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Policy Manual

8510 - Wellness

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) is required to establish a district supported wellness policy in compliance with Section 204  of Public Law 108-265, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) final rule "Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010”.The policy must also incorporate Chapter 5P-1.003 (2) (d) or Florida Administrative Code (FAC) which requires HCPS to establish Healthy School Teams in all schools.

HCPS is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn. Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people to help them establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns. To have the most positive impact on the health outcomes of young people, schools must align resources with other government agencies, community partners and organizations through a collaborative and comprehensive approach, in order to improve the health of all children and ultimately, their ability to be successful in the classroom. 

District and School Wellness Committee Monitoring and Assessment Requirement
Wellness Policy Review Committee
HCPS will assemble a wellness committee to include, but not be limited to, parents, administrators, subject experts, and students as required by Federal K-20 Education Code 1003.453 that will meet annually, at a minimum, to monitor the implementation of its local wellness policy.  The wellness committee will evaluate and adopt an assessment tool which will be used to conduct a formal evaluation of the policy at a minimum once every three years.

School Site Compliance 
Each school will establish an ongoing Healthy School Team as required by Florida State Statute Chapter 5P-1.003 (2) (d) that will meet bi-annually, at a minimum, to facilitate site compliance with the district policy and to complete reviews and assessments, as required. The Healthy School Team will include, but not be limited to parents, students, school nutrition representatives, administrators, health professionals, teachers, and the general public.

Record Keeping
HCPS will retain records to document each school and the district’s compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy. The policy and assessments will be routinely available to the public.

Health Education
HCPS will provide sequential, comprehensive health education in accordance with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Health Education and Physical Education.  This will positively impact student’s behavior and will enable them to make informed decisions that will lead to lifelong healthy habits.

Students in grades K-12 shall receive medically accurate, evidenced based and age appropriate instruction in comprehensive health education which includes, but is not limited to substance abuse, nutrition education, and  sexual health education(Florida state law provides an opt-out on sexual health education).  The instruction of Comprehensive Health Education will include, but not be limited to the following guidelines:
  • Instruction will be provided by speakers and/or teachers who are free from bias 
  • Instruction will be provided with fidelity and accuracy.
  • Topics will be integrated into the K-12 curriculum for all students when appropriate.

The Hillsborough County Public Schools,  School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is the primary source for external evaluation of programs, curricula and policies pertaining to health education. Instruction is monitored through ongoing review of relevant data with district and community experts including parents, students, and subject matter experts. 

Physical Education and Physical Activity
Physical Education
The physical education curriculum will incorporate essential components that promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits.  HCPS will provide students with physical education, using age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education as follows:

  • Elementary students (Grades K-5) will receive instruction in physical education for 60 minutes per week with a certified physical education teacher.
  • Elementary Students (Grades K-5) will also receive an additional 90 minutes of physical education per week provided by the classroom teacher or Principal’s designee.  Students will  be engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 consecutive minutes on any day during which physical education instruction is conducted. 
  • Middle Students (Grades 6-8) will receive 250 minutes of physical education each week.  Students will be moderately to vigorously active for at least 50% of class time during most or all physical education classes.
  • High Students (Grades 9-12) will be required to take at least one full credit of physical education with the integration or health, which is the Health Opportunities through Physical Education (HOPE) course. All students will be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes.  HCPS will make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and will adapt classroom instruction and equipment as necessary. 
  • Student’s physical fitness will be evaluated through age appropriate fitness assessments for each student.

Physical Activity 
HCPS recognizes that students are more attentive and ready to learn if provided with periodic breaks when they can be physically active.  Teachers are to provide short, physical activity breaks to students during and between classroom times that complement, not substitute, for physical education class and recess. 

Physical activity during the school day, including but not limited to recess, classroom physical activity breaks, or physical education will not be withheld as punishment for any reason.  This does not include participation on sports teams that have specific academic requirements. 

To the extent practicable, HCPS will ensure that its grounds, facilities, and equipment are safe and available for use by students.  When feasible, schools are encouraged to allow use of outdoor physical activity facilities and spaces to be open to students, their families, and the community outside of school hours. 

