Last Reviewed by State Dept of Education: 11/1/2010
Contact us with corrections or additions Mississippi Last Updated: 6/2/2014
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Curriculum and Instruction
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Health Education
     Last Updated: 12/28/2013

MandateMandateCode 37-13-134 (2007) and State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) requires 45 minutes of instruction in health education for grades K-8.  The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2012) requires ½ unit requirement of health education for graduation.  JROTC or Allied Health/Health science credit may be accepted in lieu of a comprehensive health or individual/family health course. Code 37-13-21 (1972) authorizes the state board of health and the various county health departments to establish and provide for health education programs in the public schools and to employ county health educators. Code 37-13-135 (1990) requires the Commission on School Accreditation to encourage local school districts to develop plans for implementing comprehensive school health education.

 

Curriculum Content: The Mississippi Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) serves as a guideline for Comprehensive health teachers. The framework provides minimum content standards, which must be taught by the teachers, to ensure that all students will gain the information and skills necessary to make quality age appropriate health decisions.

State Assessment Requirement: None.

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Physical Education
     Last Updated: 9/9/2009
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Mandate: Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires the following for physical education: 150 minutes weekly of activity based instruction as defined by the State Board of Education instruction for K-8 and half of a Carnegie unit of physical activity or physical education for graduation (grades 9-12). State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) defines physical education, physical activity and activity based instruction further stipulates that of the required 150 minutes of activity based instruction, the total number of minutes of physical education may not be under 50 minutes per week for grades K-8.

     Last Updated: 12/28/2013

Code 37-11-8 (2010) requires the Office of Healthy Schools/Department of Education to develop and implement the HealthierUS School Initiative (USDA) to facilitate healthier choices and practices by local school districts through the promotion of healthier school environments. The Office of Healthy Schools may provide financial incentives to schools receiving recognition through the HealthierUS program. Requirements for participating schools are outlined in the statute, including providing students with physical education and the opportunity for physical activity.

Code 37-13-151 (1999) requires school districts to provide home economics education programs in grades 10, 11 or 12 that contain instruction in preparing students to assume responsibility for their care and guidance with emphasis in physical health.

Exemptions: State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) allows extracurricular activities in grades 7-8, such as basketball, baseball, marching band, show choir, cheerleading, etc., that is sanctioned by the Mississippi High School Activities Association and ROTC to be substituted for physical education if attendance is kept,  instruction is based on at least one competency from the Mississippi Physical Education Framework, and staff licensed by Mississippi Department of Education supervises practices and games.

State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) also allows for a medical exemption from physical education with a medical release form completed by a physician.

Curriculum Content: Standard 33 of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) states the basic curriculum of each elementary and middle school to include physical education. Standard 32 requires physical education be a part of the high school basic curriculum on an elective basis.

Physical Fitness Assessment: State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) requires students to participate in fitness testing using the Fitnessgram, Activitygram, President's Challenge to Fitness, or other comparable program. The assessment must be conducted in grade 5, and the grade the student will earn the 1/2 Carnegie unit of physical education for graduation.

Asthma Awareness Education
     Last Updated: 1/9/2007

The Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) covers health topics on chronic and non-communicable diseases for grades 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9-12.

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Emotional, Social, and Mental Health Education
     Last Updated: 9/9/2009

The Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) provides guidelines for health teachers to include instruction in mental health for grades K-12.

Character Education: Code 37-13-181 (1999) allows school districts to develop and implement a comprehensive character education program in grades K-12. State Board of Education Policy 1800 (1997) encourages each school district to ensure the inclusion of character education in all of the curriculum.

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HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 5/13/2011

Mandate: Code 31-13-171 (2011) requires the local school board of every public school district to adopt a policy to implement abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education into its curriculum by June 30, 2012, for instruction to begin in the 2012-13 school year. The local board may also adopt the program developed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Department of Health. The Department of Education must approve each district’s curriculum for sex-related education. Descriptions of abstinence-only and abstinence-plus education are included in the statute.

Abstinence-only education may include a discussion on condoms or contraceptives, but only if it includes a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates. It may not include any demonstration of how condoms or contraceptives are applied. Abstinence-plus education includes all of the elements of abstinence-only education, and in addition may discuss the following: contraceptives, the nature, causes and effects of sexually transmitted diseases, or the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, along with a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates. At all times when sex-related education is discussed or taught, boys and girls must be separated according to gender into different classrooms. Neither abstinence-only nor abstinence-plus education may teach that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of the baby.

