Wellness Policy

Published: 11/21/2016 10:16 AM

A local school wellness policy (“wellness policy”) is a written document that guides a local educational agency (LEA) or school district’s efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn.

USDA Local School Wellness Policy Toolkit

New resources are now available to help school districts engage parents and school staff in Local School Wellness Policy efforts.  A Local School Wellness Policy is a written document that guides school district’s efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being and ability to learn.  It’s important for parents and school staff to be a part of this process so the wellness policy is representative of both the community and student’s needs.  

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Team Nutrition initiative has developed a free Local Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit​ that school districts and schools can customize to communicate information about their Local School Wellness Policy to parents and staff.  The kit includes:

  • A letter to the wellness coordinator;
  • Sample letter to school principals;
  • ​Informational flyers, in English and Spanish;
  • Presentations for parents and school staff;
  • Sample newsletter article; and
  • Social media posts and graphics.

KDE Guidance for Annual Reporting related to KRS 158.856/KRS160.345

The Local School Wellness Policy requirement was established by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, and further strengthened by the final ruling this summer of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. It requires each local LEA participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to develop a local school district wellness policy that promotes the health of students and addresses the growing problem of childhood obesity. The responsibility for developing a local school wellness policy is placed at the local level so the unique needs of each school under the jurisdiction of the LEA can be addressed. Furthermore, with the passing of the Final Rule, greater emphasis is placed at the local level by requiring the LEA to establish wellness policy leadership. Leadership is defined as one or more LEA and/or school official(s) who have the authority and responsibility to ensure each school complies with the policy.


The Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) is an opportunity to address school learning environments and to best equip districts and schools to equitably address the nutritional and physical activity needs of all students. The LSWP should be aligned to the annual district reporting requirements of KRS 158.856 and KRS 160.345. The Kentucky Department of Education’s Division of Program Standards recommends that superintendents ensure that their district is utilizing a Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child approach with shareholders in the development and implementation of the LSWP. 


In order to best utilize local decision making processes, KDE recommends districts have schools complete the Healthy Schools Program assessment to provide school level data for the public forum. (702 KAR 6:090 Section 5 (1,a) / Section 6 (1) This process aligns and contributes to school level expectations in the Practical Living/Career Studies (PLCS) Program Review for schools. The Action Steps to complete before October 28th are as follows if districts choose to use this process for the 2016-2017 school year.


Steps to working on your District Report Card:

1. Request access as the District Administrator to your district on the Healthy Schools Program website and then work on the district assessment where applicable. 


2. Reach out to the school building level contact and/or the Coordinated School Health Committee at each school and have them complete or update, if the school already used the assessment in the past (only required to complete Modules 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8). For assistance on the assessment, please encourage your schools to check out the help section of the website and/or refer to the paper version of the assessment.


3. Once assessments are complete, you will receive a notification from the Member Support Team with the Healthy Schools Program to complete a request form for a District Report. Please watch out for the communication by the beginning to middle of November. If you have any questions about the steps above, please reach out to help@healthiergeneration.org for assistance.


For questions regarding the annual nutrition and physical activity report, please contact Jamie.sparks@education.ky.gov. For questions regarding the federal requirements of a local school wellness policy and the National School Lunch Program, please contact Katie Embree-Cleveland, Kathryn.Embree-Cleveland@education.ky.gov.​

Click here for Wellness Policy and Coordinated School Health connections.

Click here for the proposed rule.

Click here for Program Review Comparison chart.

Click here for Administrative Review Guidance document.
Jamie Sparks
Office of Teaching and Learning
Division of Program Standards
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2106
Fax (502) 564-6470