Lexington Public Schools (LPS) promotes students' physical, emotional, and social well being through a K-12 coordinated school health program. At its very core, coordinated school health is about keeping students healthy overtime, reinforcing positive health behaviors throughout the school day, and making clear that good health and learning go hand in hand. A healthy environment is ensured through periodic assessments conducted by the Superintendent, Principals, and Facilities Department. A school nurse is available at all times children are in school. Mental health services are coordinated by nursing, guidance, and social workers.
LPS maintains at minimum the physical education programs of two times a week for a total of 60 minutes at the elementary level; two times a week for a total of 100 minutes at the middle and high school levels; with a total of six physical education credits to be completed over four years at the high school level as part of the LPS graduation requirement. Integration of physical activity into the school day in coordination with curriculum will be an ongoing goal, and middle schools will be encouraged to investigate strategies for integrating more physical activity into the school day for students. Students are also required to complete two credits in Health Education as part of their graduation requirement.
- The Lexington High School fitness center is open to all students from 2:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday to Friday during the school year and is supervised by the LPS physical education staff.
- Physical activity opportunities at all levels beyond physical education classes are offered for a fee and on a space available basis as follows:
- The provision of a before school sports program at each elementary school. This is offered on three separate blocks of activity during the school year two mornings a week from 7:30 to 8:30 at each elementary school. Due to space limitations, the program is only available to 4th and 5th graders.
- The Clarke and Diamond middle school fitness centers offer a two month, two day per week intramural fitness program (January/February) to all students up to four days per week.
- Physical activity is also promoted through a variety of after school athletics programs at the secondary level under the direction of the LPS Athletic Department. The PE staff also offers intramural programs at various times.
At the elementary level the following requirements will be implemented:
- All elementary schools will adhere to standardized decision making for outdoor recess based on weather conditions; when the temperature declines to 18 degrees F factoring in wind chill, outdoor recess will be cancelled.
- Playground safety at each location will factor in the Principal's decision regarding indoor or outdoor recess.
- It is the parent/guardian's responsibility to ensure their children come to school dressed appropriately for the weather, so that all may participate in the benefits of outdoor play activity and socialization. Parents will be called to bring in appropriate attire or supply replacement clothing when necessary. The school is not responsible for providing clothing to children.
- Families will be notified that their children should wear appropriate footwear that will allow safe participation in recess activities and physical education. Sneakers are required for physical education classes.
- If a child is well enough to come to school, they are well enough to participate in outdoor recess. Accommodations regarding a child's physical safety on the playground due to a chronic or short term disability will be addressed in a 504 Plan, and such accommodations will be made.
- Two recess breaks a day will be provided. Withholding recess or physical education class will not be used as a form of punishment or discipline.
- Physical activity opportunities during indoor recess will be promoted.
The health education curriculum includes a strong nutrition education component for all levels that reflects the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Curriculum Frameworks guidelines, DPH requirements and other state, local, and federal requirements. Nutrition education is incorporated into the students' school day experience through a variety of educational opportunities in the classroom and school community.
Guidelines for Foods and Beverages Served, Offered, or Sold;
The goal of the Massachusetts regulations is to ensure that food and beverages offered to students serve to enhance their learning, contribute to their healthy growth and development, and cultivate life-long healthy eating behaviors. The regulations apply to "foods and beverages sold or provided to students 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day ends."* The standards apply to the following venues:
• In the Lexington Public Schools, affiliated organizations are encouraged to follow these standards when foods/beverages are offered 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day ends. They are encouraged to also follow these standards when offering foods/beverages outside of the 30-minute time period. In addition, any other after school events held on school grounds are encouraged to follow these standards when within the 30-minute time period and are encouraged to follow them when outside of the time period. All foods and beverages sold in vending machines must comply with the minimum standards and will remain accessible at all times and not turned off.
• Be appealing and attractive to children.
• Be served in a clean and pleasant setting.
• Meet minimum nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations and will achieve the highest possible standards that are attainable within fiscal and physical plant restraints.
• Be scheduled after recess when possible.
• Be wholesome and minimally processed, providing students and families with the best possible food options available.
• Engage students and parents in taste-tests of new food and beverage items and conduct surveys to identify new, healthful and appealing food choices. This information will be utilized in selecting and highlighting foods to be sold through the school meal program.
• Share information about the nutritional and ingredient content of meals via menu publications and/or website.
• Provide students with adequate time for eating their meal: At least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch. When students have adequate time for the lunch period, studies show they consume significantly more nutrients than when their lunch period is shorter. Plate waste decreases as well.
• Be presented in an environment where parent volunteers, students, teachers, and custodial staff work together to recycle and reduce food waste.
• Strive to schedule lunch periods between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the elementary and middle school levels to prevent long periods during the school day that do not allow for adequate food and fluid intake.