Wellness Supports Learning - ISD 709 Wellness Policy

Research clearly demonstrates that attendance and academic performance are linked to good nutrition and physical activity.  Making healthy choices during the school day can be helpful in supporting a child’s education.

Schools and districts participating in the federal school nutrition program are required to have a Wellness Policy in place which complies with state and federal statutes and follows USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  Over the past several years, the ISD 709 Wellness Committee has worked collaboratively with employees, families, students and area experts to establish a Wellness Policy for Duluth Public Schools.

View the ISD 709 Wellness Policy.

Through the Wellness Policy, schools are making healthy progress:

  • School breakfast and lunch programs, including a la carte, comply with USDA Nutritional Guidelines
  • Removing candy/soda vending machines
  • Increased time for physical education              
  • Training and resources for elementary and middle school teachers to add physical activity in the classroom
  • Support and resources for healthy and inclusive classroom celebrations
  • Policy that ensures all food sold and/or provided by district staff meets USDA guidelines
  • Policy language that eliminates withholding physical activity as a punishment
  • Active Farm-to-School Program, serving local and regional produce, growing school gardens
  • Safe Routes to School, providing safe walking and biking routes
  • A standing district wellness committee and wellness action plan

The goal this school year is to work collaboratively with employees, families and students to make further progress:

  • Food and beverages marketed to students meet USDA Nutritional Guidelines
  • All foods and beverages sold on school grounds to students during the school day (including items sold a la carte in the cafeteria, vending machines, schools stores, in-school fundraisers) meet USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards at a minimum. 
  • Provide healthy ideas for celebrations and parties, classroom snacks, rewards and incentives and fundraisers held outside the school day, including alternatives to food and a list of foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks nutrition standards.
  • Proactively teaching and encouraging positive recess behavior and indoor active recess throughout the year
  • Providing periodic classroom breaks for students to stand and be moderately active
  • Encouraging walking and biking to and from school based on age appropriate standards 

The Wellness Policy does not specifically include:

  • Concession stand sales held at the school and/or athletic fields during non-school hours.
  • Student lunches brought from home.
  • Food items served at community events held at the school and/or athletic fields during non-school hours.
  • School food pantries and Second Harvest backpack programs (healthy items are encouraged)
  • Food items at staff-only meetings (Healthy food and beverage choices are encouraged – be a good example!)
  • Food for Thought Student-run Restaurant food items (sales focused on the general public)

Resources for Nutrition, Foods That Meet USDA Compliance:

SmartSnack Calculator – find out if your snack complies with the USDA SmartSnacks Guidelines 

SmartFood Planner – look up your food item to see if it is compliant with SmartSnack Standards or browse for healthy options

Pam Bowe, ISD 709 Child Nutrition Manager:  Pamela.Bowe@ISD709.org

Josh Gorham, ISD 709 Wellness Committee: gorhamj@stlouiscountymn.gov

Fundraising Resources

BestPractices for Healthy School Fundraisers

HealthyFundraiser Ideas

Fundraisersand Smart Snacks 

Doug Hasler, Director of Business Services:  Douglas.Hasler@ISD709.org 


News, Articles, Tips

Healthy Harvest: The Duluth school district harvested more than 1,750 pounds of produce this fall, much of it making its way into school lunches, lessons and snacks. Many thanks to the community groups, organizations and individuals who help make this possible, especially Healthy Northland Farm to School, Essentia and coordinator Renee Willemsen.  Duluth News Tribune

Student rewards…that aren’t junk food!  Have I mentioned that I’m tired of all the junk food at my daughter’s elementary school? And I am not talking about what they’re serving in the cafeteria. I am talking about the junk food that’s constantly being used for rewards, parties and activities. Here are just a few examples…  

Encourage Students with Healthy Alternatives:  Tips from We Are Teachers to encourage students with something tangible instead of treats and goodies.

Questions regarding the ISD 709 Wellness Policy:

Amy Starzecki, ISD 709 Assistant Superintendent:  Amy.Starzecki@ISD709.org