Food and Food Education
- The food we serve students in our school meal programs, in classroom celebrations, sold in school or during fundraisers reflects our values.
- Every student has access to a healthy and nutritious breakfast and lunch.
- All foods and beverages served in the school meal program meet or exceed the requirements of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.
- Food is not used as a punishment. Food should not routinely be used as a reward, and is only an acceptable reward when offered as an instructional device as a result of careful thought in collaboration with a school administrator.
- When classroom celebrations involve food, we approach this as an opportunity to teach and model healthy food choices, using our food values to prioritize food offered. We do not celebrate individual birthdays with food. (Bellingham prioritized food values to follow, developed by the Wellness Policy Implementation Team.)
- Food served, sold, or marketed at school meet our food values. These values govern:
1. Snacks that are not part of a federally reimbursed child nutrition program, during the school day and extended school day (extended school day defined as from midnight the morning before school begins and until 30 minutes after school ends).
2. Food and beverages served during celebrations, during the school day and extended school day.
3. Food and beverages sold to students during the extended school day must meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. This includes but is not limited to vending machines, school stores, snack or food carts.
4. Fundraising efforts. Fundraising efforts during school hours may sell only non-food items or only foods and beverages that meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
5. Food sales—in student stores or fundraising—may not compete with the school meal program.
2. Our staff is trained and prepared to help students foster healthy relationships with food. School food services staff meet or exceed the annual continuing education/training hours required by the USDA Professional Standards requirements.
3. The environment where we serve food reflects our values. To foster a healthy relationship with food, we recognize the dining hall as a classroom, and we respect opportunities for best learning. Students are allowed at least 10 minutes to eat breakfast and at least 20 minutes to eat lunch, counting from the time they have received their meal and are seated.
- Elementary recess is before lunch.
- Food may be eaten in the classroom, except when unsafe, as in a science lab classroom.
4. In our schools, students are introduced to food and nutrition education, allowing them to develop lifelong healthy behaviors. Our nutrition education standards meet or exceed the Washington State Health Education standards. Students learn where food comes from and how it is grown, as well as how to make healthy choices and how nutrition impacts their bodies and growth and development.
- We foster a culture of health and wellness.
- Physical education is an essential academic subject. Physical education in Bellingham Public Schools is developmentally appropriate and meets or exceeds Washington State Physical Education K-12 Learning Standards .
- All students have equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes. We make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and adapt physical education classes and equipment as necessary.
- A key strategy of The Bellingham Promise is “great teaching with strong support.” The expectations for excellence are consistent for all educators in the system.
a. Physical education teachers have the professional development, classroom time, space and equipment they need to excel in their jobs.
- Physical activity is an essential part of the school day. Students are encouraged and enabled to be active as much as possible.
- Physical activity includes: active time before school; during recess; in the classroom, including physical education class; and after school activities.
- Physical activity helps students learn. It should be accessible to all students. Withholding physical activity should not be routinely used as a punishment. Physical activity is encouraged as a reward.
- Physical activity complements and does not replace physical education.
- We meet or exceed Washington state standards for adequate recess minutes.
- Recess before lunch is a best practice encouraged in Bellingham Public Schools.
- Active transport to schools is encouraged.
- Staff model positive behavior in our schools. Our district supports staff in being physically active, encouraging physical activity during class time, and providing opportunities to be active alongside students.
- Bellingham invites community use of school physical activity facilities outside of school hours. Shared use agreements are available for community partners to be able to access Bellingham Public Schools facilities.