Code 31-13-171 (2011) creates the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force to study and make recommendation to the Legislature on the implementation of sex-related educational courses through abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education into the curriculum of local school districts and the coordination of services by certain state agencies to reduce teen pregnancy and provide prenantal and postnatal training to expectant teen parengs. The Task Force must make an annual report of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature. The responsibilities of the Task Force are outlined in the statute. One of the requirements is to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the adoption of a sex education policy on teen pregnancy rates and dropout rates on the local school district and statewide levels. This includes a comparison of data in districts implementing abstinence-only education vs. abstinence-plus.

Curriculum Content: The Comprehensive Health Framework addresses prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases if schools choose to offer sex education for grades 9-12. Code 31-13-171 (2011) outlines the curriculum content for abstinence-only and abstinence-plus education.

Parental Approval: Code 37-13-173 (2011) requires that schools give at least one week's written notice of an intent to provide any kind of sex education, and to provide parents an opportunity to review all materials. The written notice must inform parents of their right to request inclusion of their child for instruction or presentation (an opt-in policy).

 
 
 
 
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Nutrition Education
     Last Updated: 2/18/2013

Code 41-79-5 (2000) requires school nurse intervention services to provide nutrition education. Code 37-13-151 (1999) requires school districts to provide home economics education programs in grades 10, 11 or 12 that contain instruction in preparing students to assume responsibility for their care and guidance with emphasis in nutrition. The Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) specifically addresses nutrition education for grades K-12.

The state's wellness policy requires the local school board to establish a local school health council for each school, which shall ensure that community values are reflected in the local schools wellness policy to address school health.

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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Education
     Last Updated: 5/21/2008

Alcohol: Code 41-79-5 (2000) requires school nurse intervention services to include alcohol abuse education. The Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) addresses alcohol abuse prevention in its curriculum in grades K-12.

Tobacco: Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires each school wellness plan to promote abstinence from the use of tobacco and illegal drugs through programs that incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into core subject areas."  Code 41-79-5 requires school nurse intervention services to include tobacco abuse education. In grades K-8, the Comprehensive Health Framework specifically addresses tobacco use prevention education and in grades 9-12, the curriculum targets preventive health practices and promotes positive health behavior.

Drugs: Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires each school wellness plan to promote abstinence from the use of tobacco and illegal drugs through programs that incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into core subject areas."  Code 41-79-5 requires school nurse intervention services to include drug abuse education. The Comprehensive Health Framework specifically addresses drug abuse prevention in its grades K-12 curriculum.

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Injury and Violence Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 6/5/2008

Bullying/Harassment: Code 37-11-54 (2003) calls the State Board of Education to develop a list of recommended conflict resolution and mediation materials, models, and curricula that addresses causes and effects of school violence, harassment, and nonviolent methods for resolving conflicts.

Fighting/Gangs: The Comprehensive Health Framework (2006) provides guidelines for instruction in conflict resolution in grades 2 and 9-12. Code 37-11-54 (2003) calls for the State Board of Education to develop a list of recommended conflict resolution and mediation materials, models, and curricula that addresses causes and effects of school violence, harassment, and nonviolent methods for resolving conflicts.

Suicide and Other Self-Abuse Prevention: Not specifically required.

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Staff
Requirements for All Educators Regarding Health Education
     Last Updated: 5/25/2009

Professional Development: SB2770 (2009) requires that in the 2009-2010 school year local school districts must provide in-service suicide prevention education to all licensed teachers and principals. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, local school districts must provide in-service training on suicide prevention education for all newly employed licensed teachers and principals.

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Requirements for Health Educators
     Last Updated: 12/28/2013

Pre-service Requirement: The General Guidelines for Mississippi Educator Licensure (2013) outline the minimum requirement to add a supplemental endorsement in health education to a Mississippi teaching license, which include a bachelor's degree, a standard MS license, and 21 semester hours in health education content (with several alternatives available).

Professional Development: The state does require teachers to complete continuing education credit to renew their teaching license outlined in the General Guidelines for Mississippi Educator Licensure (2013). The content of professional development is left to the teachers/districts. 
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Requirements for Physical Educators
     Last Updated: 12/28/2013

Pre-service Requirement:  The General Guidelines for Mississippi Educator Licensure (2013) outline the minimum requirement to add a supplemental endorsement in physical education to a Mississippi teaching license, which include a bachelor's degree, a standard MS license, and 21 semester hours in physical education content (with several alternatives available). The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) and State Board Policy 4012 (2008) allows a licensed physical education teacher, regular classroom teacher, or other staff licensed by the Mississippi Department of Education to provide physical education in grades K-8. Physical education in grades 9-12 must be provided by a licensed physical education teacher.

