Dream Diné Wellness Policy

Dream Diné Charter School is committed to the optimal development of every student. The school’s mission states, “Our school strives to nurture strong, compassionate bilingual young people who are committed to their personal and community health, wellness, relationships and progress.” Diné philosophy, including the teachings of Nitsáhákees, Nahátá, Íina, and Siihasin inform the foundation of the school and guide interactions among students and the school community. In keeping with Diné traditional teachings, the school is concerned about the whole child: their physical, mental and emotional wellness. Staff and students are expected to interact using k’é, or Diné kinship and relations teachings.

Dream Diné Charter School believes that for students to have the opportunity to achieve personal, academic, developmental, and social success, we need to create positive, safe, and health-promoting learning environments at every level, in every setting, throughout the school year. To do this, all staff involved at Dream Diné Charter School must also be committed to all aspects of their own wellness.

This policy applies to all students and staff in Dream Diné Charter School. While this policy focuses on wellness through healthy eating, it will continue to be refined to include other aspects of wellness for the whole person. References and policy related to life skills, suicide prevention, discipline, violence prevention, peacemaking and restorative practices, drug free policy, attendance, behavioral expectations, child abuse and neglect, and bullying are included in the Dream Diné School Safety and Emergency Operations Plan.

Since its first year of operation in 2014, Dream Diné Charter School has partnered with Yeego Gardening, a branch of NMSU to provide a campus garden. Through this ongoing partnership, Yeego Gardening has developed a connection with the U of WA to assist with developing curriculum and other initiatives for more fully integrating gardening and food education into Dream Dine Charter School. This collaborative initiated its work in late Spring 2017 and concluded in Spring 2018. This partnership is a research project between NMSU and U of WA, through Yeego Gardening. Meanwhile, the garden area of the campus serves as a popular “teaching tool” to the students throughout the growing and harvest seasons. Harvested foods are shared with the local community and are used to reinforce traditional Diné teachings on foods. Composting supports the garden.

Research shows that two components, good nutrition and physical activity before, during, and after the school day, are strongly correlated with positive student outcomes. For example, student participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) School Breakfast Program is associated with higher grades and standardized test scores, lower absenteeism, and better performance on cognitive tasks. Conversely, less-than-adequate consumption of specific foods including fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, is associated with lower grades among students. In addition, students who are physically active through active transport to and from school, recess, physical activity breaks, high-quality physical education, and extracurricular activities – do better academically.

This policy outlines Dream Diné Charter School’s approach to ensuring environments and opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions.

Specifically, this policy establishes goals and procedures to ensure that:

  • Students in Dream Diné Charter School have access to healthy foods throughout the school day—through the Universal breakfast and lunch program—in accordance with Federal and state nutrition standards;
  • Dream Dine purchases breakfast and lunch from Central Consolidated School District which is served at no charge to all enrolled students;
  • Students receive quality nutrition education that helps them develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors;

  • Students have opportunities to be physically active before, during, and after school;
  • Schools engage in nutrition and physical activity promotion and other activities that promote student wellness;
  • School staff are encouraged and supported to practice healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors in and out of school;
  • The community is engaged in supporting the work of Dream Diné Charter School in creating continuity between school and other settings for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits; and
  • Dream Diné Charter School establishes and maintains an infrastructure for management, oversight, implementation, communication about, and monitoring of the policy and its established goals and objectives.

Dream Diné Charter School will convene a representative wellness committee (hereto referred to as the Dream Diné Wellness Committee, DDWC) that meets at least once per year to establish goals for and oversee school health and safety policies and programs, including development, implementation, and periodic review and update of this district-level wellness policy (heretofore referred as “wellness policy”).

The DDWC membership will represent the school and include (to the extent possible), but not be limited to: parents and caregivers; students; mental health and social services providers; school administrator, school board members; and health professionals (ex., dietitians, doctors, nurses, dentists).  The DDWC will reflect the diversity of the community.

The administrator or designee(s) will convene the DDWC and facilitate development of and updates to the wellness policy, and will ensure the school’s compliance with the policy.  The DDWC will include the minimum the Head Administrator, a Governing Council representative, an Americorps or Vista Volunteer, a teacher or education assistant, a parent and a community member.

The school will designate a school wellness policy coordinator, who will ensure compliance with the policy.

