Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday February 3rd, 2023
Twitter Profile Facebook Profile LinkedIn Profile RSS Profile

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture

Central High School Students Lead A Fitness Friday Activity On The Campus Of The Phoenix School. Photo Courtesy Core Purpose Consulting

Building Healthy Communities is a concept quickly being embraced throughout America, and this effort to unite communities and schools improves the well-being of all stakeholders.

What has an ideal world looked like for the past few months? What will an ideal world look like in the next few months as students return to school, restaurants open and people continue to unite across America? 

The one thing we are sure of is that building the healthiest social and emotional climate, culture and community should be the forefront of our decisions moving forward.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture Dr.-Hesse-new-photo-smaller
Dr. WiSH – William S. Hesse, Ph.D., founder of Core Purpose Consulting Group “Making your healthy school wish come true”

Why should we develop a healthy culture for our students, communities and educators? The bottom line is that culture drives success.

To ensure the creativity of healthy learning continues, we need to produce life-long healthy learners and revolutionize America’s education systems to include a healthy culture that provides educational opportunites and incorporates engaging, equitable, and healthy decisions.

If healthy kids are our focus, we need to be humble, willing to learn and become facilitators of building a comprehensive healthy culture. That means we need to have high academic expectations for students and value the education of the whole child the whole day, not just the child from the neck up.

Educators are hard-working, under-paid warriors on the front-lines.  It is the hope of the authors that the evidence presented in the AZEdNews healthy school series and the many schools implementing this process, will encourage all educators to do what they know to be right and educate children as whole people. We, as educators and parents, do not have to choose between meeting the basic needs of physical activity, nutrition, and emotional wellness vs. students performing well academically; we can and should be doing both.

Building a healthy community cannot be left in the hands of the educators alone. You, the readers, are the the change agents that can ensure the building of a healthy school culture and community by taking part in the decisions in your community.

“The emotional well-being of a person increases as well as the amount of positive feelings present when they have companionship, such as involvement in the community. Considering the pandemic and protests we are living through right now, these actions are as important as ever. The relationship between the community and flourishing lifestyles is prominent and crucial to maintaining a healthy culture.” – Dominic L. (SDOHS: SWAT Vice-President)

This is the fifth of 12 articles in a series for AZEdNews on the school’s role in design and implementation of “healthy schools” across America. Featured resources are “The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Home Learning,” “The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation.” and “The Ultimate Guide to Building a Healthy Culture,” coming July 1, preorder your copy today for 50% off. They are available at

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Building-a-Healthy-School-Culture

“The Ultimate Guide to Building a Healthy Culture”: preorder your copy today for 50% off

This article highlights healthy culture relationships and equity with examples from a partnership and includes a high school-student’s perspective, compelling testimonies from parents, DVUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Curtis Finch and Board Vice-President Anne O’Brien. One focal point of a healthy school culture is the creation of a student-led wellness advocacy team (SWAT).

Core Purpose Consulting’s The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation Video

Using Student Wellness Advocacy Teams to build a healthy culture

Building a Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) on your campus is one of the most important aspects in developing a healthy culture and building a healthy community. SWAT is a 100% student-led healthy school initiative for grades Pre-K through 12 that strives to enhance the educational experience.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture SWAT-STUDENTS

SWAT’s mission is to ensure that school is an experience for students to remember, be academically successful, and sustain a healthy mindset for life. The goals are to achieve awards, create impact and gain recognition (Awards, Impact, Recognition-AIR) not only for the school, but for the surrounding communities.

SWAT plays a significant role in academic success. SWAT, endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is the vehicle to deliver concepts such as social and emotional climate, physical activity, nutrition, healthy communities, healthy schools and healthy leadership. Core Purpose Consulting’s Dr. Lineberry is the featured administrator in the WSCC Model Video.

Related articles:
Eat your medicine: Nutrition’s impact on learning, behavior and social health

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture

Increasing physical activity: How movement creates a healthier mindset

Healthy Home Learning Guide offer by Core Purpose Consulting

Emotional intelligence: How to express yourself responsibly

Cyberbullying: What it looks like for different ages

Increased anxiety during testing and how to fight back

How important is a healthy culture and community?

