Healthy Schools | March Is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month!

Healthy Schools logoThe SEEC’s Healthy Schools Program follows the Coordinated School Health model, a systematic approach that links families, communities and schools with a health focused lifestyle.

Eight interactive components work together to promote lifelong positive health of youth, to limit social risk behaviors, and to increase and maintain academic success and healthy habits. These eight critical components are; health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling, psychological, and social services, healthy school environment, health promotion for staff, and family and community involvement. 


Amy Walters, SEEC Director of Student Services
Amy Walters, SEEC Director of Student Services

NEW Physical Education Content and Achievement Standards

In June 2014, a committee of physical educational professionals, formed by the N.D. Department of Public Instruction, reviewed and updated the state’s current Physical Education Content and Achievement Standards, which were last updated in 2008. The standards provide physical education teachers and school districts a guide for quality physical education programs. Physical education and wellness are evolving to provide a more comprehensive lifestyle management approach. Thus encourage physical activity and fitness, sound nutritional practices, and assessment through the use of the latest technology.  To be a responsible and productive member of today’s society, a student needs to have a broad, connected, and useful knowledge of physical education and wellness. A consistent and regularly offered high-quality physical education program is essential for all students, providing a foundation for intelligent and precise thinking.  Physical education should also provide every student with the opportunity to choose among a range of future career paths and to contribute to society as an informed and active citizen.

To continue to improve the standards, North Dakotans are invited to view and comment on the second draft of proposed standards until April 20. 2015.

School Wellness Policy Audits

The SEEC, through funding from the N.D. Department of Public Instruction Child Nutrition Program’s TEAM Nutrition grant, is working with school districts to create a school nutrition environment that provides opportunities and reinforcement for healthy eating and physical activity, including nutrition environment policies and support by school staff, families and the community. A vital step in this process is the evaluation of current district policy and practice.  All SEEC schools submitted their Wellness Policy for assessment and review. In addition to the submitting the policy, key school personnel completed a survey that reflected the current practices in the school building regarding healthy eating and physical activity. This information will be compiled and shared back to the districts and building administrators to guide them in updating their policy. Amy Walters, SEEC director of student services, also provides on-site technical assistance and support to school districts looking for guidance in this process.  Currently she is actively working with three districts; Wahpeton, Jamestown and Milnor.  Any districts interested in receiving support in this area should contact Walters at 

Healthy, Hunger-Free Act Amends the National School Lunch Act

Section 209 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act (HHFKA) amended the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish requirements for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to report information on the school nutrition environment to the public on a periodic basis, including information pertaining to food safety inspections, meal program participation, the nutritional quality of school meals, and other information.

The local school wellness policy annual progress report must include, at a minimum:

  • The website address for the local school wellness policy and/or how the public can receive/access a copy of the local school wellness policy;
  • A description of each school’s progress in meeting the local school wellness goals;
  • A summary of each school’s events or activities related to local school wellness policy implementation;
  • The name, position title, and contact information of the designated local agency official(s) or school official(s) leading/coordinating the school wellness policy team/health advisory council; and
  • Information on how individuals and the public can get involved with the school wellness policy team.

Section 9A(b)(5) of the NSLA, also requires LEAs to periodically measure and make available to the public an assessment on the implementation of the local school wellness policy, including:

  • An indication of the extent to which schools are in compliance with the local school wellness policy;
  • An indication of the extent to which the local school wellness policy compares to model local school wellness policies; and
  • A description of the progress made in attaining the goals of the local wellness policy.

LEAs are encouraged to review and update their current Local Wellness Policies to ensure their policy includes the required information.

Mental Health Legislation

An amendment to Senate Bill 2048 is currently in the House Human Services committee hoping to create an assessment network for both youth and adults. It would allocate resources to create pilot projects around the state and bring professionals to the school level instead of districts trying to provide training to school staff.   Read the bill amendment here…

Culinary Trainings I and II

This two-part training led discussion on how school meals support the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and follow federal guidance in preparing and serving nutritious, high-quality meals that appeal to children.  View photos on our Facebook page here.

Session I was held last fall and focused on fruits and vegetables. Participants learned to identify quality standards for fruits and veggies prepared in the child nutrition programs and left with an understanding of nutrition principles relating to preparation along with the culinary prep skills required to prepare and serve nutritious, high-quality meals that appeal to children.

Session II honed in on whole grains and meats and brought in both a registered dietitian and a N.D. chef to learn cooking and nutrition principles and see if in action through live culinary demonstrations. The time spent on networking with other area school nutrition employees, hands-on recipe testing AND taste testing was most likely the best time of the evening!

These trainings were held on behalf of the South East Education Cooperative and the Missouri River Education Cooperative. A total number of 135 individuals from 33 districts attend at least one of the sessions. Each session was held in five different locations to accommodate as many people as possible:

Session I – Washburn (10), Fargo (16), Valley City (19), Wishek (8), Bismarck (11)

Session II – Valley City (12), Underwood (9), Bismarck (16), Fargo (22), Edgeley (12)

Culinary Training for FACs Teachers – Coming April 7

Session facilitators are currently modifying the content for Family and Consumer Science Teachers to utilize the instruction and apply the skills in their food and nutrition courses.  The session will be held April 7 at Dakota Medical Foundation in Fargo.  Please register here…

Culinary Skills Training FACs Teachers

Visit our website to stay up-to-date on the SEEC’s Healthy Schools Program and its upcoming trainings. If you have any questions or concerns about Healthy School related items, please contact SEEC Director of Student Services Amy Walters at (701) 952-3220 or

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