Wellness Policy

The Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD) is committed to creating and maintaining school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.
The MBUSD Board of Trustees (the “Board”) shall utilize the Wellness Advisory Committee, consisting of parents/guardians, students, teachers, school food service professionals, school administrators, health professionals, Board representatives and members of the public.

It is the policy of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District that:

  • guidelines for all foods and beverages available daily on each campus will be established and will meet the nutritional recommendations of the U.S Dietary Guidelines for Americans and will follow California Education Code.
  • all students in grades K-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • schools will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education, school meal programs, and related community services.
  • MBUSD will provide a safe and healthy school environment that ensures that students and adults are physically and emotionally safe.
  • the Wellness Policy will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to measure the implementation and effectiveness of the policy.

MBUSD shall develop, adopt, and implement a comprehensive plan for a thorough, well-coordinated school health program that shall:

  • be designed in response to demonstrated needs in the community.
  • be based on models that demonstrate evidence of effectiveness.
  • emphasize a positive youth development approach.
  • make efficient use of school and community resources.
  • respond to families’ needs and preferences.

The coordinated school health program shall incorporate the following eight components within a single framework:
1. a school environment that is safe; that is physically, socially, and psychologically healthful; and that promotes health-enhancing behaviors.
2. a sequential health education curriculum taught daily in every grade, K-12, that is designed to motivate and help students maintain and improve their health, prevent disease, and avoid health-related risk behaviors and that is taught by well-prepared and well-supported teachers.
3. a sequential physical education curriculum taught daily in every grade, K-12, that involves moderate to vigorous physical activity; that teaches knowledge, motor skills, and positive attitudes; that promotes activities and sports that all students enjoy and can pursue throughout their lives; that is taught by well-prepared and well-supported staff; and that is coordinated with the comprehensive school health education curriculum.
4. a nutrition services program that includes a food service program that employs well-prepared staff who serve appealing choices of nutritious foods efficiently; a sequential program of nutrition instruction that is integrated within the comprehensive school health education curriculum and coordinated with the food service program; and a school environment that encourages students to make healthy food choices.
5. a school health services program that is designed to ensure access or referral to primary health care services; foster appropriate use of health care services; prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems; provide emergency care for illness or injury; and is provided by well-qualified and well-supported health professionals.
6. a counseling, psychological, and social services program that is designed to ensure access or referral to assessments, interventions, and other services for students’ mental, emotional, and social health and whose services are provided by well-qualified and well-supported professionals.
7. integrated family and community involvement activities that are designed to engage families as active participants in their children’s education; that support the ability of families to support children’s school achievement; and that encourage collaboration with community resources and services to respond more effectively to the health-related needs of students.
8. a staff health promotion program that provides opportunities for school staff to improve their health status through activities such as health assessments, health education, and health-related fitness activities.

All MBUSD schools will provide a safe and healthy school environment that supports health literacy and successful learning and ensures that students and adults are physically and emotionally safe. In addition to physical safety, the school environment will reflect a sense of community and mutual support among staff and students.

I. Nutrition Guidelines for All Foods and Beverages

A. School Meals
Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • be appealing and attractive to children.
  • be served in clean and pleasant settings.
  • meet or exceed nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations.
  • offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • move toward a greater proportion of whole grains.
  • serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives as defined by the USDA.

The MBUSD Food Services Department will engage students, through taste tests, to identify new, healthful, and appealing food choices. MBUSD Food Services will investigate farm-to-school direct partnerships to obtain produce. In addition, schools will share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students.

B. Breakfast
To ensure that all children have a healthy breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn, MBUSD Food Services will:

  • operate the School Breakfast Program.
  • investigate the feasibility of expanding the scope of the School Breakfast Program.
  • to the extent possible, arrange schedules and utilize methods to serve school breakfasts that encourage participation, including “grab-and-go” breakfast, or breakfast during morning break or recess.
  • notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
  • encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.

C. Free and Reduced Priced Meals
MBUSD 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 as required by applicable law. To facilitate this effort, MBUSD will utilize electronic identification and payment systems at the middle and high schools and promote the availability of healthy school meals to all students.