“One of the main programs Deer Valley Unified School District focuses on is the social, emotional and physical learning and the SWAT program fits right into that. The beauty of the SWAT program is the students are empowered to make decisions. That is what makes it so successful. We are seeing an impact inside the building and outside in the community as well.” – Deer Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Curtis Finch

If a community strengthens a healthy culture and a healthy culture strengthens a community, doesn’t it make sense that these two concepts should go hand in hand?

A truly healthy culture is one that promotes all aspects of health, including community involvement. 

The School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) and Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) designed for schools across the nation is a perfect example of what should be the building block of every PreK-12 school in America. 

“SWAT should be in every school in DVUSD as well as every school across America.” – Ann O’Brien, DVUSD Governing Board Vice-President

Community connection promotes a healthy culture by increasing the positive emotions present in a person, reducing the amount of stress, and promoting nutritional lifestyles. The Student Wellness Advocacy Team encourages involvement of schools as well as other members of the community to prioritize the well-being of students. S.W.A.T. also goes one step further and introduces amazing opportunities. I won an award for being a part of the 18 under 18 winners in Junior Achievement and selected to the Student Advisory Board for the City of Peoria as the student wellness advocacy team brought out my leadership skills and presented the community with projects that left a positive impact.” – Dominique L., Sandra Day O’Connor High School’s SWAT Vice-President

Incorporating the community in projects would increase the social interactions of the youth, benefit those involved on an emotional level, and advance spiritual awareness.

S.W.A.T. is the connection that ties many different people together to complete activities that would profit more than just themselves. Together, the school communities can perform projects that have amazing outcomes to promote healthier lifestyles as well as engage students in the classroom. The Student Wellness Advocacy Team makes reaching out to peers a priority as this further enhances awareness of a healthy life.

People from outside social cliques and student’s private lives are brought into these projects presented to help them progress using ideas and beneficial influences. Learning how to contact others within a community further enhances specific skills a student needs once they are active adults in society.

“A healthy culture is built when bonds are made and contact expands beyond small boundaries. Growing connections spreads positive influences, creating not only healthy cultures but healthy lifestyles. Building these bonds reduces the stress created in people’s lives.  Living healthy is living happy!” Dominique said.

I had the privilege to be a part of a guest panel of Judges at SDOHS for the end of the year SWAT project presentations of the students. Over 50 student advocacy teams shared what it is they had been working on all semester. Presentations included peer awareness of mindfulness practices to assist in reducing student stress, healthy relationships, peer-to-peer mentoring, physical activity and so much more. These students were all extremely passionate about the areas in which they had chosen, and it served as a reminder (for me) that as adults, we need to continue to empower our youth with not only getting involved within their local schools, but allowing them the opportunities to cultivate life long skills outside of simply striving to achieve a particular letter grade. Dr. Hesse is doing some ground-breaking things on that campus, and students are responding – Stefanie Calens, DVUSD Parent Liaison

As a parent, continue to advocate for health and wellness in your school and district. Connect your child with health and wellness at home together with school. These two entities should not be separate. A healthy and active lifestyle starts at the Pre-K and Kindergarten levels. Continue to bridge the gap between your school and home in regards to health and wellness.

We are all striving to have an everlasting impact on our children to be the most healthiest and active they can be, so these behaviors transfer to adult habits. And often times, you will notice these habits help prevent tobacco, substance abuse or alcohol habits as well. A more healthy and active child will grow to be a more healthy and active adult.

SWAT takes the approach of promoting physical, nutritional, educational, social, emotional and mental wellness across the campus community.

I spoke with two separate student wellness advocacy teams and viewed their presentations. One, was focused on healthy lifestyles for student athletes, and encompassed areas such as diet, exercise, stress management etc.

It was incredible really. I asked the two girls who were leading this about their research efforts and came to find out, it was quite extensive. Months of reading, paired with statistical analysis was put into this site, and they are now working towards having it published on the actual school site for all students to take advantage of.