 

Professional Development: The state does require teachers to complete continuing education credit to renew their teaching license outlined in the General Guidelines for Mississippi Educator Licensure (2013). The content of professional development is left to the teachers/districts.

 


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Requirements for School Nurses
     Last Updated: 5/27/2010

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Policy 4009  (2007) requires school nurses to  possess a valid license as a practical nurse or a registered nurse issued by the Mississippi Board of Nursing. For licensure as a practical nurse, Code 73-15-21 (2000) requires an applicant to possess a diploma from an approved high school, complete of a State Department of Education approved practical nursing program, and pass a board selected examination. For licensure as a registered nurse, Code 73-15-19 (2000) requires an applicant to complete an approved nursing program, provide evidence of competence in English, and pass a board selected written examination.

Professional Development: Code 49-71-31 (2010) requires require school nurses to attend certified asthma educators training.

Student-to-Nurse Ratio: None specified.

Requirements for Non-Certified Personnel to Administer Medication
     Last Updated: 6/18/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for School Counselors
     Last Updated: 9/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: For a five year educator license in guidance and counseling, a candidate must either hold a five year educator license, have completed a master's degree program in guidance and counseling or hold a master's degree in another area and have completed an approved program for guidance and counseling, and passed the Praxis II specialty area test for guidance counselors OR completed an approved master's degree program for guidance and counseling which includes a full year internship OR hold a master's degree in another area and completed an approved program for guidance and counseling which includes a full year internship, passed the Praxis I and passed the Praxis II specialty area test for guidance counselors. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (436).

Code 37-9-79 (2002) require school guidance counselors to hold a master's degree in guidance and counseling, or in an emergencies, an appropriate certification as determined by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. 

Professional Development: For renewal of a five year educator license as a school counselor 3 semester hours in content or job/skill related area OR 5 continuing education units in content or job/skill related area OR completion of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) process for National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) is required. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (436).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) requires each high school to provide at a minimum, a time licensed guidance counselor. Code 37-9-79 (2002) requires students in elementary schools to have access to qualified student support personnel which include guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and others.

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Requirements for School Psychologists
     Last Updated: 9/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirements for a five year educator license as a school psychologist, a candidate must have completed an approved specialist degree program in school psychology, passed the Praxis I, and passed the Praxis II specialty area test for school psychology. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (451).

Professional Development: For renewal of a five year educator license as a school psychologist, 3 semester hours in content area or job/skill related area or 5 continuing education units in the content area or job/skill relatedarea are required. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (451).

Student-to-Psychologist Ratio: The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) requires students in elementary schools to have access to qualified student support personnel, which include guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and others.

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Requirements for School Social Workers
     Last Updated: 9/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: The state does not have a policy specifically outlining the requirements for a school social worker. For licensure as a social worker in the state, a candidate must: provide verification of a baccalaureate degree in social work from a college or university accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and scored a minimum of 70 on the ASWB basic exam. Social Work Licensing provides further details.

Professional Development Requirement: None specified.

Student-to-Social Worker Ratio: The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (Process Standard 6.2) requires students in elementary schools to have access to qualified student support personnel, which include guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and others.

Requirements for Food Service Personnel
     Last Updated: 4/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirements for candidacy as a building level food service manager is a high school diploma or equivalent as detailed in State Board of Education Policy EE-2 (1991).

Professional Development: State Board of Education Policy EE-2 requires managers to attend a 24 hour course during the first year of employment and complete an additional 24 hours every three years.

Code 37-13-137 (2010) requires the Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education to provide comprehensive training for food service directors food service managers of local school districts on marketing healthy foods, creating a healthy cafeteria environment, effective and efficient food service operations, the standards and expectations of food service staff, and other topics as identified by the department.

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Requirements for Athletic Coaches
     Last Updated: 7/21/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Health Promoting Environment
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Wellness Policies
     Last Updated: 6/16/2010

Additional Accountability Requirements: None

Additional Content Requirements: None

Guidance Materials: The state Department of Education produced the Local School Wellness Policy Guide for Development (2005), which advocates a three-step approach to developing local school wellness policies that involve School Health Councils. The Guide's sample language meets federal requirements and offers additional recommended policy options for LEA adoption (e.g. Nutritional Standards for Vending).

Other: Code 41-79-31 (2010) require local school health councils to conduct a school health needs assessment that addresses and supports the implementation of the eight component coordinated school health model. The results of the assessment must be used in the development of long-range maintenance plans that include specific indoor air quality components for each school building. The  plans must be included in the local school wellness policy. The code requires local school health councils to adopt and support the implementation of a local school wellness policy that includes minimizing children's exposure to dust, gases, fumes and other pollutants that can aggravate asthma in the school setting.

