Student Wellness Procedures
In the 2019-20 school year, we finished the implementation of our Student Wellness Procedures with a focus on the food provided by parents and teachers for classroom and school celebrations as well as food-based fundraisers conducted at school. Together, we commit to doing our part to help our students become smarter, happier, and healthier.
Check out this great video from our colleagues at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. It explains the long term impact of all of our classroom and school celebrations and gives great ideas for alternative celebrations.
On July 1, 2014, Montana adopted the standards required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Student Wellness Procedures in Schools Rule, to improve student health with nutrition. The Student Wellness Procedures in Schools Rule was established by the USDA to include science-based nutritional standards for all foods and beverages sold to students in school during the school day. These standards support efforts by school food service staff, school administrators, teachers, parents and the school community, who all work together to instill healthy habits in students.
Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) works with parents, teachers, doctors, dietitians, and our community through our Graduation Matters Missoula (GMM) Student Wellness Council to recognize student nutrition is a key component to student achievement and graduation. Healthy kids have higher attendance rates, higher test scores and behave better in class. Schools can help students be ready to learn by offering healthy snacks -- including whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Montana schools are expected to be in compliance with the Student Wellness Procedures in Schools Rule by July 1, 2015. Since 2015, we have been implementing these rules with a focus on our school nutrition program, school stores, and food sold in vending machines. We have seen great success due to our efforts!
- We have implemented morning move at four elementary schools
- Teachers at all elementary schools use Brain Breaks to ensure students get 10 minutes of exercise every 60 minutes during the school day
- We have Safe Routes to school maps that encourage walking and biking to school.
- PTA/PTOs also organize walking school buses at some of our elementary schools
- All food served at breakfast and lunch by our Food and Nutrition Services meets or exceeds all USDA guidelines.
- We use wholegrain products including Wheat Montana Prairie Gold Flour in our scratch baking at the Central Kitchen.
- We use reduced fat products when possible.
- We work closely with a registered dietitian and the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) organization to have all of our recipes analyzed for nutrition standards.
- We continue to optimize our recipes for flavor and health benefits.
- We collaborate with Garden City Harvest to grow, harvest, and process items that are then used in our school lunch program.
- The kale grown in our gardens at the Central Kitchen is dried into kale chips. These chips are served to students and crumbled into tomato sauce products giving students a boost in Vitamin K.
- Starting in October, we will start serving ground beef raised and processed by our MCPS Ag Program on South Avenue.
All of these changes in our food and nutrition programs and in student activity policies are about:
- Getting kids moving more during the school day
- Providing nutritious meals, snacks, and concessions
- Creating safer environments for kids with severe food allergies, medical conditions, or other dietary restrictions
- Making it easier to be active and healthy beyond the school day
- Helping to create smarter, happier kids and a healthier community!
The MCPS Student Wellness Committee started audits of the school stores and coffee carts within our high schools in the 2015-16 school year and we complete them once per year. The findings of these audits are available on request to Carol Ewen (406)728-2400, ext. 1053 or email email@example.com.