“Imagine if all of our schools got on board in the capacities that best fit their culture and ages. We could have not just an excelling district, but a thriving one!” Calens said.

What effective advocacy looks like in schools

Central High School: Phoenix, Arizona

Central High School in Phoenix, Arizona has been very successful in initiating a culture of wellness this year, using the SHAC/SWAT design.  Having the common goal of rebranding the school and creating a healthier and happier environment for students and staff, has really brought the campus together. 

The promotion of a “Fitness Friday” routine has spread throughout the campus, with students designing and facilitating physically active events during the lunches every Friday. 

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture CTE-Fitness-Friday

The SWAT students started strong collaboration efforts with the sports medicine and marketing students to promote other clubs and sports each week by designing a related physical activity to bring everyone together. 

They also use “Fitness Friday” as a platform to work with the other career and technical education programs, like graphic design and business, and have future plans for collaboration with culinary and engineering to improve the weekly events. 

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture CTE-Game-Zone

Aside from the weekly activities, they have also extended their reach to the surrounding community.  They volunteer at the district health fairs to show people how to test and challenge their fitness, and they started an annual toy drive for Ryan’s House/Hospice of the Valley. 

The SWAT students at Central High School are continually coming up with new ideas to strengthen the community, while promoting healthy habits.

Since the campus has gone to remote learning, students continued using SWAT as a platform for community engagement, hosting and running a virtual marathon, sending uplifting video messages to their peers, and continually contributing to the wellness resources on the school website.

Sandra Day O’Connor High School: Phoenix, Arizona

Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Arizona is in their 3rd year of using the SHAC/SWAT design.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture SWAT


  • Arizona Shark Tank First Place Award: Mindfulness Room
  • Healthy Arizona Worksites Program (HAWP) 3 X Platinum Award Winner: Only HS to achieve a Platinum Award in Arizona.
  • Junior Achievement: Top 18 Students in Arizona Selection and 2X First Place Awards
  • NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 Award Winner
  • Several Grant Awards Recipients
  • Awarded A+ School of Excellence Award
  • Finalist in the NCAA Final-Four Minutes Out of Your Seat Contest


  • Gallup Poll: 97% of Increase in campus-wide Student Engagement
  • Gallup Poll: 38% of Increase in campus-wide Student Hope
  • Decreased discipline referrals
  • Increased Academic Achievement and Student Engagement
  • Went from B to an A+ school of excellence in a 1 year time period
  • Over 1200 students have participated or are currently in SWAT on campus
  • Over 200 SWAT projects were implemented in a 2-year time span, which strive to create opportunities for staff, students and community members to include all 10 dimensions of wellness on campus and it surrounding community.
  • SWAT is 100% student led in conjunction with staff and community members as the main facilitators (otherwise known as a School Healthy Advisory Council (SHAC)). Currently there are over 20 staff members involved in SWAT as well 10 community members leading SWAT projects on our campus.


  • Model healthy high school for several high schools in Arizona
  • ABC 15
  • Good Morning Arizona: Ch. 3
  • Action for Healthy Kids Magazine
  • The Talon Newspaper
  • Nationally Recognized as top US Healthiest High School

A Student’s Perspective: by Neil K., SDOHS’s SWAT President

“What does it mean to build a healthy culture in school, as well as the community? But perhaps more importantly, how would that be implemented? The Student Wellness Advocacy Team (S.W.A.T.) is a large group of dedicated students who aspire to make a positive impact in schools and the community. S.W.A.T. has largely affected the overall Sandra Day O’Connor campus and culture in a plethora of ways, from building a meditation room for all students to use, to emphasizing the importance of recycling and actually implementing this in all classrooms. I became involved in S.W.A.T. in my freshman year of high school, and I absolutely enjoyed it.” – Neil K., Sandra Day O’Connor High School’s SWAT President

My specific S.W.A.T. project involved working with the DVUSD board members and Put on the Cape, a nonprofit organization, to raise awareness of the pressing issue of physical and abuse of children, Neil said.

