Policy » Wellness




Policy Intent/Rationale

Cranston Public Schools promotes healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition, regular physical activity, health education and awareness as part of the learning environment. The district supports a healthy environment where children 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. Improved health optimizes student performance potential.

  • The School District will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring and reviewing district-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in grades Pre-K through 12 will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet and/or exceed the nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as the USDA and RINR regulations.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of every student; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, all schools in our district will participate in the available Federal Schools Meal Programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program (including after-school snacks), Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Food Program.
  • 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 and school meal programs; and with related community services.

Cranston Public Schools will use the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coordinated School Health approach to comprehensive school wellness. The Coordinated School Health model includes 8 areas of school health: (1) safe environment; (2) physical education; (3) health education; (4) staff wellness; (5) health services; (6) mental and social health; (7) nutrition services; and (8) family involvement.

This policy will provide Cranston Public Schools with guidelines, goals and information that will help the district maintain Federal, State and district regulations.

School Wellness Committee:

RI General Law (16-21-28) requires the establishment of a district wide coordinated school health and wellness subcommittee chaired by a full member of the School Committee.

The School Committee shall establish a Wellness Committee that will be composed of, at a minimum, a School Committee member, a School Administrator, a School Food Authority representative, a parent or guardian, a representative of SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee), a member of CEAB (Cranston Educational Advisory Board), a school nurse, and a member of the physical education department. Members of the public, students and community organizations are encouraged to attend these public meetings.

This committee shall meet no less than four times during the school year.

The members of the committee shall:

  • collaborate and coordinate resources to drive school health objectives
  • communicate with the public regarding issues of health and wellness
  • make recommendations to the Superintendent regarding issues of health and wellness
  • review and update Wellness policies
  • ensure that all policies are being followed
  • ensure that all areas of health and wellness standards are current
  • report yearly to the School Committee regarding nutrition, physical education, physical activity and the health and well-being of the school community.

See: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/title16/16-21/16-21-28.htm

Nutrition Guidelines for all foods on school campus

The integrity of the school nutrition environment depends on the quality of all foods and beverages served and sold at school. Foods that provide little nutritional value compete with healthy school meals, send mixed messages to students, undermine nutrition education efforts and discourage healthy eating. School nutrition guidelines shall address all food and beverages sold or served to students from reimbursable meals, vending machines, in school stores, fundraisers, school celebrations, as well as a la carte items sold during school meals. All food sales shall comply with the applicable federal, state and district regulations. Each school will be responsible for ensuring that all policy guidelines are followed.

School Meals

R.I. General Law (16-21-7) At a minimum, reimbursable meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs must meet USDA nutrition requirements and Rhode Island Nutrition Requirements

The full meal school breakfast and lunch programs must comply with the USDA and RINR Requirements for Federal School Meals Programs and follow the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

See: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/nutritionstandards.htm



  • Breakfast

To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • Schools will operate the School Breakfast Program.
  • Schools will utilize methods to serve breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom,” grab- and- go” breakfast or breakfast prior to the start of school.
  • Schools that serve breakfast to students will notify parents/guardians and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
  • Schools that serve breakfast will provide menus as well as any available nutritional information. This can be done with menus, posts on websites, menu boards, in school offices.
  • Free and Reduced-priced Meals

Schools 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.

Toward this end schools may:

  • utilize electronic identification and payment systems;
  • provide meals at no charge to all children, regardless of income,
  • Promote the availability of school meals to all students;
  • Use nontraditional methods for serving school meals ( “grab-and-go” or classroom breakfast) 

Summer Food Service Program

Schools may provide a food service program for those students attending an extended school year program or attending a school-sponsored enrichment program. These costs will be determined by the food service provider and agreed upon by the district and School Committee vote.

Eating Environment

A well designed and pleasant eating environment is important to the promotion of students’ healthy eating habits. Schools need to assess traffic flows, time allotted for school meals and cafeteria layout to ensure that students are actually encouraged to eat.

All schools will strive towards providing:

  • Adequate space to eat in clean, pleasant surroundings
  • Adequate time to eat meals
  • Convenient access to hand washing or hand sanitizing facilities before meals
  • Scheduled lunch periods at appropriate times
  • Water will be made available to student in the cafeteria

Additionally; schools will adhere to the following rules:

  • There should not be scheduled tutoring, club or organizational meetings during mealtimes, unless students are allowed to eat during such activities.
  • School personnel should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs. (A note must be provided to the School Nurse)
  • School District will work with school food providers to explore and implement ways to minimize the time students spend waiting in line.