D. Meal Times and Scheduling
In order to promote a more pleasant and relaxed eating experience for students, schools will:

  • provide enough serving areas so that students wait in line for a reasonably short time.
  • strive to provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 15 minutes after sitting down for lunch.
  • schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m..
  • discourage the scheduling of tutoring, club or organizational meetings, or other activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities.
  • provide students access to and encourage hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks.

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

F. Sharing of Foods and Beverages
MBUSD 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.

G. Foods and Beverages Sold Individually
MBUSD will apply the following guidelines for foods and beverages sold individually [on campus] (i.e., foods sold outside of reimbursable school meals, such as through vending machines, cafeteria a la carte [snack] lines, fundraisers, school stores, etc.):
1. Elementary Schools
MBUSD Food Services will provide all food and beverage sales to students in elementary schools in accordance with applicable law. Given young children’s limited nutritional skills, food in elementary schools will be sold as balanced meals. Foods and beverages sold individually during the school day will be limited to water, low-fat and non-fat milk, nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives, fruits, non-fried vegetables, and MBUSD approved nutrition items.
2. Manhattan Beach Middle School and Mira Costa High School
a) Foods and beverages sold individually during the school day, or through programs for students before or after the school day, will meet or exceed the nutrition standards according to applicable law.
b) A choice of at least two fruits and/or vegetables will be offered at each location on campus where foods are sold. Such items may include, but are not limited to, fresh fruits and vegetables; 100% fruit or vegetable juice; fruit-based drinks that are at least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; cooked, dried, or canned fruits (canned in fruit juice or light syrup); and cooked, dried, or canned vegetables (that meet the legal requirements for fat and sodium).
c) MBUSD Food Services will eliminate, or minimize to the extent possible, trans-fat in all foods available on campus.
d) MBUSD nurses and school site health assistants will compile a list for each school of allergenic foods to be avoided and disseminate that list to parents and staff on an annual basis.

H. Fundraising Activities
To support children’s health and school nutrition-education efforts, MBUSD will encourage all school-based organizations to use non-food items for fundraising, or to use compliant food or beverages as fundraisers and only after the last lunch period. Schools also will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The MBUSD Wellness Advisory Committee will disseminate a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities to all school sites and school organizations.

I. Snacks
Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Schools will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages, and other considerations. The MBUSD Wellness Advisory Committee will disseminate a list of healthful snack items to teachers, after-school program personnel, and parents.

J. Rewards
Teachers, clubs, PTAs/PTSAs, and all other school-sponsored organizations will not use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance, contest prizes, or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment.

K. Celebrations
Schools will limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. Each school will encourage the use of non-food items for parties, or to use compliant foods or beverages at parties and only after the last lunch period.

L. School-Sponsored Events
MBUSD will encourage the sale of healthy food and beverage products at all school-sponsored events (including, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances) during or outside the school day.

II. Nutrition Education, Promotion, and Food Marketing

A. Nutrition Education and Promotion

MBUSD will teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools shall 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 health education classes as well as integrated into other areas of the curriculum, such as math, science, English/language arts and history/social science.
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, classroom cooking, farm visits, and school gardens.
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, healthy dairy and dairy-free 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 understanding food marketing.
  • uses instructors who have been prepared to deliver an approved nutrition education program effectively as planned.
  • is reviewed by a qualified, credentialed nutrition professional (e.g. School Food and Nutrition Specialist, (SFNS), or a Registered Dietitian (R.D.), who is specialized in school-based nutrition).

B. Food Marketing in Schools

School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. As such, MBUSD and school sites will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually. 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 is encouraged.
Examples of school-based marketing include, but are not limited to, the following: logos and brand names on/in vending machines, books or curricula, textbook covers, school supplies, 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; free samples or coupons; and food sales through fundraising activities. School-based marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors (and are therefore encouraged) may include: vending machine covers promoting water; pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines; sales of fruit for fundraisers; and coupons for discount gym memberships.

III. Physical Education and Physical Activity Opportunities

MBUSD school sites will provide students in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) with the opportunity, support, and encouragement to be active physically on a regular basis through physical education instruction and physical activity programs.

hysical activity programs will provide participants with structured activities (games, sports, etc.), unstructured activities (walking programs, dance, etc.), or opportunities to participate in physical activities as part of a daily routine.

