MBS to Pilot Sweets-Free Celebrations in Coming School Year


Malletts Bay School will pilot a celebration program in the coming school year that involves alternatives to sugary sweets. If the pilot is deemed successful, it may be considered for possible replication in other schools in the district.

Please note! This does not mean that birthdays and other celebrations will not take place! Please read on to learn more about the pilot program.

While there are a host of motivations for the pilot program, the rationale is best distilled into three primary points:

  1. Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. CSD’s vision and strategic plan includes Pathway F: “Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners” in which the district strives “to partner with our community to educate each of our students to become engaged, productive citizens who lead successful, balanced, and healthy lives.” As many as twenty-three birthdays are celebrated in each MBS classroom every year, as well as a variety of other celebrations, resulting in vast quantities of sugary treats throughout the year. The pilot program seeks to better align with the vision and strategic plan’s wellness pathway.
  2. Food allergies and sensitivities. Food allergies and sensitivities in our school community are ever increasing; virtually every classroom has students with such an allergy and/or sensitivity. Despite MBS Nurse Frieberg’s efforts in working with families to provide treats that will not endanger any of our students, potentially problematic treats still routinely arrive at the school. Additionally, a disproportionately large amount of time is taken away from Nurse Frieberg’s primary role of caring for student health as a result of the food safety issue. This pilot program seeks to ameliorate these issues.
  3. Instructional climate. Significant research underscores a very clear link between good nutrition and improved student behavior and academic outcomes. Teaching students about good nutrition and supporting that teaching by modeling healthy practices is an important responsibility.


As mentioned above, MBS is absolutely not banning birthdays and other celebrations. Rather, school officials are developing alternative ideas that include fun activities to enhance celebratory events. Additionally, staff will work to create a list of healthy food options—including such choices as vegetable trays with hummus or modified fruit salads—that can always be permitted in any classroom.

Fresh assorted vegetables in boxes on farmer's market

To read the June 13 letter to MBS parents about this pilot program, please click here.

MBS also welcomes your ideas! Please share them by calling (802) 264-5900 or by e-mailing Principal Julie Benay (benayj@csdvt.org.)

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