As students return to school Aug. 1, along with school supplies and ready minds, they will need warm meals to make for a great academic year.
The Giles County Board of Education will continue providing breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students for the 2016-17 school year.
"Nutritious meals help all students be healthy and ready to learn every day," Giles County School Nutritionist Ann Chaffin said. "It is less about putting food on the tray and more about putting healthy kids in front of educators ready to learn."
According to Chaffin, studies show that participation in school breakfast and lunch improves students' test performance, improves behavior and increases attention or a student's ability to learn.
"Studies have confirmed what parents and teachers have known for years — children who are not well fed have a hard time learning," Chaffin said. "Healthy school meals provide energy for children's minds and bodies."
Although Monday is only a half day (8-11 a.m.), students will be provided the opportunity to eat a healthy school breakfast and lunch.
"We want all students to start the school year with every advantage possible," Chaffin said. "The Giles County Board of Education believes that food served at school should contribute to the development of sound food habits and to the nutritional needs of children."
As part of the Board of Education's desire, Chaffin said the goal of the School Nutrition Program is to provide nutritious meals in a pleasant atmosphere to students and staff members at all schools. Each meal is planned to meet the nutritional requirements of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, as prescribed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
According to Chaffin, a group of stakeholders including representatives from the school board, school administrators, parents, students, community leaders, extension service, the school food authority, physical education teachers and school health professionals, this year revised the Giles County Board of Education's 2008 Wellness Policy. The revised policy focuses on the key areas of nutrition education goals, physical activity goals, nutrition standards and other school-based activities. Some of these include student menu idea surveys, smart snack education, partnerships with UT Extension services, nutrition information fliers, bulletin boards, menu tips and educating school personnel on what constitutes physical activity.
"The School Nutrition environment can help prevent health problems and help students live a healthier more productive life," Chaffin said. "The district promotes healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment."
The wellness policy is reviewed annually for updates and any new requirements that may strengthen the elements of the policy. Chaffin said citizens may participate in the wellness policy process and annual progress report during spring 2017. If you are interested in participating, call Denise Sanders, Coordinated School Health, or Chaffin, School Nutrition, at 363-4558.
The Giles County Board of Education Local Wellness Policy is accessible to the public and may be viewed online by visiting the School Board's website.