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School Meals Program
     Last Updated: 12/28/2013

Food Services: The Healthy Students Act (2007) requires the State Board of Education to adopt regulations for food choices, preparation and marketing.  The State Board of Education's Beverage Regulations and Nutrition Standards include the following guidelines. From one hour before the start of any meal services period until the end of the last meal period, no food or beverage items can be sold on the school campus. During meal periods, food items are only allowed to be sold through the school food service. School food service shall serve only those foods that are components of the approved federal meal patterns (or water or milk products) and such additional foods as necessary to meet the caloric requirements of the age group being served. With the exception of water and milk products, a student may purchase the individual components of the meal only if the full meal is also being purchased. 

Code 37-11-8 (2010) requires the Office of Healthy Schools/Department of Education to develop and implement the HealthierUS School Initiative (USDA) to facilitate healthier choices and practices by local school districts through the promotion of healthier school environments. The Office of Healthy Schools may provide financial incentives to schools receiving recognition through the HealthierUS program. Requirements for participating schools are outlined in the statute, including offering reimbursable lunches that demonstrate healthy menu planning practices and principals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and adhere to guidelines established by the Food and Nutrition service for foods served outside of the National School Lunch Program.

The State Board of Education requires that only 1% and fat-free milk be available on school campuses.

Adequate Time to Eat: 
The  Nutrition Standards require schools to provide a minimum of 24 minutes for students and staff to eat lunch, and recommend (but do not require) 10 minutes for breakfast.

School Breakfast: No state policy.

Food Allergies: No state policy. However the Department of Education provides guidance in Managing Food Allergies in Mississippi Schools (2008).

Farm-to-SchoolHB718 (2013) creates the Interagency Farm to School Council to identify models and methods of promoting  farm to school programs in the state in order to improve the availability of healthy fresh foods in schools and promote the economic development of Mississippi farmers and food producers. The statute specifies the membership of the Council. It also specifies the Council's responsibilities, including assisting farmers in marketing and building commercial relationships with food service directors in schools and the development of a website listing farmers and schools interested in participating in the program. 

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Competitive Foods in School
     Last Updated: 6/2/2014

The Healthy Students Act (2007) requires the State Board of Education to adopt regulations for food choices, preparation and marketing.  The State Board of Education's Beverage Regulations and Nutrition Standards include the following guidelines. Outside of meal periods, as of the 2008-09 school year, only the following beverage options may be sold through vending, student stores, snack bars and other fundraising programs:

Beverage Vending and Nutrition Regulations

These regulations apply to all MS school campuses during the regular and extended school day (7am-4pm).  Extended day includes activities such as clubs, yearbook, student government, and childcare/latchkey programs. These regulations do NOT apply to school related events where parents and other adults constitute a significant portion of the audience or are selling beverages as boosters (i.e., interscholastic sporting events, plays, etc…)

Allowed Beverages in Elementary School
:

        § WATER: Bottled
§ MILK: Low-fat and nonfat regular and flavored milk, includes nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives such as soymilk
     ·  Up to 160 calories per 8 oz/Max 8 oz serving
§ JUICE: 100% juice with no added sweeteners that contains at least 10% of the recommended DC for three or more vitamins and minerals
       · Up to 120 calories per 8 oz/Max 8 oz


Allowed Beverages in Middle School
:
·  Same as elementary school, except juice and milk may be sold in 10 oz servings maximum
·  *If middle and high school students have shared access to areas on a common campus or in common buildings, then the school community has the option to adopt the high school standard.

Allowed Beverages in High School
:
§ *At least 50% of beverages must be water and no or low calorie options
§ WATER: Bottled
§ MILK: Low-fat and nonfat regular and flavored milk, includes nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives such as soymilk
          · Up to 160 calories per 8 oz
          ·  Max 12 oz serving
§ JUICE: 100% juice with no added sweeteners that contains at least 10% of the recommended DC for three or more vitamins and minerals

                   · Up to 120 calories per 8 oz
           · Max 12 oz
§ NO/LOW CAL BEVERAGES:
           · Up to 10 calories per 8 oz serving
§ LIGHT JUICES AND SPORTS DRINKS:
            · NO more than 66 calories per 8 oz serving/Max 12 oz 

Snack Vending and Nutrition Regulations
These regulations apply to all MS school campuses during the school day (7am-4pm). They cover all foods sold through vending machines, student stores, snack bars, fundraisers, and other sales available to students.  Restrictions also apply to at least 50% of the items vended in staff areas that are inaccessible to students.  Competitive food vending is available at schools at the discretion of the school district. These regulations do NOT apply to school related events where parents and other adults constitute a significant portion of the audience or are selling beverages as boosters (i.e., interscholastic sporting events, plays, etc…)

COMPETITIVE FOOD RESTRICTIONS: Competitive foods may not be sold:
§ On the school campus for one hour before the start of any meal services period
§ The school food service staff shall serve only those foods which are components of the approved federal meal patterns being served (or milk products) and such additional foods as necessary to meet the caloric requirements of the age group being served.

