School Food and Wellness Update

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear Families and Community,

I hope your family’s school year is off to a great start –it’s hard to believe this is our third week already!

I wanted to take a moment to update you on our work connected to food, nutrition, physical education and wellness. This summer, I received a recommendation from our Wellness Policy Advisory Group. Thank you to the passionate staff, parents and community members who engaged in this important work.

The group focused its recommendation in four areas: food, food education, physical education and physical activity to develop policy 3440 and procedure.

Regarding food and food education, I want to give a special shout out to our food services staff. They have been working hard to deliver on our new menus and many other improvements in our food services program that will help us reach this vision in future years: We encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by serving students nourishing, delicious, whole foods in a welcoming environment.

We will need the help of our PTAs and families to work closely with their principals and teachers to help implement these wellness procedures for classroom celebrations. We’ve had procedures in place since 2005 for classroom celebrations, but implementation was not consistent across our schools. Many members of our Wellness Policy Advisory Group will continue to work with us throughout this school year on the implementation goals, including those related to physical activity and education, which will take additional resources and planning prior to full implementation.

The Whatcom Community Foundation has been one of our key partners in this work. You may recall that they are co-funding our wellness director position, filled by Jessica Sankey who led this wellness policy work. Jessica has also been supporting staff to transform our food services program in preparation for the opening of our central kitchen for more made-from-scratch cooking. I am pleased to announce that the Whatcom Community Foundation has agreed to co-fund a food services leadership position to join our existing team. Our goal is to find a person who has had past experience in this area and can help us realize our food services vision. We are grateful for this support!  It will allow our wellness director to focus on the numerous other important areas of wellness such as physical education, the social/emotional health of our children and employee wellness, and at the same time, add capacity to our entire food services team.

We know that children who eat healthy meals every day and exercise are more likely to excel, not to mention that it’s easier to focus and learn. What we feed our kids matters. We’re excited to be making the shift to viewing our cafeteria and playgrounds as instructional spaces to develop healthy, active individuals.

Wishing you a happy and healthy weekend,

Greg Baker