Student Health and Wellness 


Supports schools in aligning with local wellness policy guidelines that promote healthy school environments that include physical activity and healthy food choices.

Access LearnWELL Toolkit

Healthy Eating

Snacks and Beverages in School

Healthy snacks can improve students’ concentration in the classroom. CPS requires that all food served or sold on school grounds outside of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs (including a la carte options, school stores, and vending machines) are held to the same high nutritional standards as food served during breakfast and lunch. There are three standard rules that can be applied to foods being served or sold on school grounds:

  1. No food may be offered or sold in place of a school meal (i.e. NO pizza parties, Subway parties, etc. in place of lunch).

  2. The school day is defined as 12:00am (midnight) to 30 minutes after dismissal.

  3. All foods provided to students on school grounds, to be consumed during the school day, must meet the nutrition requirements outlined in the Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy.

For more information, download the Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy. To see the list of approved school snacks (or to get some ideas for your own snacking!) check out the Healthy Snack List.

Healthy Celebrations, Fundraising and Rewards

The school food environment should encourage healthy eating habits and a positive relationship to food for all students. CPS encourages creative strategies to ensure celebrations, fundraising and rewards maintain consistent messaging about healthy food options.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure throughout the school day.


The Office of Student Health and Wellness requires all elementary and middle schools have to provide students with at least 20 minutes of supervised, weather-appropriate daily recess. Recess gives students the opportunity to be physically active and practice social skills.

Integrated physical activity

Physical education is distinct from integrated physical activity.  Physical education is an academic subject that provides a planned, sequential, K-12 standards-based curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge and behaviors for healthy, active living and physical fitness.



School Gardens

More than 400 Chicago Public Schools have a school garden and are eligible to complete the Eat What You Grow program which certifies schools to safely harvest and serve school garden produce.

CPS promotes a farm to school approach to nutrition education and school gardens. The CPS Farm to School program integrateslocal food in the dining center, growing food in the school garden and nutrition education in the classroom. To learn more, visit


Healthy students are better learners. For this reason Chicago has taken action to support healthy school environments through LearnWELL.

What is a LearnWELL School?

LearnWELL is an initiative of Healthy CPS that supports schools in aligning with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wellness policies, which promote improved health and academic performance of all students as well as healthier school environments.

LearnWELL offers a variety of resources, including step-by-step guides, training sessions and tips for teachers and parents that can help schools incorporate policy requirements in an effective and engaging way. Schools that become LearnWELL are  implementing the district wellness policies regarding healthy food (including snacks and beverages) and physical activity and have applied to become Healthy Schools Certified.

In order to ensure that every aspect of the CPS wellness policies and the school environment is covered, LearnWELL provides support for the following areas:

Why Parents and Schools Must Work Together

Parents in CPS are leading the charge for better student health, and as a parent, you can use CPS wellness policies as a valuable tool for making your child’s school healthier. Here’s some ideas about how you can become involved in helping your child’s school become LearnWELL:
  1. Become familiar with the CPS Local School Wellness Policy, Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy, and Physical Education Policy, and learn how your child’s school is working to implement these policies.
  2. Download the EngageWELL: Parents+Schools Working Together Section of the LearnWELL Toolkit.
  3. Join your School Wellness Team, and encourage other parents and community members to participate.
  4. Help your child’s school make celebrations and fundraisers fun and healthy by incorporating some of the ideas (or suggest your own!) found on the Healthy Celebrations and Fundraisers guides.
  5. Download the entire Toolkit here, or click on any of the above LearnWELL categories to download individual chapters.

Contact for more information.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, September 22, 2016