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Healthy and Safe Schools

The Vermont Agency of Education believes that teaching and learning begins with all children and adults feeling safe, healthy and supported while at school. A successful school learning environment does not happen by chance, but is the result of a collective effort by the members of a school’s community. 

Vermont Local Wellness Policy Guide 

Each Local Educational Agency (LEA) (as defined in 7 CFR 210.2 and 7 CFR 220.2 to include schools participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program) is required to develop and implement a local wellness policy (LWP) in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. An LWP is a written document that guides the LEA to create supportive, healthy school environments that align comprehensive health and wellness education, school nutrition and physical activity standards and expectations to support the whole learner. The responsibility for developing, implementing, and evaluating a wellness policy is placed at the local level, so the unique needs of each school under the LEA’s jurisdiction can be addressed.  

In 2021, the Vermont State Legislature passed Act 66, which required the inclusion of Comprehensive Health Education into the existing model Local Wellness Policy and to further “assist the Agency to plan, coordinate, and encourage wellness and comprehensive health programs in the public schools.” The Agency of Education (AOE), in collaboration with the Vermont School Board’s Association (VSBA) and the Advisory Council on Wellness and Comprehensive Health (Advisory Council), developed an updated Vermont Local Wellness Policy (LWP) Guide to support supervisory unions and districts (SU/SDs) in updating their existing LWPs in accordance with Act 66 of 2021. This updated Guide replaces Vermont’s School Wellness Policy Guidelines and Implementation resource of 2019 in sum. 

  • Vermont Local Wellness Policy Guide: This updated version of the Guide reflects technical corrections made to address copy editing issues (e.g., misspelling of names), formatting issues (e.g., table cut off in formatting and branding excluded content), and issues surfaced through feedback after its initial release in August (e.g., clarifying language to support understanding). Areas where content was clarified or added back in can be found on pages 6, 22, and 23 in the “Comprehensive Health Education” section related to 16 V.S.A. § 134 and in the “Other School-Based Activities to Promote Wellness” and the requirements for this goal area in the “Basic Requirements for the Local Wellness Policy (LWP)” section. Please continue to provide feedback on this document through the Local Wellness Policy Guide Feedback form.
  • Model Local Wellness Policy (Updated March 2024) This document includes only the model policy language found in the Vermont LWP Guide. The legal policy citations and any redundancies which existed in the larger guide have been removed. The document features a streamlined Vermont Agency of Education Model Local Wellness Policy that follows a common policy structure. Of note, the model policy combines Nutrition Education and Promotion into one goal category and Physical Education and Physical Activity into another category. This differs from the Guide, which has seven goal areas while the model has five. This organization in the document mirrors the model policy from our partners at Vermont School Board's Association. LEAs may choose to adapt or adopt the model policy. Directions on policy development and use were incorporated into this document in March 2024 to support clarity.

Supports and Resources for Local Wellness Policy Development and Implementation 

The Agency of Education has developed (and continues to develop) additional guidance documents to support Local Wellness Policy Development and Implementation (see also Memo: New Local Wellness Policy Requirements for the 2023-2024 School Year). The following tools have been released to support processes of Local Wellness Policy work at large.

Hyperlinked within the Vermont Local Wellness Policy Guide are links to Strategies and Resources Documents with recommended evidence-based or research-based strategies and resources to support development and/or implementation of the different sections of a local wellness policy. These resources are also linked here, for ease of access: 

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model focuses on youth by addressing critical education and health outcomes, organizing collaborative actions and initiatives that support students, and strongly engaging community resources. The WSCC approach is centered on supporting the needs of the whole centered on supporting the needs of the whole child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) have partnered to create the WSCC model, building upon aspects of the CDC’s familiar Coordinated School Health (CSH) model and the Whole Child Framework from the ASCD. 

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

  • Expands the 8 domains of the CSH model into 10 domains
  • Combines the CSH model with the ASCD’s Whole Child framework
  • Demonstrates integration of health and education to improve academic achievement
  • Promotes increased alignment, integration, and collaboration between health and education in order to achieve improved cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development

Comprehensive Health Webpages

Health Education focuses on the implementation of comprehensive Health Education programs defined by Vermont law (16 V.S.A. § 131), the Education Quality Standards, and State Board adopted National Health Education Standards.

Nutrition contains information about how federal Nutrition Programs are administered in Vermont in schools, childcare settings, summer program sites, and adult day centers. The Vermont Agency of Education provides program sponsors with guidance, technical assistance, training, monitoring and evaluation to ensure that every program receives the maximum federal and state funding available and operates in compliance with federal and state requirements.

Physical Activity includes the Physical Activity Guidelines for Vermont Schools - Active Students are Better Learners that helps school personnel interpret and implement physical activity requirements identified in the Education Quality Standards as well as resources to support physical activity program development.

Physical Education focuses on the implementation of Physical Education programs defined by Vermont law (16 V.S.A. § 136), the Education Quality Standards, and State Board adopted SHAPE America Physical Education Standards.

Sexual Health focuses on the implementation of Sexual Health Education programs as defined in Comprehensive Health Education (16 V.S.A. 131) as well as sexual health-related information and services that are available to promote student wellness and increase academic success.

Substance Abuse Prevention includes School-based Alcohol and Drug Prevention recommendations and resources for substance abuse prevention programs. Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Tobacco Grant information can also be found on this webpage.

Vermont Department of Health – Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child provides information and resources for school professionals. The Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education recommend using this model to achieve goals outlined in school continuous improvement plans and wellness policies and integrating it into a multi-tiered system of supports.