Food Safety and Security

The food offered to students in the schools must not only be nutritious, but must also comply with state and local safety and sanitation regulations. The quality of the food is determined both by the nutrient value and by the standards by which it was prepared.

  • All foods made available to students will comply with the State and local food safety and sanitation regulations.
  • Sharing of food by students is not encouraged.will be discouraged.
  • Guidelines shall be implemented by the Food Service Provider in order to avoid food illness in schools. 
  • Access to food service operations is limited to Food Service staff and personnel authorized by the Superintendent or designee.

Food Marketing in Schools

School based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. As such, schools will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutritional standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually.

  • School-based marketing or promoting of predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages is prohibited.
  • The promotion of healthy foods; including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products in encouraged.
  • The promotion of healthy activity and behaviors is encouraged.

School Food Service Provider Operations

The purpose of the National Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program, operated by either the district or a contracted service provider, is to safeguard the health of our children. In order to achieve this purpose the Food Service Provider must provide students with adequate and high quality nutrition during the school day. Menus will comply with all federal, state, and local regulations.

Food Service providers will work within the community to provide information, to provide locally grown foods in a cooperative effort with area farms, and to work with the Wellness Committee to maintain standards and provide updates as to regulation changes.

School meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • Be appealing and attractive to students.
  • Be served in clean and pleasant settings
  • Meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state and federal statutes and regulations
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Serve only low-fat (1%) and fat free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by the USDA).
  • Ensure that half of the served grains are whole grain. 

Schools/Food Service Providers should engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys in order to identify new, healthful and appealing food choices and to identify issues within the program. 

Schools/Food Service Providers should share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. Such information should be made available on menus, a website, on cafeteria menu boards, in school offices or other point of purchase materials.

Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy

R.I. General Law 16-21-31 & 16-21-32

Depending on the nature and extent of the student's allergy, the measures listed in the IHCP may include, but are not limited to:

  • Posting additional signs (e.g., in classroom entryways).
  • Prohibiting the sale of particular food items in the school.
  • Designating special tables in the cafeteria.
  • Prohibiting particular food items from certain classrooms and/or the cafeteria.
  • Completely prohibiting particular food items from the school or school grounds.
  • Educating school personnel, students, and families about food allergies; and/or
  • Implementing particular protocols around cleaning surfaces touched by food products, washing of hands after eating, etc.
  • The measures shall be taken in conjunction with the Cranston Public Schools' health and wellness policy and food safety policy.
  • A plan may also be developed for each staff member with a serious food allergy.

The above policy is set forth in Policy #5141.5 under Students.

District Protocol

The Superintendent of Schools shall forthwith establish a District wide protocol facilitating the terms of this policy consistent with applicable state law, rule, regulation and to the extent appropriate with guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Education including, but not limited to providing for appropriate posting of signs, staff training, communication to the District Community of the policy, provision for student and staff self-management of his/her condition where and when appropriate, and issuance of emergency protocols and standing orders. (This protocol shall provide for reasonable accommodations for non-allergic students to consume peanut/tree-nut based food Products)

Competitive Food

Student Nutrition: R.I. General Law (16-21-7) requires that elementary, middle, junior, and senior high schools sell only healthier beverages and healthier snacks, except when items are sold by pupils away from the premises of school; by pupils one hour or more after the end of the school day; or during a school sponsored activity pupil activity after the end of the school day.

  • A la Carte and Vending Machine Sales
  • All snacks served through the Food Service Program including any vending machine items made available to students during meal times shall meet all state and federal laws and regulations.
  • Portion sizes will be age appropriate and specified by cafeteria guidelines by level.
  • A la Carte items shall contain no more than 35% of calories from total fat and no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat, no more than 35% percent of calories from sugar by weight and no added trans fats. Individual portions shall contain no more than 200 calories.
  • Vending machines will not be accessible to students at any elementary school. Elementary schools will not have stores that sell food to students.
  • Vending machines in middle and high schools may only sell low-fat or non-fat milk (flavored or unflavored), water, 100% juice with no added sweeteners (12oz maximum serving size).