Dream Diné Charter School will develop and maintain a plan to manage and coordinate the execution of this wellness policy. The plan delineates roles, responsibilities, actions, and timelines specific to the school, and includes information about who will be responsible to make what change, by how much, where, and when, as well as specific goals and objectives for nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available on the school campus, food and beverage marketing, nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, physical education, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. When possible the school will use the Healthy Schools Program online tools to complete a school level assessment based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Index, create an action plan that fosters implementation, and generate an annual progress report.

This wellness policy and the progress reports can be found at: dreamdine.org

Dream Diné Charter School will maintain document compliance with the requirements of the wellness policy in “Building A” at Dream Dine Charter School in Shiprock NM, and/or on dreamdine.org. Documentation maintained will include but will not be limited to:

  • The written wellness policy;
  • Documentation demonstrating compliance with community involvement requirements, including (1) Efforts to actively solicit DDWC membership from stakeholder groups; and (2) These groups’ participation in the development, implementation, and periodic review and update of the wellness policy;
  • Documentation of annual policy progress reports for the school; and
  • Documentation demonstrating compliance with public notification requirements.

Dream Diné Charter School will compile and publish an annual report to share basic information about the wellness policy and report on the progress of meeting wellness goals. This annual report will be published around the same time each year in November. This report will include, but is not limited to:

  • The website address for the wellness policy and/or how the public can receive/access a copy of the wellness policy;
  • A description of the school’s progress in meeting the wellness policy goals;
  • A summary of the school’s events or activities related to wellness policy implementation;
  • The name and position title of the school leader(s) identified in Section I; and
  • Information on how individuals and the public can get involved with the DDWC.

The annual report will be available in PDF accessible through the school website, and in hardcopy, available in “Building A” in Dream Dine Charter School in Shiprock, NM.

The DDWC, will establish and monitor goals and objectives for Dream Diné Charter, for each of the content-specific components listed in Sections III-V of this policy.

  • Dream Diné Charter School will track, analyze, and report on any correlations between improvements in health-promoting environments with education outcomes, such as absenteeism, disciplinary referrals, test scores, average grades, or health measures such as consumption of whole grains, fruits, or vegetables through the school meal programs or BMI, or psycho-social measures such as self-reported “connectedness,” or other school climate measures.Dream Diné Charter School is encouraged to collaborate with local research institutions and universities.

The DDWC will update or modify the wellness policy based on the results of the annual progress reports and/or as District priorities change; community needs change; wellness goals are met; new health science, information, and technology emerges; and new Federal or state guidance or standards are issued. The wellness policy will be assessed and updated at least every three years.

Dream Diné Charter School is committed to being responsive to community input, which begins with awareness of the wellness policy. Dream Diné Charter School will inform parents of the improvements that have been made to school meals and compliance with school meal standards, availability of child nutrition programs and how to apply, and a description of and compliance with Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Dream Diné Charter School will use electronic mechanisms, such as email or displaying notices on Dream Diné Charter School’s website, as well as non-electronic mechanisms, such as newsletters, presentations to parents, or sending information home to parents, to ensure that all families are actively notified of the content of, implementation of, and updates to the wellness policy, as well as how to get involved and support the policy.

DDCS is committed to serving healthy meals to children, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat, and zero grams trans fat per serving (nutrition label or manufacturer’s specification); and to meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal programs aim to improve the diet and health of school children, help mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns, and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.

DDCS participates in USDA child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). DDCS is committed to offering school meals through the NSLP and SBP programs, and other applicable Federal child nutrition programs, that:

  • Are accessible to all students;
  • Are appealing and attractive to children;
  • Are served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • Meet or exceed current nutrition requirements established by local, state, and Federal statutes and regulations.(DDCS offers reimbursable school meals that meet USDA nutrition standards.)
  • Promote healthy food and beverage choices using at least ten of the following Smarter Lunchroom techniques:
    • Sliced or cut fruit is available daily
    • Daily vegetable options are bundled into all grab and go meals available to students
    • White milk is available daily
    • Menus will be posted on Dream Diné Charter School website and will include nutrient content and ingredients.
    • Menus will be created/reviewed by a Registered Dietitian or other certified nutrition professional.
    • Dream Diné Charter School child nutrition program will accommodate students with special dietary needs.
    • Students will be allowed at least 20 minutes to eat breakfast and at least 30 minutes to eat lunch, counting from the time they have received their meal and are seated. Students are served lunch at a reasonable and appropriate time of day.
    • Participation in Federal child nutrition programs will be promoted among students and families to help ensure that families know what programs are available in their children’s school.
    • Dream Diné Charter School will implement at least two of the following five Farm to School activities:
    • Messages about agriculture and nutrition are reinforced throughout the learning environment;
    • School hosts a school garden;
    • School utilizes promotions or special events, such as tastings, that highlight the local/ regional products.

