All students and staff are and feel healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and challenged.
MMSD recognizes that physical, social, and emotional health are linked to academic achievement and college, career, and community readiness. Students learn better in healthy schools with healthy employees.
We believe that it is our responsibility to create learning environments that foster health and well-being for all students and employees.
Superintendent’s Wellness Advisory
As we work to create healthier and safer schools for students and staff in MMSD and continue to implement the district’s Wellness Policy, a new Superintendent’s Wellness Advisory was formed earlier in the 2023-2024 school year. This merges the former District Wellness Advisory Council (DWAC) and advances the Board of Education Safety and Wellness Ad Hoc Committee’s top recommendation of a Superintendent’s Advisory Panel.
- I. Preamble/Purpose
- II. District Wellness Advisory Council
- III. Implementation, Monitoring, and Accountability
- IV. Nutrition Services & Environment
- VI. Physical Education & Physical Activity
- VII. Health Services
- VIII. School Culture & Climate
- IX. School Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work Services
- X. Physical Environment
- XI. Staff Wellbeing
- XII. Youth Voice
- XIII. Family Engagement
- XIV. Community Involvement & Partnerships
It is the vision of the Board of Education that all students and staff are and feel healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and challenged. The Board recognizes that physical, social-emotional, and mental health are linked to academic achievements and college, career, and community readiness. Students learn better in healthy schools with healthy staff. We believe that it is our responsibility to create healthy and just school environments where students, staff, and families thrive.
As a system committed to anti-racism and equity, we seek to disrupt health inequities and eliminate disparities so that our entire learning community achieves optimal health and wellbeing. This Wellness Policy outlines the District’s unified and collaborative approach to ensuring that the district and schools promote health and well-being for all students and staff throughout the school day. Efforts to support the Whole Child are guided by the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community model (WSCC), which aims to align school improvement endeavors to ensure the optimal health and academic success of all students. This policy applies to all students, staff, and schools/buildings in the district. Specific measurable goals and outcomes are identified within each section.
A. The Superintendent’s designee and the Wellness Coordinator will convene an active, ongoing District Wellness Advisory Council (DWAC) that meets regularly to participate in the development, implementation, review, and update of the Wellness Policy.
B. Intentional efforts will be made to ensure the DWAC represents the diversity of the school community with the participation of stakeholders including but not limited to students, families, staff, representatives of the school food authority, teachers of physical education, school health professionals, school board members, school administrators, health care medical advisors, mental health professionals, and the general public.
The Superintendent (and/or designee) is responsible for ensuring that the Wellness Policy is implemented throughout the district’s schools. Principals and building-level administration will ensure compliance at their site. Principals and building-level administration will designate a staff member on the school/site-based leadership team that will serve as the school’s point person connecting the school/site to district-level wellness communications and programming and serve as an advocate to promote school wellness for students and staff within school-level decision-making processes. At the district level, departments will work collaboratively to support schools with the implementation of the policy as well as the development, review, and updates to the policy.
B. Assessment of Progress & Accountability:
Every three years, the District will take part in and report the results of its triennial assessment, which includes tools to assess the quality of the Wellness Policy language in alignment with the USDA Final Rule, school/district compliance, and progress made in attaining the goals of the Wellness Policy.
The District will retain records to document the presence of and compliance with the Wellness Policy, including by not limited to:
1. Current and previous Board-approved Wellness Policy
2. Documentation demonstrating the Wellness Policy has been available to the public
3. Most recent district and school-level assessment of the implementation
4. Documentation of efforts to review and update the Wellness Policy
D. Policy Updates:
The Wellness Policy will be reviewed and revised at least every three years in accordance with the requirements of Board Policy 1301. Edits will be based on the results of the triennial assessment, district priorities, stakeholder input, school and community needs, emerging scientific information, and/or new federal or state regulations.
