Wellness Policy Oct 14, 2019


Whereas, children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive;

Whereas, good health fosters student attendance and education;

Whereas, obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades, and physical inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood.

Whereas, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the United States, and major risk factors for those diseases, including unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood.

Whereas, 33% of high school students do not participate in sufficient vigorous physical activity and 72% of high school students do not attend daily physical education classes;

Whereas, only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) eat a healthy diet consistent with the five main recommendations from the Food Guide Pyramid;

Whereas, nationally, the items most commonly sold from school vending machines, school stores, and snack bars include low-nutrition foods and beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, imitation fruit juices, chips, candy, cookies, and snack cakes;

Whereas, school districts around the country are facing significant fiscal and scheduling constraints; and

Whereas, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful school wellness policies;

Thus, Marian Catholic High School, is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of Marian Catholic High School that:

  • The school district will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing district-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in grades 9-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, Marian Catholic High School will participate in available federal school meal programs.
  • Our school will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.



  1.   School Health Councils

Marian Catholic High School will create, strengthen, or work within existing school health councils to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The councils also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies. (A school health council consists of a group of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, members of the school board, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, and members of the public.

  1.   Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and Served on Campus

School Meals

Meals served through the National School Lunch Program will:

  • Be appealing and attractive to children;
  • Be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • Meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations;
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • Serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA); and
  • Ensure that half of the served grains are whole grain.

Schools should engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys, in selecting foods sold through the school meal programs in order to identify new, healthful, and appealing food choices. In addition, schools should share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. Such information could be made available on menus, a website, on cafeteria menu boards, placards, or other point-of-purchase materials.

Breakfast:   To help ensure all children have breakfast in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn

  • Schools will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means

Free and Reduced-Priced Meals:   Marian Catholic High School will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals and promote the availability of school meals to all children.

Meal Times and Scheduling:   Marian High School will provide students with at least 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch;

  • School should meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 10:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.;
  • Should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities;
  • Will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and
  • Should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).

Qualifications of School Food Service Staff:   Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the school meal programs. As part of the school’s responsibility to operate a food service program, we will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in schools. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, school nutrition managers, and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility.

Sharing of Foods and Beverages and Nutrition Guidelines

Marian High School will discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.

Food choices available at Marian High School during the school day shall be offered to students with consideration for promoting student health and wellness. Competitive foods, i.e. foods offered at school through the National School Lunch Program, shall include healthy choice options. This includes a la carte items, snacks and beverages, vending foods and school store foods.

Fundraising Activities:   Marian High School will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.

Rewards:  Schools will not use foods or beverages; especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above), as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment.

School Sponsored Events (such as, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances).  Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day will include healthy choice options, such as but not limited to, bottled water and low fat, sodium and sugar snacks.

III.   Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

Nutrition Education and Promotion: Marian High School aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • Is offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
  • Is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • Includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities;
  • Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
  • Links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services.
  • Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing.
  • Includes training for teachers and other staff

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting:   For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:

  • Classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
  • Opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons, and; 
  • Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.

Communication with Parents:   The school will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school will send home nutrition information and post nutrition tips on school websites. Schools should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages.

The school will provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school. Such support will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a website, newsletter, or other take-home materials, special events, or physical education homework.

Food Marketing in Schools:   School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. As such, schools will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of food and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above). School-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages is prohibited. The promotion of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products in encouraged.

Examples of marketing techniques include the following: logos and brand names on/in books or curricula, textbook covers, school supplies, scoreboards, school structures, and sports equipment; educational incentive programs that provide food as a reward; programs that provide schools with supplies when families buy low-nutrition food products; in school television, such as Channel One; and free samples or coupons.

Staff Wellness:   Marian Catholic High School highly values the health and well being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Marian Catholic High School should maintain a staff wellness committee composed of an administrator and at least three other staff members. The committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff.


  1.   Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

Physical Education (P.E.) 9-12:   All students in grades 9-12, including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive physical education according to the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. A certified physical education teacher will teach all physical education. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g., interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School:   Marian Catholic High School will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs or intramural programs in addition to interscholastic sports programs. Schools will offer a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including boys, girls, students with disabilities, and students with special health-care needs.

Physical Activity and Punishment:   Teachers and other school and community personnel will not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

Use of School Facilities Outside of School Hours:   School spaces and facilities should be available to students, staff, and community members before, during, and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacations. These spaces and facilities also should be available to community agencies and organizations offering physical activity and nutrition programs. School policies concerning safety will apply at all times.

  1.   Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring: The principal or designee will ensure compliance with established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies.

School food service staff will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the school principal or designee. In addition, the school will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If the school has not received an SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, the district will request from the state agency that an SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.

Policy Review:   To help with the initial development of a wellness policy the school will conduct a baseline assessment of existing nutrition and physical activity environments and policies. The results of this assessment will be used to identify and prioritize needs.

Assessments will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school will receive its nutrition and physical activity policies; provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity; and nutrition and physical education policies and program elements. The school will, as necessary, revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation. 

Policy Revised 9.10.19



Any interested stakeholder who has an interest in as well as any questions or concerns regarding Marian Catholic High School’s Wellness Policy should contact the Marian Catholic High School principal in writing via email using jsusko@mariancatholichs.org or mailing a letter of interest to Marian Catholic High School, 166 Marian Avenue, Tamaqua, PA 18252.