• Food and Nutrition sub header

Classroom Birthday Parties and Foods in Schools

  • The following guidelines will provide consistent direction for school holiday parties across the district. These guidelines apply to all early childhood, elementary, middle and high school programs. The guidelines may be changed annually, or as needed.


    I. Timing & Frequency
    Holiday parties that occur during the school day, where treats are provided to students, are limited to no more than three (3) per year. Campus administrators will complete a form designating their three (3) holiday party days. Completed forms will be submitted to appropriate division directors, signed and then returned to principals. Treats (foods and/or beverages) which are provided to students at no charge as part of a holiday party may not be distributed prior to the last 30 minutes of the regular school day.


    II. Non-Food Items Encouraged
    Alternatives to foods and beverages are encouraged as ways to celebrate holidays. Parents who wish to celebrate holidays are strongly encouraged to bring/provide non-food items, such as pencils, party hats, etc.


    III.  Home-Made Foods - PROHIBITED
    Given concerns regarding food allergies and food safety, home-made foods are not allowed in Irving ISD schools for consumption by students during the school day.


    IV. Food Allergens & Ingredients
    Food served to students at school may not include peanuts or tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts). Purchased foods to be served to students must include a general list of ingredients or a checklist that indicates whether any of the following ingredients are included.

    NOTE: Along with peanuts and tree nuts, the following ingredients are responsible for 90% of all food allergy reactions in children: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. 


    V. Allowable Foods

    Federal nutrition guidelines do not apply to foods/treats that are donated or otherwise provided at zero cost (i.e. free) to students. Thus, store-bought cupcakes, donated by a parent to a classroom/school, are allowable (under federal policy) treats for holiday parties. However, campus administrators are reminded that childhood obesity is a key public health issue affecting children, and that sweets should be limited to the greatest extent possible. Note that an abundance of sweet, calorie-dense treats may be perceived negatively by members of our community. Reasonable discretion is strongly encouraged. Foods that would compete with, or replace, school lunches (pizza, etc.) are not allowable, unless provided through the Food & Nutrition Services department as a special modified school lunch.


    VI. Student Projects Involving Foods
    Student projects completed at school shall be peanut- and tree nut-free. Edible seeds and nuts shall not be used in classroom projects. Supervised high school culinary arts class projects are an acceptable exception to this requirement.


    VII. Carbonated Beverages
    Carbonated beverages - whether full-calorie, reduced-calorie, or calorie-free – shall not be provided or made available (at cost or for free) to Irving ISD students during the school day. 


    These guidelines were created by district administrators.