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Valley City Public Schools is reviewing its wellness policy, and school officials are hoping for public involvement in the process.
A rough draft of the policy, compiled from several model policies recommended by the government, will go to administrative council for review. From there it goes through the schoolsâ€™ 11-member Nutrition Team, made up of made up of parents, students, teachers, administration and the public. Following another review by administration council it goes to the public for review.
â€śItâ€™s going to be a long process but we definitely want community involvement because the school in Valley City plays a very important role in the community,â€ť said food services director Sue Milender. â€śSo we want to make sure the wellness policy represents the community too, but most importantly is the health of the students.â€ť
Valley City was one of the first schools in the state to adopt a wellness policy. Former-president George W. Bush signed legislation in 2004 that required all schools that receive federal funding to adopt such a policy to promote health and fitness to American students. School board and Nutrition Team member Sharon Buhr said the policy had been discussed at a conference about 18 months before becoming official, and Valley City school officials were ahead of the curve in developing the policy well before the 2006 deadline. Valley Cityâ€™s policy had been used as a model for other schools when developing policies of their own.
â€śSince that time, Valley City Public Schools has taken the contents of a wellness policy very seriously, because we looked at the research, and research has shown us that children learn better when they eat healthy. The learn better when they are at a healthier weight for them... we just want every child to be the best they can be.â€ť
Milender expects that new recommendations from the federal government will address â€ścompetitive foods,â€ť foods that are sold in addition to items from the cafeteria. The schools have already phased out soda machines in the schools.
â€śWe had a lot of comments from our patrons - the moms and dads - saying why are we having soda pop in school?,â€ť Buhr said. â€śMeanwhile we were reading the literature and realizing that this was a big problem, having so much access to soda pop.â€ť
Buhr said more information about student health is available now, and continued change to the policy is necessary.
â€śWe have been changing our policy and thatâ€™s what one should do with a policy. It should never be stagnant, it should be alive and responsive to the needs of the people at the moment,â€ť Buhr said.