Student Wellness

Virginia Beach City Public Schools, in partnership with families, community organizations, and other local agencies, play an important role in promoting student wellness. The School Board supports a school environment that encourages and fosters nutritious eating habits and physical activity, both linked to academic success and lifelong good health. The Virginia Beach City Public Schools Student Wellness Policy (5-58and 5-58.1) includes all the identified regulations outlined in the Final Rule of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 as well as important division level expectations for our schools.

Our Student Health Advisory Board (SHAB) has been a strong group of engaged appointed citizens, experts in various areas of health and wellbeing, and important internal leaders and stakeholders for many years. Because of the group’s focus and authority as a guiding/advisory body for the School Board, the overall process of policy updating, and revisions is maintained by this body. To ensure we have diverse representation and are engaging the community in the process, parents and staff members, are invited via email to participate in the updating process at our regular SHAB meeting during each school year. SHAB meetings are always open meetings and are publicly shared with the community via annual School Board presentation. During the SHAB meeting on December 6, 2017, SHAB members participated in the review and updating of the division wellness policy. Participants were asked to review the current policy and overview of new regulations (Final Rule Summary) beforehand and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats they saw as it related to the content of the policy. The accumulated information was reviewed at the February 14, 2018 SHAB meeting, prioritized, and then updates were made according to group recommendations and consensus as well as mandatory changes prompted by the Final Rule. The updated policy was approved by the board in May 2018. As mentioned above, the most updated and current policy (amended and approved in February 23, 2021) can be found on the VBCPS website and is linked here: Student and Staff Wellness 5-58 and 5-58.1.

As part of the requirements outlined in the Final Rule, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) conducted the first wellness policy progress assessment for all our 82 school sites (54 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, and 12 high schools) in April 2019. This initial assessment served as our baseline and will be used to look at future goals and opportunities for our schools individually and collectively as a school division. The triennial report summarizes the assessment findings and outlines updates on the progress and implementation of our wellness policy and wellness initiatives in VBCPS. In addition, it provides the required documentation of actions, steps, and information as outlined in the Final Rule.

VBCPS drafted their own assessment modeled after the Healthy Schools Assessment provided by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation and works to reduce childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits.

While the assessment does not include all aspects of a student’s well-being, it does align well with the focus of the USDA’s Final Rule and regulations related to the wellness policy. The five modules included in the assessment are:

  1. Nutrition Standards
  2. Nutrition promotion and Education
  3. Physical Activity
  4. Other Programs to promote Wellness
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation

School Principals, Central Office Staff and other key staff led the completion of the VBCPS Wellness Assessment Survey. All 83 schools completed the assessment during the 2018 - 2019 school year. The survey attempted to focus the questions to the person or department that was most likely to have the knowledge needed to answer the specific questions. Survey data was generated by the VBCPS Office of Research and Evaluation. This data was utilized to identify strengths and weakness in the division wellness policy as well as focal points for developing strategic goals. The data is presented in the Triennial Assessment Report.

Virginia Beach Public Schools recognizes the importance of health and wellbeing on students’ academic and future success. VBCPS is committed to creating structures and initiatives to ensure we are supporting the whole child. VBCPS has utilized data from triennial report to develop individual department wellness goals that would be in alignment with the VBCPS Compass to 2025 Strategic Plan and supported by our updated division wellness policy. The Departments of School Food Services, Health Services, School Leadership, Health and Physical Education, and Consolidated benefits contributed to the development of specific departmental goals designed to reach Compass to 2025 objectives. Compass to 2025 continues the work of the Compass to 2020 strategic plan to support students’ health and wellbeing through Goal #2 – Student Well-Being. This goal strives to create an inclusive learning environment that supports the physical and mental health of all students and strengthens the social-emotional skills they need to become balanced, resilient learners who are personally and socially responsible. Specifically, strategy 7 specifies that the school division will address physical health through nutrition and fitness programs. These goals can be found in the Triennial Assessment Report.