E. Notification to the Public:
In accordance with Board of Education notice requirements, the District will create accessible communication and actively inform families, staff, and community members each year of basic information about the Wellness Policy including but not limited to:
1. Policy content and any updates
2. District and school-level implementation progress
3. Names and contact information of the district and school leaders coordinating the DWAC
4. Information on DWAC involvement and the Wellness Policy revision process
A. School Meals:
All schools within the District shall participate in USDA child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Families will be provided information annually about eligibility for free/reduced meal prices. The District will ensure that a child's eligibility status is not disclosed at any point in the process of providing free or reduced-price meals, including notification of the availability of free or reduced-price benefits, certification and notification of eligibility, provision of meals in the cafeteria, and the point of service. Students with unpaid balances will be given regular reimbursable meals and not stigmatized.
B. Nutrition Standards & Menus:
All schools within the District are committed to offering school meals that are accessible to all students and meet or exceed current nutrition requirements established by local, state, and Federal statutes, and regulations (USDA Nutrition Standards). Menus will be created/reviewed by a Registered Dietitian and will be made available on district and/or individual school websites and other electronic means. When possible, school meals will include fresh, locally-grown foods in school meals from farms engaged in sustainable practices and these foods will be promoted in the cafeteria. In practicing good food procurement methods, the District will support a regional food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible to influence the creation and availability of a local, equitable, and sustainable good food purchasing system.
C. Food & Nutrition Staff Training:
All school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff will meet or exceed hiring expectations and annual continuing education/training requirements of the USDA Professional Standards for Child Nutrition Professionals.
D. Meal Seat Time:
The District will provide students adequate time to eat with at least 10 minutes of seated time for breakfast and 20 minutes of seated time for lunch.
E. Special Dietary Needs & Allergies:
The District will accommodate special dietary needs and food allergies as required by federal regulations. Students regardless of dietary restrictions will be provided a healthy meal based on the USDA Food and Nutrition Guidelines.
F. Drinking-Water Access:
All students and staff will have access to free, safe, unflavored drinking water during mealtimes where school meals are served, and also throughout the school day and during the extended school day through water fountains, water bottle filling stations where available, and other access points in school buildings. All students and staff can bring and carry approved water bottles filled with only water in school buildings, classroom spaces, and across the school campus during the school day. All newly constructed schools and schools undergoing major renovations will have touchless water bottle filling stations installed in accordance with the following guidelines: a minimum of one water bottle filling station per 200 occupants, a minimum of one water bottle filling station on each floor and wing of a school building, and a minimum of one water bottle filling station in or near the gymnasium, outdoor recreation spaces, and other high traffic areas.
G. Standards for Foods and Beverages Sold Outside School Meals:
All foods and beverages sold outside of the school meal programs, during the school day, will meet or exceed Federal regulations for school meal nutrition standards and the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. These standards will apply in all locations and through all services where foods and beverages are sold during the school day, which may include but are not limited to à la carte, vending machines, school stores, and snack or food carts.
H. Standards for Foods Offered/Provided:
Snacks, Celebrations, and Rewards: All food and beverages served and offered to students on the school campus during the school day, outside of the school meal programs, will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Such events include school-wide or large group celebrations, parties, and whole classroom snack offerings. All food and beverages served or offered to students enrolled in Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) After Childcare and Enrichment programs will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Foods and beverages will not be used as a reward for learning or behavior, used in classroom projects as manipulative (small candies for counting), or in activities that involve students handling and possibly eating the food item. Schools are encouraged to use physical activity as a reward.
To the extent possible, fundraisers involving food and beverages taking place on the school campus during the school day, will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Schools are encouraged to participate in fundraising activities that promote healthy eating and physical activity.
J. Nutrition Education:
To the extent possible, students will receive nutrition education as a part of the sequential, comprehensive, standards-based 4K-12 Health Education curriculum. The District will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating among students through skills-based and participatory instruction. Nutrition education should include enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant activities, including but not limited to cooking demonstrations, taste tests, farm visits, and school gardens that link back to the school food environment. Where possible, nutrition education should also be integrated into other subject areas such as math, science, physical education, etc.
