The students from K-12 will receive daily choices about their food which will include fresh fruits, whole grains and dairy products.
The new policy will provide for students in K-12 to receive educational lessons about the importance of healthy eating as well as how to make the right food choices to be sure to get the proper nutrients in their diet.
The Kindergarten through third grade students will have a weekly class that will be part of their physical education training. It will consist of guest speakers and discussions about what healthy food is and how food helps the body grow.
The third through sixth grade students will meet once a week as well but they will also be taught how to plan a menu for one meal and instructed on what they can choose for that meal to help make it a healthy choice.
By middle school the students will have much more freedom about what they choose to eat each day as the cafeterias at this level generally offer more choices. In addition the students have vending machines in their schools. The class policy at this age will be to help students make good choices even when allowed the freedom to make poor choices.
The course will be an overall class about nutrition in which students will be asked to keep a food diary.
In high school, the policy will be for students to meet for a semester in ninth grade for a full class credit. In that class they will study diabetes and other obesity related issues to underscore the importance of maintaining a healthy diet.
A recent study with data collected revealed that school principals perceive their leadership role in regards to the promotion of nutritional health among students primarily as that of an overseer from a management perspective because there is "no clearly defined role." Only through curriculum and instruction do they become involved. One of the key points in the effective school leadership literature is that principals have vision for their school, passion for leadership, and actively participate in decisions that affect the success of their students (Shahid, 2003)."
This is an indicator that the time has come for a policy with regard to food choices and school nutrition.
The next step in the school nutritional policy for California schools will be with regard to the education of principals.
Research shows that most principals do not have any formal training in the promotion of nutritional health among their students.
The new policy will require that by 2009 every principal in the state will be provided some training in the promotion of nutrition and health for their grade level.
The training will be not only in nutrition but will also be in how to promote good nutrition and health in the classroom.
The policy mandate will be that principals take a minimum one day course that can be signed up for at a local hospital, community college, alternative health center or online. The state will reimburse the cost of the course following the submission of the principal's receipt of payment and proof that he or she completed the course.
Barriers to the adoption of a universal change in the promotion of dietary habits among students include the lack of knowledge by the government, the school district, and local administrators that dietary change among students can only enhance learning abilities, physical fitness, and encourage self-control, self-direction, and foster self-worthiness (Shahid, 2003). Clearly, one need of the middle school learner is that of health-enhancing behavior reinforcements that lead to positive lifelong habits (Shahid, 2003). After all, schools have a duty to help prevent unnecessary injury, disease, and chronic health conditions that can lead to disability or early death (Shahid, 2003). Thus, improvement in the individual condition is implied in the philosophy of modern education (Shahid, 2003)."
To this end policy will be implemented beginning with the next school year that each district will hold a district wide annual competition for students to put together a poster promoting good nutrition and healthy choices.
The contest will be divided by grade levels. It will group Kindergarten through third grade together, fourth through sixth grade together, seventh grade through ninth together and 10th through 12th grade together.
Each year there will be a new topic that the posters should reflect and each topic will deal with how to promote good nutrition and healthy choices to students around the state.
For example one year may be, "getting students to eat smart" and the poster will illustrate that concept.
The competition will be held annually and winners determined shortly before winter break. The winner in each school will receive a ribbon and trophy and move to the district level. The winner of each district at each group level will receive a trophy and $50 and move to the state level. At the state level a winner from each group will be chosen and those winners will each receive a check for $500 and a trophy and ribbons.
The purpose of this policy will be for students to begin to incorporate healthy living and nutritional choices into their…