Wellness Policy

The Wellness Policy is a district policy adopted by the school board based on recommendations of the Central Wellness Council and in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations. The policy is a set of guidelines that are put in place to provide a school environment that promotes student wellness, proper nutrition, nutrition education and promotion, and regular physical activity as part of the learning experience.

Effective July 1, 2014, foods and beverages sold to students outside of the school meal programs, on the school campus, and at any time during the school day are subject to Federal guidelines. The food standards apply to foods sold in vending machines, ‘a la carte lines, school stores, and school-based fundraisers.

The Smart Snacks in School regulations are competitive food and nutrition standards required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This legislation required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish nutrition standards for all competitive foods and beverages sold during the school day. These standards represent minimum standards schools are required to meet.

In response to growing concerns over childhood obesity, national attention has focused on the need to establish school nutrition standards and limit access to competitive foods. As a result, over the past few years, school nutrition policy initiatives have been put into place at Federal, state and local levels. The School District of Philadelphia has been ahead of the curve in working with community partners to establish snack and beverage standards that limit foods sold to students. In 2004, the District implemented one of the most comprehensive beverage policies in the country, limiting beverages to milk, 100% fruit juice and water. The following year, snack standards were established that limited the sale of snack foods in schools including vending machines, school stores and on-site school fundraisers.

Fundraising in Schools

School fundraisers are included in the standards. A fundraiser is considered any event that includes an activity in which currency/tokens/tickets, etc. are exchanged for the sale/purchase of a product in support of the school or school-related activities. Examples include: baked goods/pretzel/candy bar sales where profits are used to support a school-sponsored club or activity, such as the school band or sports team.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has determined that a maximum of 5 (five) exempt fundraisers will be permitted in each elementary and middle school building per year, and a maximum of 10 (ten) exempt fundraisers will be permitted in each high school building per year. Each fundraiser may not exceed one school week. Schools must keep records of all food fundraisers for four years and present them to the PA Department of Education when audited.

Exemptions only apply to fundraisers that do not meet the requirements for foods sold in schools in the Smart Snack Standards. Non-food fundraisers and food fundraisers that meet the requirements of the Smart Snack Standards do not require an exemption. Exempt fundraisers may not be sold in the food service areas during the meal period. Additionally, the Smart Snack Standards only apply to foods sold to students during the school day. Therefore, the Smart Snack Standards are not applicable to fundraisers that take place after the school day (i.e., fundraisers where a brochure is sent home, such as frozen pizzas, subs/sandwiches).

Impact on Schools

All parts of the school selling food to students during the school day have a role in meeting the new standards. Foods and beverages sold in schools as fundraisers must meet the nutrition standards. Fundraiser foods or beverages may not be sold in competition with school meals in the food-serving areas during the meal service. The snack standards do NOT apply to foods brought into the school by parents or other groups that are provided to students and not sold (i.e. birthday parties, special events).


Principals will be required to communicate and enforce the competitive snack standards in their buildings. This includes all staff, teachers and school supporters who sell competitive foods in school during the school day. Schools must keep a record of all exempt fundraisers to assure they are not exceeding the annual limits. Fundraising records must be kept on file for four years and made available upon request. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is responsible for monitoring compliance to the Federal competitive food standards. PDE will be conducting an Administrative Review of the District, which will include monitoring of competitive food sales in schools.

Here are temples you can use to track your food sales

Food Fundraiser Documentation (HS) 9-12

Food Fundraiser Documentation (ES) K-8_

Snack Resources

How do I know what SNACKS are approved and what I can sell in schools?

Take the guess work out. Answer a series of questions to see if your product meets the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School Nutrition Standards. Then save and print for your records. Keep in mind that the District beverage policy is stricter than the snack standards. The calculators and product finder can only be used for snack items and not for beverages.

Results from this calculator have been determined by USDA to be accurate in assessing product compliance with the Federal requirements for Smart Snacks in Schools Standards, provided the information is not misrepresented when entered into the calculator.

Use this link to connect to the Smart Snack Calculator for Snack Foods Only (Exclude Beverage Information).

Use this link to connect to the Product Navigator for Snack Foods Only (Exclude Beverage Information).

Beverage Resources

How do I know what BEVERAGES are approved and what I can sell in schools?

The District observes a stricter beverage policy than the products allowed in the Smart Snack Standards of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Online tools cannot be used to evaluate beverage products for acceptability for sale in schools.

Product selection for schools must be made from the guidelines listed below for beverages:

1. Drinking water with no additives except those minerals normally added to tap water.

2. Unflavored low-fat milk, and unflavored nonfat milk (including nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives as permitted in the school meal programs). Milk may be sold in up to 8-ounce servings in elementary schools and up to 12-ounce servings in middle and high schools.

3. 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice (100% juice diluted with water, without carbonation with no added sweeteners or additives). The maximum serving size is 8 ounces in elementary schools and 12 ounces in middle and high schools.

4. Only caffeine-free beverages are allowed for elementary, middle and high school students. Foods and beverages that contain trace amounts of naturally-occurring caffeine substances, such as chocolate milk, are exempt.

5. No drinks with artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Allowable sweeteners in beverages include but are not limited to the following: sugar (raw, refined, unrefined, cane, brown, turbinado, white), invert sugar, dextrin, sucrose, honey, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, molasses, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, galactose, lactose, fructose and Splenda. These sugars are not chemically derived.

Additional beverages for high school students (grades 9-12):

1. Calorie-free beverages: maximum serving size is 16 fluid ounces. Calorie-free flavored water without carbonation. No carbonated beverages are allowed in high schools.

2. Electrolyte replacement drinks that do not contain more than 20 grams of added sweetener per 8-ounce serving. Sodium should not exceed 110 milligrams per 8-ounce serving. Potassium should not exceed 60 milligrams per 8-ounce serving. Electrolytes and minerals added might include: sodium, potassium, chlorine and phosphorous. No artificial flavorings or sweeteners. These drinks will be placed in gymnasiums, field houses, and other areas where high intensity athletic activities take place. These drinks may not be placed in cafeterias or food service areas.