K. Food and Beverage Marketing & Promotion in Schools:
All foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on the school campus during the school day must meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. This includes the marketing of products on items including but not limited to the exterior of vending machines, message boards, educational materials, flyers, posters, athletic equipment and scoreboards, websites, through the school’s public announcement systems or digital media on televisions or marquees, etc. The District will help to promote healthy food and beverage choices and participation in school meal programs by using marketing and merchandising Smarter Lunchroom Techniques. Adults are encouraged to model healthy behaviors, especially on school property during the school day, and extended school day at school-sponsored meetings and events.
A. All students will have equitable access to a range of physical activity opportunities throughout the school day, including students with disabilities and students with special health care needs. Physical activity during the school day will not be withheld as punishment for any reason. Physical activity may include but is not limited to recess, classroom physical activity breaks, outdoor education, or physical education classes. Students will not be required to engage in physical activity as a behavioral consequence.
B. Physical Education:
All students K-12 will take part in sequential physical education instruction taught by a licensed/certified teacher who is endorsed to teach physical education in frequencies that meet or exceed the requirements set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) unless otherwise allowable per state law or Board policy. The physical written education curriculum, aligned to national and state standards, will provide students with learning opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote lifelong, physically active lifestyles. Instruction will be developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive, and inclusive for all students. Physical education teachers will receive annual professional learning opportunities specific to physical education/physical activity content. Students should not be pulled from physical education to receive instruction in other content areas or to provide students with interventions. Physical education teachers will provide appropriate accommodations to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities, are provided with an equal opportunity to participate in alignment with the requirements of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and as required by the IDEA, which may include the provision of Specially Designed Physical Education (SDPE).
All students will receive daily recess or space in their schedules for self-selected opportunities to engage in physical activity and/or take a break from academic work during the school day. All elementary schools will offer at least 30 minutes of recess on all regularly scheduled school days. Middle schools will work to improve scheduling to ensure students have access to 20-30 minutes of recess per day. For high schools, although the term recess might not be used, students will have access to time during their lunch block to engage in self-selected opportunities.
D. Active Classrooms:
Students will be offered regular opportunities for physical activity breaks and brain breaks during academic instruction throughout the school day.
E. Outdoor Learning:
Schools are encouraged to offer opportunities throughout the school year for all students to engage in experiential, environmental, and nature-based outdoor learning in school gardens, school forests, school natural areas, and other outdoor classrooms.
F. Before and After-School Activities:
The District will promote opportunities for all students to participate in physical activity before and/or after the school day, including school clubs and activities, MSCR programming, and intramurals or WIAA interscholastic athletics.
G. Access to Facilities:
The District encourages community use of school facilities and school use of community facilities for physical activity and wellness programming following Board Policy 6491A.
H. Active Transportation:
The District will support and promote walking, bicycling, and other forms of active transportation to and from school. All schools will work cross-departmentally with Transportation to develop and communicate School Traffic Plans to maximize the safety of students walking, biking, riding the bus, and/or carpooling to and from school. The Traffic Safety Committee will engage in collaboration with community-based organizations, including programs such as Safe Routes to Schools, and local governmental entities to maximize support to schools.
A. The District will ensure all students 4K-12 have access to Health Services in the school setting delivered by highly-qualified nurses or Advanced Practice Nurse providers. To the extent possible, all health offices will be covered by either a nurse or nurse assistant during the school day.
B. The District strives to deliver culturally responsive, and inclusive school-based services which may include:
- prevention education;
- health counseling;
- health screenings (vision, hearing, dental);
- chronic and acute disease case management (asthma, diabetes, allergies, etc.);
- first-aid and emergency care;
- coordination of care related to existing and potential health problems; and/or
- providing referrals to students and families for community health services.
