The Fit Together Youth & Families Committee is developing strategies and action steps that rely on both school-based initiatives as well as outreach to the students’ families. To read more about this committee’s specific initiatives, see below:
1. To increase opportunities for healthy eating.
2. To increase opportunities for physical activity as a part of everyday life.
3. To increase healthy eating/nutrition education.
Torrington Public Schools Wellness Policy
Link to the Torrington Public Schools Wellness Policy. Revised and Approved November 19, 2014.
Brief History of the Policy’s Formation:
In 2012, Fit Together was invited to join an ad hoc committee under the direction of the BOE Policy Committee to develop a new Torrington Public Schools Wellness Policy. Three members of Fit Together, Carla Angevine, Bill Burgess, and Dr. Michael Curi, sat on this committee. Once the work of the ad hoc committee was completed the in the spring of 2013, the BOE Policy Committee reviewed the revised policy.
During this review, the Board of Education voted 6-3 to put the Healthy Food Certification (HFC) in place for Torrington Public Schools. Section 10-215f of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that each board of education or governing authority for all public schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (including the Connecticut Technical High School System, charter schools, inter-district magnet schools and endowed academies) must certify annually to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) whether the district will follow the Connecticut Nutrition Standards for all foods sold to students separately from reimbursable school meals. The Connecticut Nutrition Standards apply to all sources of food sales on school premises at all times including, but not limited to: school stores, vending machines, school cafeterias and any fundraising activities on school premises. Districts that opt to implement the HFC receive an additional 10 cents per lunch, based on the total number of reimbursable lunches (paid, free and reduced) served in the district in the prior school year.
Acceptance of the HFC is an achievement bringing our community closer towards a healthier lifestyle. This is truly an example of how community efforts can make a positive difference in public policy. TPS recognizes the importance of establishing a healthy learning environment that provides all students with the ability to participate fully in the educational process and to develop lifelong healthy habits. Program priorities and activity plans shall acknowledge the strong link between academic performance and a healthy school environment, including healthy eating, school-based physical activity and health education.
Child Care Centers Wellness Policy
After the Early Childhood Program assessment was completed, it was determined that a wellness policy needed to be written. It is recognized that healthy eating standards for child care centers should be coordinated with the school wellness policy. This coordinated approach will lead to the healthy development of children within the school district. A survey was sent out earlier in March to local child care providers. The information collected showed that there is an interest in engaging families in wellness and health options, promoting staff wellness, and nutritional education for children.
Starting in 2014, Fit Together introduced the ‘5-2-1-0′ campaign to Torrington and Winsted childcare centers, home daycares, pediatricians’ offices, and WIC. 5-2-1-0 is a public education campaign to bring awareness to the daily guidelines for nutrition and physical activity. 5-2-1-0 represents a simple numeric message for everyone to strive for daily: 5 fruits and vegetables , 2 hours of less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks. Check out the 5-2-1-0 and Community Resources tabs on our website for more information.
Nourishing School Gardens
Students at East School and Forbes Schools in Torrington are growing their own gardens. They participate in all aspects of planting, growing, harvesting, and preparing nutritious seasonal produce. During the summer months, parents and students continue maintaining the gardens and sharing the benefits of having fresh produce that they’ve grown themselves. Garden coordinators work with the schools to help the students learn about the connection between everyday food choices and the health of the community, the environment, and themselves. These lessons foster sound nutritional practice, responsible food choices, and environmental stewardship. The more the kids are involved, the more likely they are to eat healthily.
A school garden program offers students place-based experiences that impact their understanding of food, health, nature, and community. Successful garden programs can improve test scores, fight childhood obesity, promote physical activity, expose kids to healthy foods, change eating habits, and provide positive connections to nature.
Schools can develop garden programs using installed built gardens, indoor or outdoor containers, or through relationships with nearby community gardens or farms. However, in order to be successful, a school garden program must have sustained support from the school community, become an integral part of the curriculum, and be a source of relevant learning experiences for all students. The Nourishing School Gardens Program continues to be a part of Torrington’s public schools as a result of grants from Fit Together and Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities.
KiDSMARATHON is an 8–10 week training program that enables kids to complete a full marathon by running incremental distances each week. Through the project, elementary students develop life-long fitness skills, positive nutritional habits, social-emotional learning, a feeling of accomplishment, and self-confidence for themselves. CT KiDSMARATHON, a Northwest CT regional program of Litchfield Hills Food Systems, is modeled and supported by Rod Dixon’s KiDSMARATHON FoundationTM, sponsored and managed statewide by the Connecticut Association of Schools, and has been very active locally since 2010.
KiDSMARATHON cumulates in a celebratory-style final mile finish in front of hundreds of fans. Learn more about the successful KiDSMARATHON uses the Lap Tracker System, an easy way to track students’ progress.