, logos, scoreboards, school supplies, advertisements in school publications, coupon or incentive programs, free give-aways, or other means.

Examples of 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 food as a reward; programs that provide schools with supplies when families buy low-nutrition food products; in-school television, such as Channel One; free samples or coupons; and food sales through fundraising activities. Marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors (and are therefore allowable) include: vending machine covers promoting water; pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines; sales of fruit for fundraisers; and coupons for discount gym memberships.

Staff Wellness. Turlock Unified School District highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and should encourage activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The district should establish and maintain a staff wellness committee composed of members that may include, school health council member, local hospital representative, dietitian or other health professional, recreation program representative, union representative, and employee benefits specialist. (The staff wellness committee could be a subcommittee of the school health council.) The committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school health council annually.

IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

All students shall be provided opportunities to be physically active on a regular basis. Opportunities for moderate to vigorous physical activity shall be provided through physical education and recess and may also be provided through school athletic programs, extracurricular programs, before- and after-school programs, programs encouraging students to walk or bicycle to and from school, in-class physical activity breaks, and other structured and unstructured activities.

Daily Physical Education (P.E.) K-12. All students in grades K-12, including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 150 minutes/week for elementary school students and 225 minutes/week for middle and high school students) for the entire school year. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education teacher. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g., interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Daily Recess. All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which schools should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment.

Schools should discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.

Extracurricular Physical Activity Opportunities. Schools should offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs or intramural programs. All high schools, and middle schools as appropriate, will offer interscholastic sports programs. Schools 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.

  • Students are given opportunities for physical activity during the school day through physical education (PE) classes, daily recess periods for elementary school students, and the integration of physical activity into the academic curriculum.
  • Students are given opportunities for physical activity through a range of before- and/or after-school programs including, but not limited to, intramurals, interscholastic athletics, and physical activity clubs.
  • Schools provide training to enable teachers, and other school staff to promote enjoyable, lifelong physical activity among students.
  • Schools work with the community to create ways for students to walk, bike, rollerblade or skateboard safely to and from school.
  • Schools encourage parents and guardians to support their children’s participation in physical activity, to be physically active role models, and to include physical activity in family events.

After-school 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.

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. The school district will encourage students to use public transportation when available and appropriate for travel to school, and will work with the local transit agency to provide transit passes for students.

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. Goals

          Dining Environment

  • The school district provides a clean, safe, enjoyable meal environment for students.
  • The school district provides enough space and serving areas to ensure all students have access to school meals with minimum wait time.

Time to Eat

  • The school district will ensure an adequate time for students to enjoy eating healthy foods with friends in schools.
  • The school district will schedule lunch time as near the middle of the school day as  possible.
  • The school district will schedule recess for elementary schools before lunch so that children will come to lunch less distracted and ready to eat.

VI. Monitoring and Policy Review
The Superintendent shall designate one or more district or school employees, as appropriate, to ensure that each school site complies with this policy.

The Superintendent or SA shall inform and update the public, including parents/guardians, students, and others in the community, about the contents and implementation of this policy. He/she shall periodically measure and make available to the public an assessment of the extent to which district schools are in compliance with this policy, the extent to which this policy compares to model wellness policies available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.

To determine whether the policy is being effectively implemented district wide and at each district school, the following indicators shall be used:

1. Descriptions of the district's nutrition education, physical education, and health education curricula by grade level

2. Number of minutes of physical education instruction offered at each grade span

3. Number and type of exemptions granted from physical education

4. Results of the state's physical fitness test

5. An analysis of the nutritional content of meals served based on a sample of menus

6. Student participation rates in school meal programs, compared to percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals

7. Number of sales of non-nutritious foods and beverages in fundraisers or other venues outside of the district's meal programs

8. Feedback from food service personnel, school administrators, the school health council, parents/guardians, students, teachers, before- and after-school program staff, and/or other appropriate persons

9. Any other indicators recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board

Implementation, Periodic Assessment, and Public Updates

The Act requires LEAs to inform and update the public (including parents, students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of the local wellness policies. LEAs are also required to measure periodically and make available to the public an assessment of the local wellness police, including;

  •  The extent to which schools are in compliance with the local wellness policy;
  • The extent to which the LEAs local wellness policy compares to model local school  wellness policies; and
  • The progress made in attaining the goals of the local wellness policy.

Monitoring. The superintendent or SA will ensure compliance with established district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. In each school, the principal or SA will ensure compliance with those policies in his/her school and will report on the school's compliance to the school district superintendent or SA.

School food service staff, at the school or district level, will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent (or if done at the school level, to the school principal). In addition, the school district will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If the district has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, the district will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.

The superintendent or designee will develop a summary report every three years on district-wide compliance with the district's established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from schools within the district. That report will be provided to the school board and also distributed to all school health councils, parent/teacher organizations, school principals, and school health services personnel in the district.

Policy Review. To help assess the district's wellness policies, each school in the district will evaluate the school's existing nutrition and physical activity environments and policies. The results will be compiled to identify and prioritize needs.

Evaluations will be conducted every year, and presented to help review policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school district will review its nutrition and physical activity policies and revise as necessary.

Finally, the Act requires LEAs to designate one or more LEA officials or school officials, as appropriate, to ensure that each school complies with the local school wellness policy.