A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

January 2021 
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What's Up with Wellness 
New Year, New Logo, New Look! 

SWITCH (School Wellness Initiative for Thriving Community Health) is a movement. The SWITCH Movement is dedicated to supporting and advancing wellness efforts for Massachusetts students, schools and communities. 

How did the movement begin?

In 2018, a group of dedicated SWITCH Partners met to discuss future wellness events and activities. As discussions progressed, it was found that the group needed to take a step back, as key information was missing on what schools really want and need as it pertains to wellness. 

The important feedback from the SWITCH Partners helped to drive the next steps in school wellness. In 2019 The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition, and the Food and Nutrition Department at Framingham State University conducted a state wide needs assessment to better understand the challenges and best practices to implementing wellness policies in schools. The takeaway? School Wellness is Everyone's Job! 

Families, teachers, administrators, school health/nutrition professionals and community members are all important pieces to the wellness puzzle. When everyone invests in school wellness, both classrooms and communities thrive! 

To learn more about how to support or advance wellness in your school district, please contact Nicole Good, School Wellness Specialist.  
Supporting Wellness in Schools: How Massachusetts is Creating Healthy School Environments 
Massachusetts has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more than 20 years to collect data on nutrition and health education policies and practices. The data is collected through the School Health Profiles (Profiles) surveys. Profiles is a system of surveys sent to middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers. The surveys are administered biennially on even-numbered years.

The data collected from Profiles helps to plan and allocate program resources adequately. Additionally, Profiles is also critical for designing and administering programs to meet the needs of students and to provide a basis for future requests for funding. Check out the CDC website for additional resources. 

Thank you! To the 600 middle and high school principals and 600 health educators who participated in the 2020 School Health Profiles. this work would not be possible without your generous participation. Thank you for providing healthy food and healthy learning environments for Massachusetts students, which ultimately helps them to make healthy choices. 

Please contact the Office of Student and Family Support for questions or to learn more information. 
The data above shows what schools are doing to create healthy learning environments for our students. These policies and practices empower youth to make better choices. 
*Data does not include schools that are classified as Junior/Senior High Schools 
For more information: Healthy Students, Healthy Schools: Guidance for Implementing the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages
SMART Personal Wellness Workshops
Get re-energized in 2021! The John Stalker Institute (JSI) is thrilled to offer two live virtual personal wellness sessions, during the School Nutrition Association (SNA) of MA Chapter Meetings in February, designed to encourage healthy habits for YOUR body and mind. Discover the SMART method and take time to focus on your health goals to improve your wellbeing and your role as an advocate for a healthier school environment. You work hard every day to feed students and families, now it’s time to focus on YOU!

Your health and wellness are a priority, and we look forward to your participation in these live, interactive virtual sessions! There is no cost to attend! Register NOW on the SNA of MA website and pick the date that is convenient for you:
  • Thursday, February 18 at 9:00 am (note this is school vacation week which may make it easier for you to attend)
  • Thursday, March 4th at 2:30 pm 
These sessions will be presented by Lynnea Spencer, MEd, RDN, LDN, SNS from The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition. For additional resources on personal wellness, check out the JSI Blog
Helping Children Learn at Home 
There are many ways you can help children learn at home. Whether your child is attending in-person classes, online classes at home, or a combination of both, adjusting to a new learning routine can be challenging and stressful for everyone involved. To learn more ways to keep children engaged in learning, check out helpful resources from CDC Healthy Schools.

This institution is an equal opportunity employer.

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