The California Department of Education’s 2004 Physical Education Model Content Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve outlines the essential skills and knowledge that all students need for adopting and maintaining a physically active lifestyle. The MBUSD physical education program will meet or exceed those standards.

MBUSD supports employees efforts to improve their personal health and fitness so they can serve as role models and promote the health of others, including students.

A. Minimum Requirements for Physical Education

Physical education in MBUSD is a planned, sequential program of curricula and instruction that helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for an active lifestyle. All K-12 students (including students with disabilities and/or special health-care needs and those in alternative educational settings) will receive physical education instruction as required by applicable federal and state law with a minimum of:

  • 200 minutes for every 10 school days for students in grades 1-6
  • 400 minutes for every 10 school days for students in grades 7-12

Temporary exemptions from physical education will be limited to students whose medical conditions do not allow for inclusion in a general, modified, or adapted physical education program. All exemptions must be supported by documentation from the student’s healthcare provider and may be granted only upon completion of MBUSD’s physical education exemption form. High school students who are exempt from two years of physical education in grades 10, 11, or 12 must be provided with the opportunity to participate in an alternative physical education course.

Adaptive physical education will be provided at all grade levels for students with injuries or other documented limitations.

Physical education instruction in MBUSD is delivered by a teacher credentialed to teach physical education. Class sizes and student/teacher ratios for physical education classes at all school sites will be manageable and consistent with the requirements of good instruction and safety as required by applicable state and federal laws.

B. Assessment of Student Learning and Physical Fitness Testing

MBUSD physical education teachers will administer a physical fitness test annually to all students in grades five, seven, and nine during the months of February, March, April, or May. MBUSD will make students’ fitness test results available to individual students and their parents/guardians.
The annual fitness test results also will be used to assess student learning and the effectiveness of the physical education program, curriculum, and instruction. A representative member of the physical education teaching staff will have the responsibility of reviewing test results and student progress annually and reporting the results of the review to the Wellness Advisory Committee and the MBUSD Board of Trustees.

C. Facilities for Physical Education Instruction

MBUSD will provide appropriate indoor and outdoor physical education facilities so that students may participate in a variety of individual and team sports and activities.
MBUSD’s physical education facilities and open spaces at schools will be made available by reservation to students, staff, and community members before and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacation periods. School administrators will minimize the use of physical education facilities for non-instructional purposes during the school day. School facilities and open spaces also will be made available by reservation to community agencies and organizations that offer physical activity and nutrition programs. MBUSD will promote joint-use agreements or memoranda of understanding with civic and community partners for the use of school facilities. Joint-use agreements will include clauses that provide for care and maintenance of the school facilities.

D. Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses of Physical Activity

All elementary school students will have at least twenty minutes per day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which schools will encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity, including the provision of space and equipment. Teachers and other school personnel will not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, push-ups) or withhold opportunities (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

E. Physical Education Course Credit

Student involvement in other activities such as interscholastic or intramural sports, marching band, ROTC, drill team, etc. will not be granted credit for meeting the physical education requirement unless the class meets physical education course requirements.

F. Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom

For students to embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, MBUSD will provide opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class.
• Schools will discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. For example, when activities such as mandatory school-wide testing necessitate that students must remain indoors for long periods of time, students will be given periodic breaks during which they will be encouraged to stand and be active at a moderate level.
• 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.

G. Opportunities for Physical Activity Before and After School

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.
• MBUSD’s elementary schools, middle school, and high school will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs, intramural programs, and special events that focus on physical activity. Mira Costa High School and Manhattan Beach Middle School will continue offering and promoting interscholastic sports programs, as appropriate.
• After school child care and after school enrichment programs will provide and encourage daily periods of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for all participants, including the provision of space and equipment.

H. Student Safety and Well Being

All MBUSD staff and students will be notified of the rules and procedures that apply to physical activity. School site personnel will assume responsibility for enforcing these rules and procedures, as appropriate.

