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School Nutrition Programs Local Wellness Policy

Local School Wellness Policies aim to promote sound nutrition, student health, reduce childhood obesity, and provide transparency to the public on the school wellness environment. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires all sponsors participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or School Breakfast Program (SBP) to establish a written Local School Wellness Policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. Sponsor​s have the flexibility to develop Local School Wellness Policies that meet the needs of their students and school community, but must meet the minimum requirements set by USDA.​

Effective Aug. 13, 2021: Public Act 102-0359​ requires Illinois school districts to incorporate a food sharing plan for unused food focused on students in need into their local wellness policy.

​Local Wellness Policy Success Stories

ISBE is looking for effective strategies that Illinois Schools are using to Implement and evaluate their wellness policies, along with sample policies. Please help us by submitting your success story or your sample policy to​​​​

 Templates and Tools

Intent of Use for Local Wellness Policy Templates

The Local Wellness Policy templates created by the Illinois State Board of Education serve as an interactive resource for Districts and Residential Child Care Institutions participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. The Local Wellness Policy templates meet the minimum Local Wellness Policy requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The intent is for organizations to tailor the template as needed based on their specific goals. Organizations should consider the needs of the population being served along with evidence-based resources and research when determining goals to be included in the Local Wellness Policy. These templates may be used as a Local Wellness Policy or as a supplement to an organization’s Local Wellness Policy.

Instructions for Local Wellness Policy Templates

The text contained in the Local Wellness Policy templates is intended to be altered as organizations see fit. Organizations are responsible for reviewing rules and regulations governing Local Wellness Policies in order to ensure that edits made to the template for purposes of using the template as an organization’s own Local Wellness Policy continue to meet federal and local requirements. Red, italicized text provides guidance and clarification on regulatory requirements and best practices. This text may be removed once the Local Wellness Policy is completed by the district. Yellow, highlighted text designates sections where organizations should insert customized policy language based on its needs.​​​​

 Triennial Assessment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires all sponsors participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or School Breakfast Program (SBP) to have a local wellness policy and assess that policy at least once every three years. This is referred to as the triennial assessment and must assess: 1) compliance with the wellness policy, 2) progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy, and 3) how the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies. Triennial assessments must be completed for all participating sites under the sponsor’s jurisdiction. ISBE has developed the following template to assist sponsors with completing the triennial assessment. Sponsors may use ISBE’s template, CDC’s Wellness Policy in Action Tool (WPAT), or develop their own form for the triennial assessment that meets USDA’s three criteria listed above.​

Under original USDA guidance, the first triennial assessment was due June 30, 2020. Some sponsors may have been approved for a later due date as a result of several USDA waivers. Sponsors with extended due dates for their first triennial assessment are listed below. Sponsors are encouraged to review all lists. Existing sponsors not on any of the three lists have a due date of June 30, 2020, for the first triennial assessment. For new NSLP/SBP sponsors, the first triennial assessment is due no later than three years from your meal program start date approved by ISBE.

 Task Force

​State Goal on Wellness Policy Adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education ​PDF Document

Public Act 94-0199 required the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to form an interagency working group to convene a School Wellness Policy Task Force consisting of members of various organizations and agencies as identified in the legislation.

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