An advisory committee for Shoreline Unified School District is expanding the focus of education beyond what can be taught in a classroom to broader lessons about nutritional eating, physical education and mental well-being. At the May board meeting, trustees unanimously approved new student wellness policies, a 12-page document that has been developed by the committee over the year to guide school sites toward healthier student bodies.
A 2004 Congressional mandate required all districts that receive federal reimbursements for a school lunch program to draft wellness policies. “That’s our job,” said trustee Jill Manning-Sartori, who has been spearheading the district’s efforts, “but we think it’s much broader that that. Wellness is a critical part of a child’s education. If they haven’t eaten a good breakfast, it’s hard to learn in school. If they are suffering from health problems, then it’s going to affect their performance. We’ve taken the view that the whole child is important to focus on.”
The policies call for “fresh, healthy, minimally processed food”—local and organic, whenever possible—to be served in the cafeterias and for zero waste by 2016 through recycling and composting. Some of the work of implementation is already underway: committee members are pursuing grants; the county will provide nutritional seminars during summer school and a course on sugar consumption, “Rethink Your Drink,” in the fall; a pilot program to better manage time between food and play will begin at Tomales Elementary School; and a partnership with Conservation Corps North Bay will help student “Green Teams” toward the zero-waste goal.