All school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff will meet hiring and annual continuing education/training requirements in the USDA professional standards for child nutrition professionals.

To promote hydration, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students throughout the school day* and throughout the school campus* (“school campus” and “school day” are defined in the glossary).  DDCS will make drinking water available where school meals are served during mealtimes.  In addition, students will be allowed to bring and carry (approved) water bottles filled with only water with them throughout the day.

  • Water cups/jugs will be available in the cafeteria if a drinking fountain is not present.
  • All water sources and containers will be maintained on a regular basis to ensure good hygiene standards. Such sources and containers may include drinking fountains, water jugs, hydration stations, water jets, and other methods for delivering drinking water.

Dream Diné Charter School is committed to ensuring that all foods and beverages available to students on the school campus* during the school day* support healthy eating.  The foods and beverages served outside of the school meal programs (i.e., “competitive” foods and beverages) will meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, at a minimum.  Smart Snacks aim to improve student health and well-being, increase consumption of healthful foods during the school day, and create an environment that reinforces the development of healthy eating habits.  A summary of the standards and information are available at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/tools-schools-smart-snacks. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides a set of tools to assist with implementation of Smart Snacks available at www.healthiergeneration.org/smartsnacks.

All foods offered on the school campus will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, including through:

  1. Celebrations and parties. Dream Diné Charter School will provide a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers, including non-food celebration ideas. Healthy party ideas from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and from the USDA.
  2. Classroom snacks brought by parents.Dream Diné Charter School will provide to parents a list of foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks nutrition standards; and
  3. Rewards and incentives.Dream Diné Charter School will provide teachers and other relevant school staff a list of alternative ways to reward children. Foods and beverages will not be used as a reward, or withheld as punishment for any reason, such as for performance or behavior.

Foods and beverages that meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards may be sold through fundraisers on the school campus* during the school day*. DDCS will make available to parents and teachers a list of healthy fundraising ideas [examples from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the USDA.

 [Given the pervasiveness of food fundraisers in many schools and the wide availability of profitable, healthy fundraising options, additional policy language is encouraged:

  • Schools will use only non-food fundraisers, and encourage those promoting physical activity (such as walk-a-thons, jump rope for heart, fun runs, etc.).
  • Fundraising during and outside school hours will sell only non-food items or foods and beverages that meet or exceed the Smart Snacks nutrition standards. This may include but is not limited to, donation nights at restaurants, cookie dough, candy and pizza sales, market days, etc. (Meets HSP Gold)]

Nutrition promotion and education positively influence lifelong eating behaviors by using evidence-based techniques and nutrition messages, and by creating food environments that encourage healthy nutrition choices and encourage participation in school meal programs. Students and staff will receive consistent nutrition messages throughout schools, classrooms, gymnasiums, and cafeterias. Nutrition promotion also includes marketing and advertising nutritious foods and beverages to students and is most effective when implemented consistently through a comprehensive and multi-channel approach by school staff and teachers, parents, students, and the community.

Dream Diné Charter School will promote healthy food and beverage choices for all students throughout the school campus, as well as encourage participation in school meal programs.  This promotion will occur through at least:

  • Implementing evidence-based healthy food promotion techniques through the school meal programs using Smarter Lunchroom techniques; and
  • Promoting foods and beverages that meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. Additional possible promotion techniques that Dream Diné Charter School and individual schools may use are available at www.healthiergeneration.org/smartsnacks.

Dream Diné Charter School aims to teach, model, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • Is 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 also integrated into other classroom instruction through subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • Include enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, and participatory activities, such as cooking demonstrations or lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
  • Promote fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and healthy food preparation methods;
  • Emphasize caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (promotes physical activity/exercise);
  • Link with school meal programs, cafeteria nutrition promotion activities, school gardens, Farm to School programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
  • Teach media literacy with an emphasis on food and beverage marketing; and
  • Include nutrition education training for teachers and other staff.
  • In elementary schools, nutrition education will be offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based health education curriculum that meets state and national standards.
  • All health education teachers will provide opportunities for students to practice or rehearse the skills taught through the health education curricula.

