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Wellness Policy

SouthSide promotes healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment.  SouthSide supports a healthy environment where children can learn and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices. Schools contribute to the basic health status of children by facilitating learning through the support and promotion of good nutrition and physical activity to prevent obesity.   Moreover, SouthSide recognizes that improved health optimizes student and staff performance potential.


SouthSide shall provide a comprehensive program that encompasses a combination of learning experiences and environmental supports designed to facilitate behavioral and environmental adaptations that are conducive to healthful lifestyles.




SouthSide will deliver a rigorous, sequential, developmentally appropriate, kindergarten to 5th grade physical education curriculum, aligned with the Rhode Island Physical Education Framework, to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity.


  • Basic instruction in health and physical education shall comply with Rhode Island standards.  Recess, free play, and after school activities shall not be construed as physical education.


  • Students are given opportunities for physical activity during the school day through recess periods, physical education classes, movement breaks, and the integration of physical activity such as yoga and Brain Gym into the academic curriculum.


  • Schools encourage parents and guardians to support their children’s participation in physical activity, to be physically active role models, and to include physical activity in family events.


  • Withholding physical activity as a disciplinary strategy in the classroom or in the school environment is strongly discouraged.




SouthSide will deliver a rigorous, sequential, and differentiated K-12 health curriculum that is aligned with the Rhode Island Health Education Framework and Rhode Island Department of Education Comprehensive Health Instructional Outcomes, resulting in students who possess the knowledge and skills to embrace healthy lifestyles.


  • Instruction is integrated into the classroom or provided as a class period.

  • Health Education will include instruction in the following content areas appropriate to grade or developmental level:

    • Personal health

    • Mental and emotional health

    • Injury prevention

    • Nutrition

    • Sexuality and family life

    • Disease control and prevention

    • Substance use and abuse prevention




  • Students in grades K-5 will participate in nutrition promotion initiatives that are interactive, aligned with state and national standards, and that teach the skills they need to adopt healthy eating behaviors.


  • Nutrition promotion will be offered with coordination between University of Rhode Island SNAP-Ed Nutrition Program Coordinator, the physical education teacher, the school nurse teacher and classroom teachers.


  • Students receive consistent nutrition messages throughout schools, classrooms, cafeterias, homes, community, and media.


  • Family nutrition promotion may be provided in the form of handouts, postings on school website, articles and information provided in school newsletters, presentations that focus on nutritional value and healthy lifestyles, communication with school nurses and clinicians, and through any other appropriate means available for reaching parents.




  • The school breakfast, lunch, and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable programs will comply with the USDA Requirements for Federal School Meals Programs and the RI Nutrition Requirements.


  • The SouthSide School Health and Wellness Subcommittee will work collaboratively with food service providers and other community organizations.


A la carte, vending, and all foods sold on school grounds




  • For safety reasons, SouthSide is a peanut and tree nut free school


  • SouthSide does not sell food on school grounds.


  • Only “healthier snacks” are distributed on school grounds both prior to and during the school day.


  • SouthSide encourages consumption of nutrient-dense foods, i.e., whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products as outlined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.




  • SouthSide does not sell beverages on school grounds.


  • Only “healthier beverages” are distributed on school grounds both prior to and during the school day.


  • Water, defined as one of the healthier beverages, will be available and encouraged for all students.


Cafeteria Environment


In the cafeteria, students will have:


  • adequate space to eat and a clean, pleasant environment;


  • adequate time to eat meals – 20 minutes or more for lunch;


  • convenient access to hand washing and/or hand sanitizing facilities before meals;


  • strategies to maximize eating/recess time such as “Recess before Lunch.”



  • All food fundraisers shall meet the Healthier Snacks and Beverage Law (16-21-29).


  • Fundraisers that promote physical activity are encouraged.


Teacher-to-Student Acknowledgements and Incentives:


It is the intent of SouthSide that acknowledgements and incentives do not undermine efforts put forth in this policy.  Therefore, the use of food as a reward, acknowledgement, or incentive in the classroom or in the school environment is discouraged, except when recommended by a physician, clinical treatment team, or evaluation team.


Classroom and After School Program Snacks:


Classroom snacks, provided by teachers, must adhere to the Healthier Snacks and Beverage Law (16-21-29).  SouthSide does not provide after school programming.




Celebrations/events include, but are not limited to, birthdays, holidays, potlucks dinners, etc.  SOUTHSIDE may choose to handle celebrations/events in a variety of ways including:

    • Non-food celebrations are encouraged during the school day.  However, SouthSide allows celebrations involving food after school hours because we recognize that foods are an important part of our families’ diverse cultures.  For the purpose of events that take place beyond the school day, our families are encouraged to contribute foods form their individual cultures as long as these foods are tree nut and peanut free.


    • It is strongly encouraged that celebrations comply with the RI Nutrition Guidelines.  Additionally, for equity purposes and due to sodium and sugar sensitivities, we ask that families refrain from packing snacks that are high in sugar and/or sodium.  


    • The food service provider may be utilized to ensure food safety standards are met and to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.


    • Attention to student allergies is required and teachers must collaborate with the School Nurse to assure that allergy precautions are maintained.

School Stores and After School Events:


SouthSide does not sell food during the school day or after school.



SouthSide does not operate any school concessions.


Staff Wellness


Staff voluntary wellness programs encourage individuals to take measures to prevent the onset or worsening of a disease or illness and to lead to lifestyles that are healthier.


SouthSide employees have access to health/wellness activities/promotions provided by SouthSide family members and staff members who are also involved in the wellness field.  These include:



  • The SouthSide School Health and Wellness Subcommittee will consist of Physical Education Teacher, School Nurse, a teacher representative and will be chaired by the SouthSide Education Director (or designee).


  • The Health and Wellness Subcommittee reviews the effectiveness and implementation of the policy; and provides feedback annually to the SouthSide leadership team.


  • Best practices that promote the goals outlined in this policy will be shared with staff by building directors and the SouthSide leadership team.




The Health and Wellness Subcommittee recognizes that additional topics pertaining to health and wellness, including but not limited to personal health, mental and emotional health, injury prevention, nutrition, sexuality and family life, disease control and prevention, and substance abuse and abuse prevention may be reviewed by the committee and recommendations will be forwarded to the SouthSide leadership team for review.

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