All elementary schools must offer at least 20 minutes of unstructured recess time on all days during the school year as mandated by Florida State Statute 1003.455 (6).  When time permits, schools are encouraged to schedule recess prior to the lunch meal. 

Before and After School Activities
HCPS offers opportunities for students to participate in physical activity either before and/or after the school day through a variety of methods.  Students are encouraged to be physically active before and after school by participating in intramurals, interscholastic sports, clubs, and HOST.

Active and Safe Routes to School
HCPS will support active transport to and from school, such as walking or bicycling.  The District will encourage this behavior by engaging in the activities below; including but not limited to:
  • Designate safe or preferred routes to schools
  • Secure storage facilities for bicycles and helmets
  • Instruct students on walking/bicycling safety
  • Promote safe routes to students, staff, and parents 
  • Use crossing guards
  • Use crosswalks on streets leading to schools
  • Use walking school buses

School Meals and Other Foods on Campus
School Meals
The Student Nutrition Services program aims to improve the diet and health of school children by offering nutritious meals at a reasonable cost to all students.  All foods and beverages sold in school meal programs at any place on the school campus during the school day will meet or exceed the federal guidelines set forth by USDA Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, USDA Healthy Hunger-Free Kid Act, 7 CFR 210 and 220.  

Student Nutrition Services will:
  • Create menus by Registered Dietitians, district chefs, and menu committees 
  • Post menus, with nutrient and allergen content on social media platforms
  • Promote meal services and benefits to students and families 
  • Provide meals that are appealing and attractive to children
  • Follow all safety protocols as established by HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) for the storage, preparation, and service of foods

Allergies and Special Diets 
To accommodate students that may have special dietary needs due to handicaps, disabilities and/or food allergies, Student Nutrition Services will make alterations and substitutions in meal choices (Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973). The Department works closely with School Health Services, staff, and parents to prevent allergic reactions and/or accommodate disabilities for all students with needs. A Diet Prescription form for specialized meals is required to be completed by the child’s physician and kept on file. A Meal Preference Form is available for students that require non-medical dietary needs such as food intolerances and food preferences due to religious and/or cultural beliefs. 

Staff Qualifications 
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required USDA to create professional standards for all school nutrition program directors, managers and staff effective July 1, 2015.  Mandatory annual training hours are set based upon job category. Student Nutrition Services will provide resources to meet or exceed the minimum amount of required training hours.   Attendance and completion of training will be tracked and monitored to ensure compliance with federal rules. 

Student Feedback
Opportunities will be provided to students to provide feedback about their school meal program.  Prior to bid solicitation, students will participate in evaluating new products and recipes through taste testing, food shows, school culinary demonstrations, and weekly food sampling events.

Dining Environment
Dining areas will be attractive, clean, and safe and have enough space to accommodate students who are assigned to each meal period.  Meal schedules in all schools will be "student-centered” in order for all students to have time to be served and to consume a meal. 
  • All schools will offer breakfast that will be scheduled to provide at least 10 minutes for students to eat.  Alternative breakfast serving models to include Breakfast in the Classroom and Second Chance Breakfast are encouraged in order to give all students the opportunity to start their day with a healthy meal. 
  • If a student arrives at school on the school bus less than 15 minutes before the first bell rings, the school must allow the student at least 15 minutes to eat breakfast as required by Florida State Statute 595.405(5).
  • Schools will accommodate tardy students with a breakfast.
  • Lunch periods will be scheduled between the times of 10:00 and 2:00 and provide students with the opportunity for at least 20 minutes to eat, beginning from the time the student has received their meal. 
  • Schools will eliminate any stigma attached to those students who are eligible for free and reduced priced school meals.  Overt identification of students is prohibited.

To promote hydration; free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students during the school day and throughout every school campus. During mealtimes, sites will make drinking water available where school meals are served.  Students will be allowed to carry bottles, filled only with water, throughout the school day.