  • MBUSD, working in collaboration with the school sites and community health officials, will communicate and enforce standards for weather and air quality affecting students’ participation in outdoor physical activities. The Medical Advisory Board will present an air quality policy proposal to the MBUSD Board of Trustees.
  • MBUSD and school sites will ensure that students and staff have access to appropriate hydration (e.g., water or other fluids). School sites will provide and maintain water fountains that are operational and in hygienic condition.
  • MBUSD and school sites, in conjunction with a credentialed school nurse, will develop an emergency response system to expedite aid to students and/or staff who are injured or become ill at school. The emergency response system will be communicated to the school community, and the necessary training and practice will take place on a regular basis.
  • Facilities and equipment used for physical activity will be properly monitored and maintained to ensure participants’ safety.
  • At least 50% of staff at each school will receive training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • School staff having direct responsibility for students will, as allowed by law, receive notification of and may be trained in the use of any medications that their students are authorized to carry and/or use.
  • MBUSD and school sites, in conjunction with a credentialed school nurse, will develop an individual physical activity plan for students with medical conditions to follow during school hours. The plan will be communicated to all members of the school community with direct responsibility for the student. The activity plan will be designed to protect the student’s well-being and provide for maximum participation in physical activity at an appropriate level.

IV. Other School-Based Activities

  • All MBUSD students will have access to a credentialed school nurse or a designated staff member who has current certification in CPR and first aid and is supervised by, and has physical or electronic access to, the school nurse or another duly qualified supervisor of health.
  • Students at all school sites will have access to credentialed school counselors and psychologists who provide students with support and assistance in making healthy decisions, managing emotions, and coping with crises. Disordered eating behaviors, including obesity, are often related to mental, emotional, and social problems, and overweight students may suffer from low self-esteem and/or be the target of bullying.
  • All school-based activities, including before and after school programs, will be aligned with the health and wellness policies adopted by MBUSD.
  • MBUSD will continue to participate in the SHAPE California Network and the USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative.

V. Communications with Parents and the Community

  • MBUSD and school sites will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children by:
  • offering healthy eating seminars for parents.
  • sending home health education information including, but not limited to, nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school websites, and provide nutrient analyses of school menus.
  • encouraging parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages sold on school grounds.
  • providing parents a copy of MBUSD’s rules for serving foods and beverages on campus, list of foods that meet MBUSD’s snack standards, and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities.
  • providing opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community.

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

Parent/guardian communications will emphasize the relationship between student health and academic performance and address the need for consistent health messages between the home and the school environments.

VI. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Policy Review

A. Monitoring

The Superintendent or designee will recommend for Board approval specific indicators used to measure the implementation of the Wellness Policy (e.g., nutrient analysis of school meals, school meal participation rates, sales of non-nutritious foods/beverages from fundraisers and other venues; and feedback from MBUSD Food Services personnel, teachers, administrators, members of the MBUSD Wellness Advisory Committee and Medical Advisory Boards, parents, and other appropriate persons).

  • The Superintendent or designee will ensure District-wide and individual school compliance with the adopted District Wellness Policy.
  • The Principal or designee will ensure individual school compliance.
  • School/District food service staff and other members of the Wellness Advisory Committee will provide continued assistance in ensuring policy compliance.
  • MBUSD superintendent or designee will report next year, with subsequent reports every two years, to the Board, District Medical Advisory Board, parent/teacher organizations, and school administrators. All of these stakeholders will be informed of the findings related to policy compliance.

B. Evaluation

Multiple indicators shall be used to assess the implementation and results of each component of MBUSD’s Wellness Policy. Health-related behaviors of students shall be surveyed every two years through the California Healthy Kids Survey, and annually through both the California Physical Fitness Test and the MBUSD Wellness Improvement Checklist or other like instruments as approved by MBUSD. Pre and post surveys, anecdotal interviews, observation and other research-validated activities may be used. Any curriculum used for instruction shall be Board approved, sequential, developmentally appropriate, medically accurate, and scientifically based or research-validated.

C. Policy Review

  • The results of the evaluative measures outlined above will be reviewed by the Wellness Advisory Committee on an annual basis to determine compliance and progress toward implementation of the Wellness Policy.
  • As necessary, the Wellness Policy will be revised to address changes in state and federal law as well as areas in need of improvement.
  • The Board shall review the Wellness Policy to assess its effectiveness and make appropriate adjustments at least every three years.