In order to accomplish this, I invited the founder of Put on the Cape to speak to all of Dr. Hesse’s Health classes about the large concern over the abuse of children, and what his organization does to combat this. By leading action figure donation drives in our school campus for this organization, I aimed to make a difference in the lives of children who go through extreme hardship, Neil said.

“A few months later, I was able to volunteer and run at a Put on the Cape 5k fundraiser run. Without S.W.A.T. and the many opportunities that it had opened up for me, I never would have been able to impact our school and our community with such magnitude,” Neil said.

I was able to secure such positions as FBLA Regionals 2nd Place, SWAT President and Public Speaking State Finalist, Neil said.

“After my second year of high school started, I decided to do another donation drive for Put on the Cape and members brought in action figures, new clothes, and money. At the end of the drive, we were able to raise $200, 100 new action figures, and new shirts. The presence of S.W.A.T. in my freshman year motivated me to continuously impact our school and community throughout high school,” Neil said.

As a result of the success S.W.A.T. has had in building a better and healthier high school experience as well as connecting students and the community together, other schools looked to implement S.W.A.T. in their campuses.

“With the help of Dr. Hesse, I was able to help a few students and parents who wished to achieve this implement S.W.A.T. in the campus of Cactus Shadows High School and Apache Junction High School specifically, and it has been a rewarding experience,” Neil said.

S.W.A.T. has allowed students to make new friends, as well as allow peers to work together to accomplish a common goal of improving our community. More people become connected to each other through this process, and society becomes a healthier and happier place.

“My hopes are the others schools will want to work together with our SWAT team. This includes K-8 and high schools,” Neil said.

How can Social Influence enhance your culture?

How can one use media and intentional content to create a healthier, more informed community? In communities all over the country, administrators, teachers, parents, and students need access to quality information that not only makes them feel a part of the community, but impacts and improves quality of their life.

By creating media that engages and informs your community, you change the trajectory of their lives and increase their knowledge base. In fact, with some forward thinking and planning, technology can be used to promote regular healthy school communities across America.

When a community embraces healthy practices, such as engaging in regular physical activity, intentional nutrition, and a multitude of wellness opportunities, it cultivates positive reinforcement that encourages everyone to participate. Never underestimate the power of social media, especially when it comes young people. 

As currently seen in national news events such as the pandemic and the protests, social media can be used to influence people across America to build a healthy community and school culture as well. It inspires others, and can initiates community competitions or challenges for peers to get involved, such as the Minutes Out of Your Seat Contest found on Facebook groups.

With advancements in technology, people can now control their “smart” house from the comfort of their own couch, car, or from across the country if they want to. Everything is going wireless, portable, and voice activated, resulting in an unbelievable amount of ways that society is becoming more and more sedentary. As technology continues to advance, we must resist the urge to allow technology to rule our lives for the sake of, not just our physical health, but our social, emotional and mental health as well.

As technology is constantly improving and becoming even more appealing to the masses, it is important as ever to maintain a healthy culture. 

One Sandra Day O’Connor High School SWAT student even produced a song about it as a tribute to parents, teachers, administrators and students across America.

Healthy Community Inspirational Song: A tribute from high school students to parents, teachers and administrators across America. Produced by SWAT Student, Daniel M., SDOHS


A great marketing strategy for companies and schools that promote health would be to target a community business or school that is already focused on a form of wellness.  These communities will welcome advertisements, promotions and activities that align with the healthy lifestyles and business, thus getting more people in the community exposed to the overall mission of the healthy community. 

Combining local community businesses right into the school setting (with proper school-approval practices), such as before during and after school Yoga, Healthy Hour workouts with local gyms, Mindfulness Rooms, Nutritional Experts and partnerships, such as Core Purpose Consulting’s with Pisanick Partners, is one of the top ways to improve your school culture and the community as a whole and develop a cycle of reinforcement and repetition.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture Pisanick-Partners-ad-for-Healthy-School-Culture

New opportunities, events, featuring companies and products that promote the shared values of a community that focuses on a health culture are essential.  In those communities, students, administrators, teachers and parents can find innovative ways to fulfill those needs and opportunities will flourish as a result. 

