Every school has a committee that meets regularly to address school health issues, including the implementation of the Wellness Guidelines. The ideal Wellness Committee consists of school administration, faculty and staff, as well as student, family and community representatives. One of the responsibilities of the Wellness Committee is to complete the School Health Index annually in order to identify priority areas for the school’s Academic Plan.
Our schools work collaboratively with the School Food Services Branch to address five nutritional guidelines:
- All reimbursable meals and snacks must meet federal nutrient standards as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- All foods and beverages sold or served by the school or at school-sponsored events comply with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines.
- Nutrition information for food and beverages is readily available near the point of purchase.
- Food and beverage providers promote positive nutritional messages on school property.
- Meals served at school feature fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables from local sources to the greatest extent possible.
Click for more information about the Nutritional Guidelines for food and beverages.
Health and Nutrition Education
Guidelines for health and nutrition education are organized around five key components:
- All required health education classes include a focus on knowledge and skills that support healthy eating and are aligned with the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards for health education.
- Required health education classes have instructional periods totaling a minimum of 45 minutes per week for grades K-3, 55 minutes per week for grades 4-5, 107 minutes for elementary grade 6, and 200 minutes per week for secondary grades 6-12.
- Nutrition education is integrated into other areas of the curriculum such as math, science, language arts and social studies.
- The school promotes the importance of students starting the day with a healthy breakfast, including participation in the School Breakfast Program.
- The school promotes the importance of students eating a nutritious lunch and healthy snacks, including participation in the National School Lunch Program and After School Snack Program (if applicable).
Click for more information about the Health and Nutrition Education Guidelines.
Physical Education and Activity
The goal of physical education (PE) is to support all students in achieving the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. Participation in PE also helps students reach the national recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
Regular physical activity builds healthy bones and muscles, improves muscular strength and endurance, reduces the risk for developing chronic disease, improves self-esteem, and reduces stress and anxiety. Research also shows that physical activity can help improve student academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.
There are 10 guidelines to support physical education and activity:
- All required physical education classes are aligned with the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards for physical education.
- Required physical education classes have instructional periods totaling a minimum of 45 minutes per week for grades K-3, 55 minutes per week for grades 4-5, 107 minutes for elementary grade 6, and 200 minutes per week for secondary grades 6-12.
- The school ensures that state-certified physical education instructors teach all physical education classes and have a student/teacher ratio similar to other classes.*
- Each secondary school’s physical education department provides continuing support to students and their families to help them participate in physical activity outside of physical education class.
- All students have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, during which students are encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
- The school provides information to families to help them incorporate physical activity into students’ lives.
- The school discourages extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity.
- When mandatory school-wide testing makes it necessary for students to be inactive for an extended period, schools will give students periodic breaks to stand and be moderately active unless the testing protocol specifies otherwise.*
- The school does not use physical activity as punishment.
- The school does not withhold opportunities for physical activity as punishment.
* These Guidelines are conditional and not mandatory at this time.
Click for more information about the Department’s Physical Education and Activity Guidelines.
Safety and Wellness Survey
This annual online survey of public school principals is used to monitor and evaluate schools’ progress towards implementing the Wellness Guidelines. It is jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Health. Key indicators from the SAWS are included in the Superintendent’s Annual report. Click to view the latest Safety and Wellness Survey results.
Policies and resources to support children
To support and develop the academic achievement, character building and social-emotional well-being of all children, the Board of Education develops policies and the Department cultivates and curates aligned resources for students, employees and the public school system.