Dream Diné Charter School will include in the health education curriculum which is in process of development the following essential topics on healthy eating:

  • The relationship between healthy eating and personal health and disease prevention
  • Food guidance from MyPlate
  • Reading and using USDA’s food labels
  • Eating a variety of foods every day
  • Balancing food intake and physical activity
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products
  • Choosing foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and do not contain trans fat
  • Choosing foods and beverages with little added sugars
  • Eating more calcium-rich foods
  • Preparing healthy meals and snacks
  • Risks of unhealthy weight control practices
  • Accepting body size differences
  • Food safety
  • Importance of water consumption
  • Importance of eating breakfast
  • Making healthy choices when eating at restaurants
  • Eating disorders
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • Reducing sodium intake
  • Social influences on healthy eating, including media, family, peers, and culture
  • How to find valid information or services related to nutrition and dietary behavior
  • How to develop a plan and track progress toward achieving a personal goal to eat healthfully
  • Resisting peer pressure related to unhealthy dietary behavior
  • Influencing, supporting, or advocating for others’ healthy dietary behavior

USDA’s Team Nutrition provides free nutrition education and promotion materials, including standards-based nutrition education curricula and lesson plans, posters, interactive games, menu graphics, and more.

Dream Diné Charter School is committed to providing a school environment that ensures opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day while minimizing commercial distractions.  DDCS strives to teach students how to make informed choices about nutrition, health, and physical activity. These efforts will be weakened if students are subjected to advertising on District property that contains messages inconsistent with the health information the school is imparting through nutrition education and health promotion efforts. It is the intent of DDCS to protect and promote student’s health by permitting advertising and marketing for only those foods and beverages that are permitted to be sold on the school campus, consistent with the school’s wellness policy.

Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on the school campus* during the school day* will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards such that only those foods that comply with or exceed those nutrition standards are permitted to be marketed or promoted to students.

Food advertising and marketing is defined as an oral, written, or graphic statements made for the purpose of promoting the sale of a food or beverage product made by the producer, manufacturer, seller, or any other entity with a commercial interest in the product. This term includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Brand names, trademarks, logos or tags, except when placed on a physically present food or beverage product or its container.
  • Displays, such as on vending machine exteriors.
  • Corporate brand, logo, name, or trademark on school equipment, such as marquees, message boards, scoreboards, or backboards (Note: immediate replacement of these items are not required; however, districts will consider replacing or updating scoreboards or other durable equipment over time so that decisions about the replacement include compliance with the marketing policy.)
  • Corporate brand, logo, name, or trademark on cups used for beverage dispensing, menu boards, coolers, trash cans, and other food service equipment; as well as on posters, book covers, pupil assignment books, or school supplies displayed, distributed, offered, or sold by Dream Diné Charter School.
  • Advertisements in school publications or school mailings.
  • Free product samples, taste tests, or coupons of a product, or free samples displaying advertising of a product.
Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.   A substantial percentage of students’ physical activity can be provided through a comprehensive, school-based physical activity program (CSPAP) that includes these components: physical education, recess, classroom-based physical activity, walk and bicycle to school, and out-of-school time activities and Dream Diné Charter School is committed to providing these opportunities.  Schools will ensure that these varied opportunities are in addition to, and not as a substitute for, physical education (addressed in “Physical Education” subsection).

Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, physical activity breaks, or physical education) will not be withheld as punishment for any reason.

To the extent practicable, Dream Diné Charter School will ensure that its grounds and facilities are safe and that equipment is available to students to be active.  Dream Diné Charter School will conduct necessary inspections and repairs.

  • Through a formal joint or shared use agreements indoor and outdoor physical activity facilities will be open to students, their families, and the community outside of school hours. Change Lab Solutions provides guidance regarding joint or shared use agreements.
  • Dream Diné Charter School will work with schools to ensure that inventories of physical activity supplies are known and, when necessary, will work with community partners to ensure sufficient quantities of equipment are available to encourage activity for as many students as possible.

Morning Run

Dream Diné Charter School’s daily schedule includes morning runs lasting at least 30 minutes. Students will be given the option to run or walk at this time.

Recess (Elementary)

DDCS will offer at least 15 minutes of recess on all or most days during the school year This policy may be waived on early dismissal or late arrival days.  If recess is offered before lunch, schools will have appropriate hand-washing facilities and/or hand-sanitizing mechanisms located just inside/outside the cafeteria to ensure proper hygiene prior to eating and students are required to use these mechanisms before eating. Hand-washing time, as well as time to put away coats/hats/gloves, will be built in to the recess transition period/timeframe before students enter the cafeteria.