  • School or District Fundraising
  • Food may not be sold or distributed during school hours.
  • Food sold from fundraisers must be picked up before or after school hours.
  • Schools are encouraged to consider non-food items or activities for fundraisers.
  • A list of healthy school fundraiser ideas can be found at www.actionforhealthykids.org.
  • All food sold before, during and one hour after school must comply with State Law (RIPL 06-231/06-234) as well as USDA, RINR and District Nutritional Standards.
  • Any group, organization or individual that wishes to sell food for profit before, during or up to one hour after school may purchase their items through the school Food Services Provider. The Food Services Provider will provide a price for any item on the approved lists. The organization or individual may purchase their own items as long as they meet the standards.
  • Culinary programs at the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center or any Life Skills programs are exempt from these criteria after school hours due to the curricular nature of their food sales.
  • Community and Parent organizations using CPS facilities or sponsoring school events outside of school hours shall be notified of the wellness policy and encouraged to comply with the standards, but will not be mandated to follow policy. 

Student Birthday Celebration

Cranston Public Schools recognizes that birthdays are a special day for our students. Cranston Public Schools must ensure that these types of celebrations do not disrupt the learning process or do not go against current Wellness policies. Cranston Public Schools adheres to a Wellness Policy that recognizes the importance of wellness, good nutrition and an active lifestyle in the overall health of our students. Cranston Public Schools and our staff are responsible for positively influencing student beliefs and habits in these areas. Frequent birthday celebrations with cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets are not in alignment with these learning goals. In addition; a growing number of students throughout our district have health concerns related to food, including allergies, diabetes, and other diseases causing this to become a safety issue as well.

Therefore, birthday parties in which treats and/or snacks are brought to school will not be permitted. If parents would like to recognize their child on their special day, there are a number of non-food options available, such as: sending in pencils, erasers, and/or stickers for every child. Other suggestions include, the child donating a book to his/her class library or an educational game to his/her classroom. Building principals may decide what non-food related form of recognition is appropriate for their school.

School/Classroom Celebrations

Cranston Public Schools recognizes that school events such that reflect learning activities, awards, transitions and end of the year activities are special for students and families. Any food that is served to students must be provided by the CPS Food Service Vender. The purpose is to ensure that all foods made available to students during school hours comply with the State and local food safety and sanitation regulations and follow the Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy- R.I. General Law 16-21@16-21-32.

Nutrition Education

Cranston Public Schools aims to teach, encourage and support healthy eating. Schools should 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 not only health education classes, but is also incorporated into regular classroom instruction and cafeteria when appropriate and feasible.
  • Includes enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits and school gardens.
  • Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices.
  • Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise).
  • Teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing.
  • Includes training for teachers and other staff.

Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

Physical Education is required for all students in grades 1-12 according to RI General Law ( 16-22-4) and Sec. 3.5 of the Rules and Regulations for School Health Programs. Students should receive an average of 100 minutes per week of health/physical education. Recess, free play, and after-school activities are not counted as physical education. School PE curricula must be aligned with the standards and performance indicators in The Rhode Island Physical Education Framework.

See: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title16/16-22/16-22-4.htm

Physical education classes and physical activity opportunities will be available for all students.

Physical activity opportunities shall be offered as when possible before, during (recess) and after school.

As recommended by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), school leaders of physical activity and physical education shall guide students through a process that will enable them to achieve and maintain a high level of personal fitness by:

  • Exposing them to a wide variety of physical activities.
  • Teaching physical skills to help maintain a lifetime of health and fitness.
  • Encouraging self-monitoring so students can see how active they are and set their own goals
  • Individualizing the intensity of activities.
  • Focusing on feedback on process of doing your best rather than on product.
  • Being active role models.
  • Introduce developmentally appropriate components of health-related fitness assessment, (e.g. Fitness Gram, President’s Council) to the students at an early age to prepare them for future assessments.
  • The physical education program shall be provided adequate space and equipment and conform to all applicable safety standards.
  • Schools may choose to offer intramural sports or activities after school. These offerings may require a fee for students to participate.
  • Waivers for physical education are discouraged.
  • Physical education will be taught by a licensed instructor.
  • The district will ensure that PE staff will receive professional development on a yearly basis.

  • Recess

All elementary school students will have at least 15 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors( weather permitting) during which schools should encourage moderate physical activity as long as there is appropriate space and equipment.