Competitive Foods and Beverages
All foods and beverages outside the reimbursable school meal programs that are sold to students on the school campus during the school day will meet or exceed the Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards, USDA Healthy Hunger-Free Kid Act, 7 CFR 210.11.  These standards will apply at all locations where foods and beverages are sold during the school day, which will include, but not be limited to, à la carte options in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, club sales, snack carts, food trucks, and food delivery services.  The district is responsible for the maintenance of records that document compliance with the nutrition standards for all competitive food available for sale to students in areas that are outside the control of Student Nutrition Services.  At a minimum, records must include receipts, nutrition labels and/or product specifications for the competitive food available for sale to students.

Fundraising rules for schools are dictated by Florida State Statute 5P-1.003(1)(c). Any nonfood item, and food or beverage that meets USDA Smart Snacks in Schools, may be sold through fundraisers on the school campus during the school day.  Food and beverage fundraisers held outside of the school day (such as concessions) or for foods not intended for consumption at school are not subject to nutrition standards. 

During the school day, sites are permitted to offer fundraisers exempt from Smart Snack nutrition standards, but are not to exceed the following maximum number of school days per year, as specified below: 

School TypeMaximum Number of School Days to Conduct Exempted Fundraisers
Elementary Schools5 Days/Year per school
Middle Schools10 Days/Year per school
High Schools15 Days/Year per school
K-8 Schools10 Days/Year per school

School Type Maximum Number of School Days to Conduct Exempted Fundraisers
Elementary Schools 5 Days/Year per school
Middle Schools 10 Days/Year per school
High Schools 15 Days/Year per school
K-8 Schools 10 Days/Year per school
Outside caterers, food trucks, and other food vendors that come to school sites during the school day must be licensed with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, must sell only food that meets smart snacks, must not be sold during meal periods, and must provide ingredient information, prior to any food being serving sold.  

Celebrations and Classroom Rewards
All foods offered to students will support a healthy and safe environment, even during celebrations with food provided free of charge to one or more students.  
  • Class parties and/or celebrations will be held after the lunch period. Schools will limit "food-based” celebrations (e.g. provided by parents) to no more than one party per class per month
  • School sponsored "food-based” celebrations (e.g. provided by site administrators) can be offered as student incentives and may be held at the discretion of school administration at any time during the day.  
  • Class celebratory food brought by parents or food provided by administrators for student incentives must be pre¬packaged and factory ¬sealed, with the ingredient label visible on the individual/original packaging. 
  • Foods and beverages will not be used as a reward, or withheld as punishment for any reason.

Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools
Schools will market and advertise only those foods and beverages that meet or exceed USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards.  Marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors are encouraged, such as: vending machine covers promoting water, pricing structures that encourage choosing healthy food items, sales of fruit for fundraisers, and coupons for discounted gym memberships.

Student Services
School Counseling Services, School Health Services, School Psychological Services, and School Social Work Services promote student success in HCPS by focusing on prevention, intervention, and post intervention strategies that support the mental, behavioral, and social-emotional health of students.  

School Counseling Services
A comprehensive School Counseling program fosters the academic, career, and personal/social development of students so that they become productive and responsible citizens in a diverse and global community.  School counselors interact not only with students, but also with parents, teachers, administrators, and outside agencies and organizations in order to provide the best educational environment and opportunities for all students. 

School Health Services
Health Services staff will focus on supporting and improving student’s health and wellbeing through Health Screenings, Disease Prevention, Early Detection Services, and Community Health Resources for Schools.  School Health Services will provide schools with qualified staff who have the appropriate credentials for administering medications and following protocols.  The National Association of School Nurses, (NASN) as well as The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends a minimum of one full time Registered Nurse in every school (Policy statement May 23rd, 2016).  Based on these recommendations, HCPS will strive to meet these same recommendations.

Health Screenings in schools are a crucial component in protecting the health of students.  They include: Vision, Hearing, Body Mass Index (BMI), Dental/Oral, and Scoliosis.  These screenings are mandatory for students upon first-time enrollment in a Florida school, and continue to be done at specified ages and/or grades.  Vision screenings are done in grades kindergarten, 1st, 3rd and 6th; Hearing screenings are done in grades kindergarten, 1st and 6th; Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings will be done in 1st, 3rd, 6th   and 9th; Scoliosis screening is performed for all students in 6th grade. Oral health education and oral health screenings are provided to Head Start students and Title One students by a licensed dentist or registered hygienist.  

