This article is from the Extension Connection newsletter, Spring 2006.
Local school districts across the country have until June 30, 2006, to establish school wellness policies that will be put into effect for the 2006-2007 school year. With guidance from Iowa State University Extension, many Iowa school districts are well on their way to meeting the federal mandate with a completed wellness policy.
The Gilbert Community School District is one such district. Superintendent John Kinley said, “ISU Extension is one of the sponsoring organizations for this work with wellness policies, and our nutrition specialist knew our district well. Her expertise was invaluable.”
Ruth Litchfield, an ISU Extension nutrition specialist and registered dietitian, worked with the Gilbert district. She said, “By law, schools are required to have a community partner on the wellness policy committee. ISU Extension serves as that community partner with nutrition and health field specialists who have received resources and training about requirements for the policy.”
School wellness policies must include nutrition education and physical activity goals, as well as nutrition guidelines for all foods available at a school.
ISU Extension provides training sessions for school district personnel covering requirements of the law and direction on conducting a school assessment, writing realistic and attainable goals, and implementing and designing a monitoring and evaluation process.
Litchfield said that approximately 70 percent of Iowa school districts have participated in training sessions, and about 60 of those districts are using an online assessment tool that ISU Extension provides.
School districts may contact any ISU Extension county office or nutrition and health field specialist for assistance with their wellness policies.