A. Schools and departments will utilize a tiered approach when implementing strategies to prioritize the cultivation of just and equitable learning and working environments, where each member of the school community is treated with dignity and respect and experiences a sense of belonging, support, and safety. Schools and departments will take part in annual climate surveys to assess student, staff, and family experiences.
B. The District is committed to a strengthened and sustained focus on transformational Social Emotional Learning (SEL) making connections to students' experiences, identities, and the contexts in which they live. All students will have access to SEL learning opportunities (explicit and/or embedded) in academic content areas.
C. Schools will create learning environments that welcome and affirm the diverse identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) of students, staff, and families. The District will continue to support policies and practices focused on non-discrimination and anti-bullying as set forth in board policy.
D. The District will continue to support a whole school approach to restorative justice and practices by partnering with schools to build authentic relationships and community, transform conflict and respond to harm, and provide individual support.
A. The District will provide Student Services for the purpose of reducing barriers to learning that impact well-being to help students grow to become college, career, and community ready. Services will be delivered by qualified and trained professionals in alignment with DPI licensure requirements.
B. The District will continue to grow and sustain the tiered systems of support for social-emotional learning and mental health, in collaboration with community mental health providers.
A. The District is committed to ensuring that the school environment protects and promotes the health and safety of all students and families, and staff. Schools and departments will take part in annual climate surveys to assess student, staff, and family experiences in regard to school and building safety.
B. In newly constructed schools and buildings undergoing major renovations, the Wellness Policy and Procedures will provide guidance and be considered in conjunction with the Building Services’ plan, centering health and wellbeing in the design of spaces including but not limited to water-filling stations, restrooms, green spaces, eating spaces, etc.
C. The District will oversee the District Safety Plan and support schools in the development and implementation of individual School Safety Plans, including critical response and crisis management.
A. The District will promote systems that support a healthy work-life balance and create healthy working conditions. Schools and departments will work to establish and maintain work environments that address the physical and social-emotional health of staff.
B. Staff Wellbeing programming will be based on the needs of our schools and staff as measured in building staff climate surveys.
C. The District will engage in ongoing, cross-departmental collaboration to establish systems that promote staff wellbeing by aligning common messaging and integrating supports and resources.
D. Strategies and programs to support staff wellbeing will include but are not limited to healthcare benefits, employee assistance programs (EAP), and MSCR recreation programming.
A. The District will continue to expand upon co-created and co-designed structures where youth and their voices are integrated into decision-making processes that impact the well-being and educational experiences of all students.
B. The District will work with youth on an ongoing basis to collect voice, input, concerns, and ideas on how to collectively problem-solve around student needs creating healthier school environments for all students and staff. The District is committed to engaging with diverse groups of youth with various racial/ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, genders, sexual identities, abilities, and academic standing, prioritizing engaging students who have been systemically and historically underrepresented and underserved.
C. To ensure commitment to ongoing youth voice in connection to the Wellness Policy, the District will actively recruit diverse youth representatives to participate in the District Wellness Advisory Council (DWAC).
A. The District is committed to creating ongoing spaces where families feel welcomed, heard, and empowered to engage in the school community in meaningful ways to regularly promote health and wellbeing.
B. During school and/or district-based family engagement programs, activities, or events, efforts will be made to promote and foster health and well-being by connecting families with culturally and linguistically responsive health and wellness resources and opportunities such as nutrition education, health education, mental health supports, social-emotional wellbeing, and physical activity.
C. To ensure commitment to ongoing family engagement in connection to the Wellness Policy, the District will actively recruit diverse family members and/or caregivers representatives to participate in the District Wellness Advisory Council (DWAC).
A. The District is committed to working with organizations to support the implementation of the Wellness Policy through service agreements or partnership agreements as directed by the Strategic Partnership department.
B. To ensure commitment to ongoing community involvement and partnerships in connection to the Wellness Policy, the District will actively recruit diverse community members and/or community organizations to participate in the District Wellness Advisory Council (DWAC).