Outdoor recess will be offered when weather is feasible for outdoor play, Students will be allowed outside for recess except when outdoor temperature is above/below District-set temperature, inclusive of wind chill factors, during “code orange” or “code red” days, during storms with lightening or thunder, or at the discretion of the building administrator based on his/her best judgment of safety conditions.

In the event that the school or district must conduct indoor recess, teachers and staff will follow the indoor recess guidelines that promote physical activity for students, to the extent practicable.

Recess will complement, not substitute, physical education class.  Recess monitors or teachers will encourage students to be active, and will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever feasible.

Physical Activity Breaks (Elementary and Secondary)

Dream Diné Charter School recognizes that students are more attentive and ready to learn if provided with periodic breaks when they can be physically active or stretch.  Thus, students will be offered periodic opportunities to be active or to stretch throughout the day on all or most days during a typical school week.  Dream Diné Charter School recommends teachers provide short (3-5 minute) physical activity breaks to students during and between classroom time. These physical activity breaks will complement, not substitute, for physical education class, recess, and class transition periods.

Active Academics

Teachers will incorporate movement and kinesthetic learning approaches into “core” subject instruction when possible (e.g., science, math, language arts, social studies, and others) and do their part to limit sedentary behavior during the school day.

DDCS will support classroom teachers incorporating physical activity and employing kinesthetic learning approaches into core subjects by providing annual professional development opportunities and resources, including information on leading activities, activity options, as well as making available background material on the connections between learning and movement.

Teachers will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever feasible.

Before and After School Activities

Dream Diné Charter School offers opportunities for students to participate in physical activity either before and/or after the school day (or both) through a variety of methods.  Dream Diné Charter School will encourage students to be physically active before and after school by other activities that promote student wellness.

Dream Diné Charter School will integrate wellness activities across the entire school setting, not just in the cafeteria. DDCS will coordinate and integrate other initiatives related to physical activity, physical education, nutrition, and traditional Diné teachings so all efforts are complementary, not duplicative, and work towards the same set of goals and objectives promoting whole student well-being, optimal development, and strong educational outcomes.

Dream Diné Charter School will coordinate content across curricular areas that promote student health. This will be accomplished through a collaborative curriculum development project with Yeego Gardening, NMSU and U of WA.

Efforts to obtain federal, state, or association recognition for efforts, or grants/funding opportunities for healthy school environments will be coordinated with and complementary to the wellness policy.

All school-sponsored events will adhere to the wellness policy.  All school-sponsored wellness events will include physical activity opportunities.

Dream Diné Charter School will develop relationships with community partners (i.e. hospitals, universities/colleges, local businesses, etc.) in support of this wellness policy’s implementation.  Existing and new community partnerships and sponsorships will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with the wellness policy and its goals.

Dream Diné Charter School will promote to parents/caregivers, families, and the general community the benefits of and approaches for healthy eating and physical activity throughout the school year.  Families will be informed and invited to participate in school-sponsored activities and will receive information about health promotion efforts.

As described in the “Community Involvement, Outreach, and Communications” subsection, Dream Diné Charter School will use electronic mechanisms (such as email or displaying notices on Dream Diné Charter School’s website), as well as non-electronic mechanisms, (such as newsletters, presentations to parents, or sending information home to parents), to ensure that all families are actively notified of opportunities to participate in school-sponsored activities and receive information about health promotion efforts.

he DDWC will also address, as much as possible on staff wellness issues, identify and disseminate wellness resources, and performs other functions that support staff wellness.

Dream Diné Charter School will implement strategies to support staff in actively promoting and modeling healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Examples of strategies schools will use, as well as specific actions staff members can take, include eating healthy in front of students, running with students during morning run, remaining active alongside children throughout the day. Dream Diné Charter School promotes staff member participation in health promotion programs and will support programs for staff members on healthy eating/weight management that are accessible and free or low-cost.

When feasible, Dream Diné Charter School will offer annual professional learning opportunities and resources for staff to increase knowledge and skills about promoting healthy behaviors in the classroom and school (e.g., increasing the use of kinesthetic teaching approaches or incorporating nutrition lessons into math class).  Professional learning will help District staff understand the connections between academics and health and the ways in which health and wellness are integrated into ongoing district reform or academic improvement plans/efforts.

In accordance with the Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) found online at https://www.ascr.usda.gov/ad-3027-usda-program-discrimination-complaint-form and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.