Our Wellness Policy
In 2004, Congress passed a law (P.L. 108 - 265) that stated law each local educational agency participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) shall establish a local school Wellness Policy by School Year 2006. The Wellness Policy is intended to recognize the critical role schools play in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
The legislation places the responsibility of developing a Wellness Policy at the local level, so that the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts are required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Harvard School of Public Health interns Noor Riaz and Shivani Patel took the lead in helping Codman Academy develop our own internal Wellness Policy, beginning in February 2007. We first discussed the Wellness Policy with Dr. Steven Gortmaker, Harvard School of Public Health Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology, who has extensive experience with school nutrition. He recommended the Action for Healthy Kids website as a resource for developing the Wellness Policy, which provides tools for creating a Wellness Policy. We also researched other school’s Wellness Policies, including Boston Public Schools’ Policy, before we created the first draft.
Feedback was solicited from Codman's Executive Director Meg Campbell, Principal Thabiti Brown, Wellness Director Mbakwe Okafor, Nutritionist Dr. Susanna Bedell, and Codman students. The students were able to offer valuable insight regarding how current nutrition practices within the school impact them and offered suggestion for future directions.
Additionally we solicited input from the parents of students by sending an email with the Wellness Policy draft attached. Comments from the parents included:
“Having worked with the school district on the Wellness Policy and having a bit of experience teaching students nutrition and good eating habits, this is a huge coup and such an important part of the school. When kids aren't well nourished -- it is harder for them to learn!”
“[Students need] real education about how to manage the business of life - how to reset the mind, how to handle the pressures, how to take responsibility in a joyful way in life. This is a great opportunity to set good habits while students are still young enough.”
“This is an excellent idea one that will broaden the minds of our youth, and hopefully, educate the community as well.”
The Wellness Policy is truly a partnership between the school, students, faculty, parents and public health. Check it out here!