With the exception of milk products, a student may purchase individual components of the meal only if the full meal unit also is being purchased. Students who bring their lunch from home may purchase milk products.

Competitive foods following the regulations may be sold to students grades 7-12.  Vending to K-6 students may be appropriate in districts were school lunches are sold early in the day (10:30-11:00am), and competitive foods may be sold to K-6 students at the discretion of the school district. School districts shall update the wellness policy to address limiting the number of extra sale items that may be purchased with a reimbursable meal excluding extra beverage purchases of milk, juice and/or water). Schools may sell extra items in individual packages not to exceed 200 calories and in portions not to exceed the menu portion serving size.

REGULATIONS FOR SNACKS, BARS, AND DESSERT ITEMS:
Category includes: chips, crackers, popcorn, cereal; trail mix, nuts, seeds, nut butters; jerky; cookies, animal/graham crackers and cereal bars; granola bars; baker items (e.g., pastries, muffins, soft pretzels); frozen desserts such as ice cream; cheese, yogurt; smoothies (made with low-fat yogurt or dairy alternative and/or fruit/juice)

Nutrition Criteria per package 
(based on manufacturer’s data or labels):

Key Nutrients
:At least 5% recommended DV for three or more nutrients (fiber; vitamins A, C, D, E; thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and zinc).  At least 3g protein per package may be substituted for one of the listed nutrients.

Total Calories
: Max 200 calories per package

Fat:
No more than 35% total calories from fat and 7g maximum (except nuts, seeds, nut butters, and cheeses).

Saturated Fat and Trans Fat:
No more than 10% calories from saturated fat and/or trans fat and 2g max (except nuts, seeds, nut butters, and cheeses)

Added Sugar:
No more than 35% added sugar by weight and 15g maximum (excludes sugars naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables, and dairy).
o    For appropriate smoothies, yogurt, and pudding, no more than 5g total sugar (added and naturally occurring) per oz.
Schools are encouraged to offer foods that:
Have at least 10% of the recommended DV of one or more of the key nutrients listed above
·         Have at least 5g protein
·         List a whole grain as the first item on the ingredient listREGULATIONS FOR FRUITS AND

VEGETABLES:
Quality fruits and vegetables (‘quality’ meaning fruits and vegetables prepared and packaged without added sugar, fat, or sodium) must be available anywhere snack items are sold.

Nutrition Criteria per package (based on manufacturer’s data or labels)
:

Key Nutrients
:At least 5% recommended DV for three or more nutrients (fiber; vitamins A, C, D, E; thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and zinc).  Schools are encouraged to offer foods with at least 10% DV for one or more of these nutrients.

Total Calories
: Max 200 calories per package 

Fat:
No more than 35% total calories from fat and 7g maximum

Saturated Fat and Trans Fat:
No more than 10% calories from saturated fat and/or trans fat and 2g max

Added Sugar:
No more than 35% added sugar by weight and 15g maximum (excludes sugars naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables).

 

Fundraising Exemptions:

The regulations outlined above apply to all fundraising sales on all school campuses during the school day (7am-4pm), with no exemptions allowed.

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Physical Activity Other Than Physical Education
     Last Updated: 12/29/2013

General Physical Activity Requirement: Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires150 minutes weekly of physical activity based-instruction for grades K-8, and State Board of Education Policy 4012 requires that at least 50 minutes of that must be provided as physical education. Graduation requirements include  ½ unit of physical activity or physical education

Recess or Physical Activity Breaks
:
 No state policy, although in State Board Policy 4011 the Mississippi Department of Education recognizes that moving recess before lunch, through a simple schedule change, may provide many benefits for students in grades K-12. 

Recess Before Lunch:
No state policy.

Walking/Biking to School
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No state policy.

Organized Sports
     Last Updated: 12/28/2010

Interscholastic Athletics: No state policy.

Concussion and Sports-Related Head Injury:  No state policy.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED): No state policy.