  • Schools should discourage extended periods (i.e. two or more hours) of inactivity.
  • When activities such as mandatory school-wide testing make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active. (The district will provide instruction to staff members on how to model these breaks). 
  • Teachers and other school and community personnel should refrain from withholding opportunities for physical activities (i.e. recess, physical education) as punishment.

Safe Routes to School

As part of the Safe Routes to School Federal Grant Program the school district will assess and, if necessary and to the extent possible, and if grant funds are made available, make needed improvements to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school. When appropriate the district will work together with local public works, public safety, and/or police departments in these efforts.

Use of School Facilities Outside of School Hours

School spaces and facilities should be available to students, staff and community organizations before and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacations. School policies concerning safety will apply at all times.

The district is encouraged to promote the use of school facilities outside of school hours for physical activity programs offered by community-based organizations. Certain fees may be applied.

Staff Wellness

Cranston Public Schools highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts made by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Staff will be encouraged to model healthy eating and physical activity as a valuable part of daily life.

The school department will strive to provide nutrition and physical education activity education opportunities to all school staff at the elementary, middle and high school levels. These educational opportunities may include the distribution of materials, arrangements of presentations or workshops that focus on nutritional value and healthy lifestyles, health assessments, fitness activities and other appropriate nutrition and physical-activity related topics.

Community Involvement

The district/school will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The district will:

  • Inform parents and community groups of the Wellness policies.
  • Post menus and nutritional information regarding school food programs.
  • Provide information regarding physical activity opportunities for students before, during and after the school day.
  • Provide information via a website, newsletter or other form of communication to notify parents of opportunities for nutrition information, healthy eating, school menus.
  • Opportunities for physical activities for children outside of the school day and any other Wellness related information.
  • Support approved community organizations in providing information to students about opportunities for physical activities.
  • Send home yearly surveys to get feedback on nutrition and physical education throughout the district.
  • Continue to provide opportunities for our students to be exposed to healthy foods using the Farm-To-School program as well as the Local Produce Day and Cooking contests sponsored by the food service provider.

Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting

This policy and any proposed updates will be posted and accessible on the school district website.

In an effort to ensure compliance with established district-wide wellness policies updated policy information will be provided to each principal so that they may distribute the necessary information to staff and parents/guardians.

Policy information may be posted at each school at the principals’ request.

School food service staff will ensure compliance of nutrition policies within the school food service areas and will report on this matter to the School Committee. These reports will include any issues, concerns and reviews of USDA School Meals Initiatives.

The Superintendent and his/her designee will ensure compliance of these policies within the district and will report on the school’s compliance to the School Committee.

Policy Review

An assessment of the district to determine policy compliance will be done every two years. This review will be done via survey at the school level and possible surveying of parents, staff, students and food service providers.

Review and reporting of these surveys will be submitted by the Wellness Committee to the School Committee and will be made public on the district website.

The district will, as necessary, revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation.

See : School Health Index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), Changing the Scene from the Team Nutrition Program of the USDA, and Opportunity to Learn Standards for Elementary, Middle and High School Physical Education from NASPE. 11

Resources for Local School Wellness Policies on Nutrition and Physical Activity


Cardiovascular Health Promotion in Schools, American Heart Association [link to pdf]

School Health Councils:

Nutrition: General Resources on Nutrition

School Meals

Meal Times and Scheduling

  • Eating at School: A Summary of NFSMI Research on Time Required by Students to Eat Lunch, National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) [Attach PDF file]
  • Relationships of Meal and Recess Schedules to Plate Waste in Elementary Schools, National Food Service Management Institute, http://www.nfsmi.org/Information/Newsletters/insight24.pdf

Nutrition Standards for Foods and Beverages Sold Individually

Fruit and Vegetable Promotion in Schools

Fundraising Activities




Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing: Health Education

Nutrition Education and Promotion

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting

Food Marketing to Children

Eating Disorders

Staff Wellness

Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education:

General Resources on Physical Activity

Physical Education


Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School

Safe Routes to School

Monitoring and Policy Review:

Policy Adopted: September 18, 2006 CRANSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Resolution No.: 06-9-24 CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND

Policy Amended: 11-26-09

Resolution No.: 09-7-21

Policy Amended: June 24, 2013 

Resolution No.: 13-6-27