Board approves changes to health and wellness policy

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 19, 2017

The Albert Lea School Board had the final reading of the district’s new health and wellness policy on Monday. The board unanimously approved the policy with no discussion.

The original policy was written in 2006 and has since been edited to match the goals of the district.

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The purpose of the policy is to assure a school environment that promotes and protects students’ health, well-being and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.

Although many of the changes made were simple language clarifications, there are a few concrete changes that the school district will institute in the upcoming school year.

Examples of the changes are displaying nutritional posters in the cafeteria and only marketing foods that meet or exceed the USDA’s Smart Snacks nutrition standards during the school day.

According to the policy, the district will also provide information to families to encourage consumption of healthy food and use the Cornell College Smarter Lunchroom Self-Assessment Scorecard tool to determine the ways to improve school meals environments.

With the new policy, the district will also implement at least one Smart Lunchroom technique at each school. The scorecard and more information on Smart Lunchroom techniques can be found at

More highlights to the changes in the policy

Topics included in the wellness policy are food and beverages, school food service program and personnel, nutrition education and promotion, physical activity and communications with parents. Most of the changes of the policy occurred within the nutrition education and promotion section.

Chartwells Food Services representative and director of food services in School District 241 Doyle Forster listed highlights of the most recent changes in food service in the district, including installing open-air coolers, posters and literature with healthy themes in the lunchroom, ideas to reduce waste in the cafeteria and food tasting tables in some schools in the district. These changes are examples of Smart Lunchroom techniques that have been started in Albert Lea.

General statements or goals of the policy that have not changed are listed below:

The school board recognizes that nutrition education and physical education are essential components of the educational process and that good health fosters student attendance and education.

The school environment should promote and protect students’ health, well-being and ability to learn by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.

The school district encourages the involvements of students, parents, teachers, food service staff and other interested persons in implementing, monitoring and reviewing school district nutrition and physical activity policies.

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

All students will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.

School District 241 personnel will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students.

About Evelyn Seffinga

Evelyn Seffinga covers education and arts and culture for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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