Safe and Drug-Free Schools
     Last Updated: 9/9/2009

Code 37-11-18.1 (2003) requires s student who does not comply with a behavior modification plan deemed habitually disruptive and subject to automatic expulsion on the 3rd occurrence of disruptive behavior during the school year. Disruptive behavior includes threatening, defiant or abusive language or action toward teachers.

State Board Policy JGF-1 (2002) defines and implements the Unsafe School Option as mandated in No Child Left Behind.

Fighting/Gangs: Code 37-11-55g (2002) requires local school boards to adopt and make available to all teachers, school personnel, students, and parents/guardians a code of student conduct that includes: policies and procedures specifically concerning gang-related activities in schools, on school property or vehicles, or at school-related activities.

Weapons: State Board of Education Policy 9500 (1997) requires each board of education to have a policy concerning weapons on school presmises. The policy must prohibit the possession of pistols, firearms, or weapons in any form by any person other than duly authorized law enforcement officials on school premises or at school functions. Code 37-11-18 (1996) requires any student who possesses a knife, a handgun, other firearm or any other instrument considered to be dangerous and capable of causing bodily harm or who commit a violent act on educational property be subject to automatic expulsion for one calendar year. The superintendent of the school is authorized to modify the period of time for expulsion on a case-by-case basis. Further, Code 37-15-9 (2003) does not require a school district to admit a student if he/she was expelled for an act involving violence, weapons, or other activity.

Code 97-37-17 (2000) prohibits any person possess or carry any gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm or explosive on educational property. Violators are guilty of a felony, punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or three years Imprisonment. Likewise, possessing or carrying other weapons, such as a BB gun, air gun, or knife, is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with a fine up to $1,000 and/or six months imprisonment. A person encourages, aids, or causes a minor to possess or carry any weapon listed in subsection 5 is also guilty of a misdemeanor. Exceptions to the possession or carrying law are cases when the person is not a student attending school on any educational property, the firearm is within a motor vehicle, and when the person does not brandish, display, or exhibit the firearm in any careless, angry, or threatening manner.

Drugs and Alcohol: Code 37-11-18 requires any student who possesses any controlled substance be subject to automatic expulsion for one calendar year. The superintendent of the school is authorized to modify the period of time for expulsion on a case-by-case basis.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement: Code 37-11-29 (1996) requires superintendents to report unlawful activity to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Bullying, Harassment and Hazing
     Last Updated: 4/26/2010

Bullying/Harassment: SB2015 (2010) defines bullying as "any pattern of gestures or written, electronic or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication, or any act reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, that takes place on school property, any school-sponsored function or on a school bus." The act must (1) place the student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage his or her property, or (2) Create or is certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits. The statute defines hostile environment.

SB2015 (2010) states that no student or school employee shall be subjected to bullying or harassing behavior by school personnel or students. It prohibits reprisal or retailiation against a victim, witness or person with reliable information about an act of bullying or harassing behavior. It requires a school employee who is a witness or has reliable information about an act to report it, and also requires students or volunteers to report incidences.

SB2015 (2010) requires each local school district to include in its personnel policies, discipline policies and code of student conduct a prohibition against bullying or harassing behavior and adopt procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing such behavior. Further requirements of the policy are outlined in the statute.

Code 37-11-20 (1972) states that it is unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten or coerce, or attempt to do such things, to any person enrolled in any school for the purposes of interfering with the right of that person to attend school classes or of causing him not to attend such classes.

Cyberbullying:  SB2015 (2010) definition of bullying includes any electronic communication that is threatening or perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic  The act must (1) place the student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage his or her property, or (2) Create or is certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits. The statute states that no student or school employee shall be subjected to bullying or harassing behavior by school personnel or students and school. The statutes requires each local school district to include in its personnel policies, discipline policies and code of student conduct a prohibition against bullying or harassing behavior and adopt procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing such behavior.

Hazing: No state policy addressing elementary or secondary schools.

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Crisis Management/Emergency Response
     Last Updated: 8/4/2008

Response and Management Plans: Code 37-3-83 (2001) requires that the school board of each school district shall adopt a comprehensive local school district school safety plan and shall update the plan on an annual basis.

Reporting Incidents of Violence: Code 37-11-29 (1996) requires all school employees who has knowledge of any unlawful activity which occurred on educational property or during a school-related activity to report such activity to the superintendent. Unlawful activity includes possession or use of a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, simple assault, rape, sexual battery, and others. State Board Policy JDF-1 (1994) developed a form to report school violence.

Tobacco Use
     Last Updated: 4/28/2008
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Criminal Code §97-32-9 (2000) prohibits students from possessing tobacco on any educational property. Code §97-32-29 (2000) further prohibits the use of tobacco on any educational property for adults who, if in violation, would be subject to a fine and issued a citation by a law enforcement officer.