Once school administration supports the healthy schools and healthy community initiative, choose a launch method that SWAT will thrive in, such as health classes, student government, sports medicine or clubs.

Connect funding opportunities within the community, visit on and off campus events to promote SWAT and get student leaders involved. Sandra Day O’Connor High School led by wellness champion Dr. William S. Hesse and Central High School in Arizona led by wellness champion Jennifer Guerrette are models for other schools to follow. will help your school get started or take your focus to the next level. 

The relationship that a strong community has with a culture of health and wellness is obvious to those who are a part of it.  The best part is that it can be developed from a place where neither exist currently, and it will transform into something that dramatically improves the quality of life for those involved.

How healthy schools help teachers

In our last article we discussed how culture can determine the success of a school, and creating a healthy school culture with the means to connect physical activity before, during and after school can considerably increase the components that make up high levels of Emotional Intelligence.

A Healthy Culture incorporates mindfulness, concentration, problem solving, being aware of one’s emotions as well as facing challenges in ways to self-regulate and practice emotional intelligence as a whole and many other wellness opportunities. There is a direct relation between a healthier culture and success in the school and community as a whole.

Society is at a curious point in its development, with regards to its population’s health and wellness. By now the general public is aware of the importance of exercise and physical activity as it directly relates to our physical health. We’ve known this since we were in grade school playing dodge ball in our physical education class. However, trends in the world we live in contribute to a lack of movement in our day-to-day lives.

At this point you have made the decision to implement a change in your life, professional or personal, public or private. As you forge ahead we want to be by your side providing you with strategies and interventions to assist you in being successful with your implementation of change.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture Healthy-Schools-The-Core-Purpose-logo

As a classroom teacher you have a tremendous impact on the lives of your students, a fact that we have discussed throughout this article. 

Some of the things you can do to effect change quickly in your school include brain breaks, recess, movement, as well as healthy and active integrated lessons.

Remember never use use recess time or physical activity of any form as a punishment for students. We want our students to be the healthiest and most active children they can be.

I often ask this question, “What is it worth to you to have every child on your campus be healthy and active?”

What would that do to the culture of your campus and the climate of your classroom?

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Brain Break Activities can motivate other teachers to make their classrooms healthy as well.
    • Able to modify lesson plans to include physical activity…Include research found about importance of it. (Increases concentration etc.)
    • Modeling, Cross Curriculum.
    • School-wide health event.
    • Present ideas during start of school staff meetings.
    • Present ideas of what you are doing in your classroom.
    • Motivate other teachers to follow your lead regarding your active and engaged classroom.
    • Put healthy posters up on school/classroom walls. Classroom competition for most creative poster.
    • How do we get parents involved?
    • Get a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation at

Intentionally look for ways to incorporate physical activity into your students’ learning and watch the culture of your campus change.

Elementary and high schools can make the switch to be a more healthy and active school by including movement within instruction. We know it will be different, and we know you will be a change agent.

How a healthy culture helps school administrators

Until we as a culture, community, district and school begin to look at student wellness as a critically important part of the whole child, we are doing a disservice to our children.

Life is not simply based on academics, and the students of today find themselves struggling with little to no life skills outside of this arena. 

Social, emotional, physical, and mental wellness is not just something our school kids can benefit from in the short term. These are life-long and sustainable skills that will help them live longer.

Training is key, and, it can be done. I currently run the entire SWAT program and teach a full load of classes at the high school. The transformation of the healthy culture on that campus is beyond evident and the most encouraging piece is that the kids are a major part of that.

I encourage our officials to get up from behind their desks, and stand where the students stand and simply watch SWAT in action. Develop, Implement and Deploy a healthy school culture. With amazing students and dedicated educators, change is more in reach than they often think!

What principals can do

As the school principal, the direction of the school lies in your hands.  