School Health Services will coordinate with Student Nutrition Services on providing special diets.  They will assist in the plan of care for students who need special care, after being cleared to return to school.  They will work with school administrators for the provision of breastfeeding rooms for pumping and storage.

School Psychological Services
Each public school in the district is assigned a school psychologist who will work at the site on a part-time or full-time basis.  School psychologists are integral members of school-based teams that define academic and behavioral difficulties, develop and select evidence-based interventions, monitor students’ response to interventions, and use the data to assist the team in educational planning for students.  Services provided by school psychologists also include psychoeducational evaluation, short-term counseling, professional development for educators, and resources for parents.  

In addition to participating on various teams that address the academic needs of students, school psychologists support students individually and in small groups with the provision of mental health services.  Short-term counseling and crisis counseling may address issues such as:  academic achievement, anger management, anxiety, mindfulness, grief, interpersonal relationships, resiliency factors, and coping strategies.  

School psychologists collaborate with other Student Services personnel (e.g., school counselors and school social workers) to implement mental health awareness programs for students and instructional staff, as well as suicide prevention initiatives.  Select school psychologists and social workers are trained in grief counseling and serve on the district’s Crisis Intervention Team to help students, school staff, and families cope in the aftermath of a tragedy.  

School psychologists have earned advanced degrees in graduate level programs that emphasize education and psychology. All HCPS school psychologists are certified by the Florida Department of Education or licensed by the Florida Department of Health.  Psychologists are encouraged to earn additional credentials in areas such as applied behavior analysis, neuropsychology, and crisis intervention.  .  

School Social Work Services
Each school is assigned a school social worker to support the unique and individual needs of that site.  School social workers are crucial in linking school, home, and community together to help facilitate student success.  They seek to ensure equitable education opportunities; ensure that students are mentally, physically, and emotionally present in the classroom; and promote respect and dignity for all students.   They aid in overcoming barriers and identifying prevention and intervention services to promote student social and emotional wellness.  

Services provided by school social workers include crisis intervention and counseling, strengthening and supporting parent and family involvement, planning and developing school-based interventions with educators, completing social developmental histories as part of a multidisciplinary evaluation, engaging community resources, leading schools in the development of resource maps identifying internal and external resources, and assessing the need for special services.  School social workers are often involved in helping students and their families with learning, behavior, mental health and/or attendance concerns while strengthening home, school, and community partnerships.

School social work is a specialized area of practice within the field of the social work profession.  School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school setting.  School social workers in the District have a Masters of Social Work (MSW) earned from a graduate school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.   Social Workers are certified by the Florida Department of Education as School Social Workers. Social workers are encouraged to become Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW).

Employee Wellness
Nurturing school employees’ physical and mental health protects school staff, and by doing so, helps support students’ academic success.  Healthy school employees serve as powerful role models for students by helping students focus attention on their own health.  We will cultivate support for a healthy employee environment by engaging stakeholders and leaders at all levels throughout the district, including Wellbeing4U Champions and PTA/PTSA.

HCPS provides resources that support the pillars of wellbeing for all employees and their families; physical, emotional, social, and financial health.  All benefit-eligible employees are encouraged to participate in a variety of wellness programs.  This includes health screenings, flu shots, health counselors, wellness rewards with incentive opportunities, and discounts on healthy foods at grocery stores.  Health screenings provide the opportunity for employees to discuss with a district wellbeing coordinator the many free services available under the Employee Assistance Plan.

Community Involvement and Family Engagement
Community groups, organizations, and local businesses create partnerships with school, share resources, and volunteer to support student learning, development, and health-related activities and other community groups.  HCPS will maintain and develop relationships with community partners to support the implementation of this wellness policy and partnerships and sponsorships will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with the goals of this wellness policy

Families and school staff will work together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of students.  HCPS will promote to parents/caregivers, families, and the general community the benefits of prevention and awareness for social, emotional, and healthy lifestyles. HCPS will use a variety of notifications to ensure that all families are informed of opportunities to participate in school-sponsored activities that center around the health and wellbeing of students.
Revised May 15, 2018

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