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Air Quality
     Last Updated: 5/27/2010
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Code 41-79-31 (2010) requires local school health councils to conduct a school health needs assessment that addresses and supports the eight components of the coordinated school health model. The results of the assessment must be used in the development of long-range maintenance plans that include specific indoor air quality components for each school building. The long-range maintenance plans must be included in the local school wellness policy. 

41-79-31 (2010) requires the State Department of Education to require that local school health councils adopt and support the implementation of a local school wellness policy that includes minimizing children's exposure to dust, gases, fumes and other pollutants that can aggravate asthma in the school setting. The policy must require the air quality and ventilation systems of schools to be assessed annually, which assessment may be accomplished with the EPA's Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality Checklist. The policy also must prohibit the use of hazardous substances such as, but not limited to, chemical cleaning products and pesticides in and around school buildings during the hours that children are present at school. The policy must require all school construction projects to implement containment procedures not later than July 1, 2012, for dusts, gases, fumes and other pollutants that trigger asthma. 

Code 37-17-6(2) (2000) requires school districts to provide air conditioning in all classrooms in each school.

Pesticide Use
     Last Updated: 5/27/2010

Code 41-79-31 (2010) requires the State Department of Education to require that local districts implement an integrated pest management program that includes procedural guidelines for pesticide application, education of building occupants and inspection and monitoring of pesticide applications. The integrated pest management program may limit the frequency, duration and volume of pesticide application on school grounds.

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Playground/Facility Safety
     Last Updated: 11/27/2006

State Board Policy CRB-3 (2001) renames Accreditation Bulletin171 as Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards, the current accreditation policy. State Department Process Standards 36 evaluates school districts facilities, safe and orderly schools as one of the Process Standards that all state school districts are required to be in compliance with to maintain their accreditation by the State Department of Education through the Commission on School Accreditation.

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Student Services
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Screening for Health Conditions
     Last Updated: 7/1/2010

Vision and Hearing: Code 41-79-5 (2000) requires school nurse intervention services to provide hearing and vision screening services.

Chronic Health Conditions: No state policy.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening: No state policy.

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Administration of Medications
     Last Updated: 12/29/2013

Staff Administration: Code 41-79-5 (2000) authorizes each school district to have employed a school nurse, known as the Health Service Coordinator, in compliance with the school nurse intervention program established by the State Department of Health. The code requires the program offers preventive services that includes assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating programs and other school health activities, in collaboration with other professionals, appropriate to each grade level and the age of maturity of the pupil.
 

Self-Administration of Asthma Medication: Code 41-79-31 (2010) requires local school boards to permit the self-administration of asthma medication by a student provided that written authorization is given by a parent or guardian and a written statement is given by a health care practitioner indicating that the student has received instruction in self-administration. Parents must sign a liability waiver. The code allows students with asthma to possess and use asthma medications when at school, at a school-sponsored activity, and under the supervision of school personnel before or after normal school activities while on school properties.

Section 2 of Code 
41-79-31 (2010) requires the State Department of Education to require each public school district to  recommend that each child with asthma have a current asthma action plan (AAP) on file at the child's school. The AAP should include the child's asthma severity classification, current asthma medication and emergency contact information.

Self-Administration of Anaphylaxis MedicationsCode 
41-79-31 (2010) requires local school boards to permit the self-administration of anaphylaxis medication by a student provided that written authorization is given by a parent or guardian and a written statement is given by a health care practitioner indicating that the student has received instruction in self-administration. Parents must sign a liability waiver. The code  allows students to possess and use anaphylaxis medications when at school, at a school-sponsored activity, and under the supervision of school personnel before or after normal school activities while on school properties.

Psychotropic Medications: No state policy.

Storage and Record-keeping: No state policy.

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Counseling and Mental Health Services
     Last Updated: 4/21/2008

Requirement to Provide Services: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2004) require each high school to provide student support services by a minimum of a ½ time by a licensed guidance counselor, and at the elementary level, by a qualified school personnel such as a guidance counselor, social workers, nurse, psychologist, psychometrist, etc. Code §37-9-79 (2002) lists the counseling services guidance counselors are required to provide.

Identification of Students with Mental or Emotional Disorders: Code §37-9-79 (2002) requires school counselors to provide student assessment and assessment counseling.

Substance Abuse: Code §37-9-79 (2002) requires school guidance counselors to provide preventive counseling and crisis intervention services.

Suicide Prevention: Code §37-9-79 (2002) requires school guidance counselors to provide preventive counseling and crisis intervention services.

HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Testing and Counseling: Mississippi does not require schools or districts to provide voluntary HIV, STD, or pregnancy testing to students.

Code §41-79-5 (2000) prohibits school nurses from providing abortion counseling or referring a student to abortion counseling or clinics. State law also does not prohibit teachers or counselors from discussing any topics with students.

Immunity of Liability: No state policy.

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Immunization
     Last Updated: 5/18/2011

Detailed, current information about immunization requirements by state is maintained by the National Network for Immunization Information.  Select your state from the drop down box under Search for State Vaccine Requirements for School Entry."

Exemptions: Code 41-23-37 (1983) allows for medical exemption from immunization requirements upon presentation of a certificate from a licensed physician.  The certificate may be accepted the local health officer when, in his opinion, such exemption will not cause undue risk to the community.

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Accommodation
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Staff with HIV
     Last Updated: 8/17/2008

Code 37-11-17 (1987) allows the State Board of Education or county boards of education to require any teacher or other school district employee to submit a thorough examination to determine whether he or she has any infectious or communicable disease.

State Board of Education Policy JGCC (1997) requires the department of education to develop model guidelines for dealing with HIV infection and communicable disease control.

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Students with HIV
     Last Updated: 11/27/2006

Although the state does not have a policy specifically addressing students with HIV. State Board Policy JGCC (1997) does require the department of education to develop model guidelines for dealing with HIV infection and communicable disease control.

Pregnant or Parenting Students
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

No state policy.

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Individual Health Plan for Students
     Last Updated: 1/9/2007

Code §41-79-5 (2000) requires the school nurse to develop individualized health plans.

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Coordination/ Implementation
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Coordinating or Advisory Councils
     Last Updated: 9/9/2009

State-level: Code 41-105-1 (2002) creates the state-level Healthcare Coordinating Council to provide recommendations in establishing a comprehensive preventive healthcare plan.

Code 7-1-553 (1992) establishes the Governor's Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports. The Commission's role is to encourage state agencies and local governments to emphasize regular physical and sports participation, encourages the development of community recreation, physical fitness and sports participation programs, and assist education agencies in developing realistic, high quality innovative health and physical education programs.

Code 41-101-1 (2004) creates the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management within the State Department of Health to establish recommendations to assure that school age children who show early signs of obesity have access to affordable, effective prevention and management services and provide suggestions for changes in statewide elementary and secondary curricula to include comprehensive, coordinated obesity awareness.

Code 41-103-1 (2004) creates the Task Force on Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention to coordinate efforts in heart disease and stroke education, prevention and treatment. The Task Force shall include a representative from the state Department of Education.

Local-level
: Code 37-13-135 (1990) requires each school board to appoint a local health education council that serves to make recommendations for the comprehensive health education curriculum. Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires local school boards to establish a school health advisory council whose duties shall include, but are not limited to, making curriculum and hour of instruction recommendations for health and physical education, recommending appropriate practices that include a coordinated approach to school health, and guidance or the development of the local school wellness plan. State Board of Education Policy 4012 (2008) requires all schools to have an established school health council and the physical education and comprehensive health education staff must serve on the council.

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School Health Program Coordinators
     Last Updated: 6/26/2012

 

 

 

SB 2752 (2012) requires the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Department of Health, to establish a school health pilot program. The program shall provide grants (subject to available funding) to local school districts implementing a school health program. One of the requirements of the grants is to have a school health coordinator. Grantees will be required to annually report on their progress toward achievement of state education performance indicators and standards and requirements related to physical activity and nutrtion.

State-level
: Code 37-13-134 (2007) requires the Legislature to appropriate state funds to employ a physical activity coordinator at the State Department of Education who should, at a minimum, possess a BA in physical education, a teacher's license, & at least 7 years in teaching physical education or in physical activity promotion/fitness leadership in grades K-12. The coordinator is to assist local districts on current and effective practices and on implementation of physical education and physical activity programs.

Local-level: Code 41-79-5 (2000) requires each public school district to employ a school nurse to serve as the Health Service Coordinator.

Confidentiality
     Last Updated: 8/21/2008

Student Health-Related Records: Appendix E of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) requires student records to be collected, maintained, and disseminated in compliance with FERPA and the confidentiality section of IDEA.

Student Health-Related Services: As a reinforcement of FERPA, IX. Confidentiality of the Policies and Procedures regarding Children with Disabilities under IDEA (2003) iterates that the MDE will protect the confidentiality of any personally identifiable data, information, and records collected or maintained related to students with disabilities.

Limitations on Student Surveys
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

No state policy.

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