Student Wellness Policy

St. Francis School strives to contribute to the general well being, mental and physical capacity and learning ability of each student while affording them the opportunity to fully participate in the educational process.

St. Francis is committed to providing a school environment that promotes and protects students’ health, safety, well-being, and ability to learn by encouraging and supporting healthy eating and safe physical activity. Healthy eating should be life-long for it is linked to reduced risk of mortality and the development of some chronic diseases.

A School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), established in March, 2018, meets once a semester during the school year. Board members are: Raquel Cisneros (parent and physician), Reyna Garcia (parent and public health nurse), Madeline Lyon (Principal), Abigail Montoya (kitchen staff), Marjorie Brooks (teacher). Ms. Lyon will oversee Wellness Policy compliance and implementation.

The Wellness Policy will be available on the school website and in the Student/Parent Handbook. 

Implementation and evaluation of the Wellness Policy shall be within the purview of the Board. To ensure the health and well being of all students, the Board shall help promote and monitor student wellness in the following areas: Nutrition Guidelines, Nutrition Education, Physical Activities, and Other School-Based Activities.

Nutrition Guideline:

 All foods available in the school during the day will promote student health and the reduction of childhood obesity. All guidelines for reimbursable meals shall not be less restrictive than regulations and guidelines issued by the Secretary of Agriculture which are applicable to schools. This is in accordance with the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) and the Child Nutrition Act (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.), as amended.

The school follows the menu guidelines of the Federal breakfast and lunch program. The student/parent handbook states that lunches brought from home are to follow the same guidelines. Only milk or water (unflavored) is an acceptable beverage and no candy, cookies, etc., are permitted. Teachers monitor food brought from home. Parents/guardians are encouraged to provide fresh fruit and vegetables in lunches provided by them. 

For fundraising activities, only fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles, or cheese sticks may be sold. These items may only be sold after school. Classroom parties are limited to Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  Teachers are asked to minimize sweets on those days. A party favor and/or healthy snack (e.g., fresh fruit) is a possible substitute for birthday celebrations.  Classroom snacks provided by parents must follow the same guidelines.

The snack program was added in school year 2019-2020. It follows the federal guidelines: 2 items and choice of milk. 

Nutrition Education

Nutrition education shall be appropriate to the student’s age and culture. Nutrition education is incorporated into the health curriculum. St. Francis School uses the Studies Weekly health education program in grades K-6 and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s health series for grades 7 & 8. The School, a private, Catholic school, uses the health education standards developed by the Diocese of Gallup. These standards incorporate New Mexico standards.

Sex education, appropriate education in substance abuse of all kinds, physical activity, disease prevention, nutrition, emotional well-being, and others are all included in the curriculum.

At all times during the school day, potable water and disposable cups are available for students either in the classroom or in the food service area. 

The goal of St. Francis of Assisi School is to send messages on healthy eating using the posters published by the CDC, both in the classroom and in the serving line area. A food group is to be featured each month, e.g., vegetable month, with focused information on items in the food group.

St. Francis School includes a page in the enrollment packet for parents to inform us of any food allergies. From this information, a list is made and given to the kitchen staff and the teachers so that those foods are kept out of menus and classroom snacks.

Physical Activity

Physical Activity: Physical activity helps to maintain physical fitness. The Physical Education program provides the opportunities for students to learn physical skills, to be physically active and to enjoy of physical activity. Recesses are another opportunity for physical activity. Teachers may never deprive a student of recess as a method of discipline.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an hour a day of physical activity. To reach this goal, St. Francis School will provide 5 minutes of stretching, walking, and other light activities in the morning before classes begin. During the school day, in addition to recess, teachers are to take the time for stretching, a brief walk outside when weather permits, etc., once every hour. After school, most students participate in a sport: track, basketball, volley ball, Tai Kwan Do, tumbling. The physical education class will be counted as part of the hour required, on the day it is taught.

Other School-Based Activities

Fundraising activities during the school day shall only include healthy food such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Sports programs are encouraged to use only water for athletes rather than high sugar beverages.

Evaluation

The SHAC shall evaluate the Student Wellness Policy once a semester annually. The evaluation tool is currently under construction. As part of the evaluation, teachers will track student activity.