Some things to consider to bring about positive change are:


  • Add a SWAT and a SHAC Team
  • Identify a Wellness Champion
  • Partner with other schools in your community
  • Partner with businesses in your community
  • Improved cafeteria options


  • Schedule professional development training with
  • Purchase a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation at
  • How can the parent group at the school raise funds without selling candy bars or soda? 


  • How can the parent group at the school raise funds without selling candy bars or soda? 
  • Ideas for non-food ways to raise funds:  fun runs, community health fairs, selling fruit at after school events and carnivals, promoting water consumption through-out the day, vending snacks meeting all standards of the new ruling.
  • How will vending machines on campus need to be changed?


  • How can recess fit into the school day?  Lunch?  Brain breaks for kids and staff? 
  • Required 45 minutes of physical activity everyday for every child.
  • Freedom for teachers to schedule recess
  • Switch lunch and recess
  • Created before, during and after school programs that incorporated health/wellness
  • Created recess options linked to student success
  • 60 minutes of cumulative physical activity everyday
  • PE for all k-5 students at least 4 times a week, PE before classes if possible
  • PE for all middle grades students everyday, PE before classes if possible


  • How will instruction change so that physical activity and movement do not impact time on task in the classroom?
  • How can health, wellness, and nutrition education fit into the current school day?
  • Healthy and active integrated lessons weekly
  • Improve academic achievement through movement to increase brain functions in all grade levels and all subject areas

Staff Buy-In

  • How do you get a staff that is used to using gummy bears or candy as a reward in class to change the mindset?
  • How do you encourage staff not to take away recess as a form of punishment?
  • How do build teacher confidence in teaching about nutrition, health, and wellness?

There are a variety of considerations for principals and teachers as schools move forward with becoming a comprehensive healthy school.  

How parents can be involved

When parents get together outside of school, is the discussion about what is broken about school or how things can be improved?

Having a positive attitude about school has an impact on students, teachers, parents, and the entire community.  Think about the healthy culture as a whole and how the community’s role in building that culture is just as important as the administration, teachers and students.

You, as a parent, have a vital role in creating a positive, healthy school culture. We all want to be proud of our child’s school. We want to share our enthusiasm and school spirit with others.

Building healthy communities: Redefining school culture Dr-William-Hesse-photo-and-contact-number-1024x582
Contact information for Dr. WiSH – William S. Hesse Ph.D.

How important is school culture? In short, the prevailing atmosphere in your school will affect everything that goes on inside its walls. Likewise, a toxic school culture will spill over into our home lives and community connections. This goes beyond the student body: It also impacts how parents interact with each other. Parents can model the behaviors that they want to see in their schools and advocate to adopt a healthy culture, and ensure all students thrive.

Schools can create meaningful parent involvement that helps foster positive feelings between the school and the parents. If you want more parents to be engaged, then involve the healthy culture arenas described in this article to your community outreach and more parents will come through the doors to assist.

Parents, ask about joining your schools SHAC team and how your son or daughter can join the SWAT team. We should all be involved in the development, implementation, and update in all school wellness opportunities. As parents, we want to know that we can help to ensure that our children are in a safe and healthy environment.

Parents should continue to advocate for health and wellness in your school and district. Connect your child with health and wellness at home together with school. These two entities should not be separate. A healthy and active lifestyle starts at the Pre-K and Kindergarten levels.

Continue to bridge the gap between your school and home in regards to health and wellness. We are all striving to have an everlasting impact on our children to be the healthiest and most active they can be, so these behaviors transfer to adult habits.

Often times, you will notice these habits help prevent tobacco, substance abuse or alcohol habits as well. A more healthy and active child will grow to be a more healthy and active adult.

All people desire to contribute beyond themselves in a meaningful way. When parents build a bridge between school and community, amazing things can happen. Schools should welcome community involvement and allow community organizations, charitable organizations, wellness groups and others to contribute to a healthy school culture. 

Setting Up for Success: USDA ruling for schools- supportive facts for conversations

What can a school leader, parent, or teacher do in order to begin to move in a positive direction regarding becoming more healthy and active.?

The first step will be to establish a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC).  A SHAC should have 12 to 14 members and should have representation from parents, teachers, students and community stakeholders.  The purpose of the SHAC is to guide the mission and direction of the school regarding health and wellness.  The establishment of a SHAC is not optional; it is required by federal ruling.  

In July of 2010 Congress authorized the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 in order to strengthen the Healthy Women, Infants, and Children Reauthorization Act from 2004. 

In July of 2016, The USDA Food and Nutrition Service finalized regulations to create a framework and guidelines for written wellness plans and policies that have been established by Local Education Agencies (LEA’s).  This finalization requires that local school wellness policy during the 2016- 2017 school be revised.  

LEA’s must comply with the requirements of the final rule by June 30, 2017 or face the possible loss of National School Lunch Program funding. The new rule specifies the following criteria must be met:

  • Specific goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote wellness (recess).
  • Standards for nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages sold to students on the school campus during the school day must meet Federal regulations:
    • School meal nutrition standards
    • Smart Snacks in School nutrition Standards
  • Standards for all foods and beverages provided, but not sold to students (classroom parties, snacks, food as incentives)
  • Policies for food and beverage marketing that allow marketing and advertising of only foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
  • Description of public involvement, public updates, policy leadership, and evaluation plan.
  • There must be one person in the district with responsibility of making sure that every school in the LEA is in compliance.
  • The LEA must, at a minimum, permit participation by the general public and the school community, to include parents, students and representatives from the food industry, Physical Education teachers, school health professionals, the school board, and school administrators in the wellness policy process.
  • The State agencies are required to assess compliance with the wellness policy requirements every three years.
  • The LEA must assess progress, evaluate programming, and make comparison to model programs throughout the country.
  • The State agency will examine records during the three year review including the following:
    • Copy of the current wellness policy
    • Documentation of how the assessment of the policy is made available to the public.
    • The most recent assessment of the implementation of the policy
    • Documentation of efforts to review and update the policy, including who was involved in the process and how stakeholders were made aware of their ability to participate.

This finalization spells big changes for districts and schools throughout the country and ssignificant work on the part of the school and the community to complete.  

As a company, Core Purpose Consulting wants to assist with this process and has resources and expertise to make the process successful and fully inclusive  (US Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Services, 2016).

Need some guidance?

The Core Purpose is a Healthy Schools Consulting Team with national experts in all areas and will help determine your needs, help establish your goals, and facilitate those goals coming to fruition. Visit us at

A purposeful and intentional healthy culture and community leads to a cycle of positivity in our lives. A healthy culture helps build a positive self-image, which leads to more self-confidence, which in turn leads to a more ambitious way of life. This includes goal setting and achievement, developing healthy eating and sleeping habits, and a general positive outlook on life.

It is important to share this message with educators, families and students as you are all such an integral part of redefining what a school culture should encompass as well as ambassadors to the world. The diversity of a healthy community helps one another broaden our perspectives and become better local and global citizens and students.

I encourage you to implement your WHY to encompass physical activity and health and wellness as an integral part of your community outreach. A healthy student has many aspects, reaching the whole child the whole day will assist in the implementation of your redefined healthy culture.

A few years ago, I used to hear push back as to WHY a healthy school culture won’t work or at least certain aspects of this.

Moving forward in our next semester, I feel the only thing I will be hearing is how important the healthy school culture is and what more can we do together to achieve this.

We hope your WHY can be the springboard to set you in place to be the Administrator or Teacher of the Years, Outstanding Achievement Award Winners and future student and parent leaders of your districts.

Remember, the only limits that exist are the ones that you create.


The featured resources that can help teachers, administrators, parents and students design and implement a healthy school culture and community in any learning environment can be found at

Core Purpose Consulting’s About Us Video

Core Purpose Consulting’s The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Home Learning video

And coming July 1, “The Ultimate Guide to Building a Healthy Culture.” Preorder your copy today for 50% off.