Parents » Party-Treat-Food Guidelines

Party-Treat-Food Guidelines

Goal of Guidelines: To create more consistent and enforceable party, treat, and food guidelines for our schools, which will provide safer and more equitable options for all students.

Philosophy of Parties/Treats in Schools: These occasions should be more about the celebration of holidays and traditions, with a focus on fun activities, with less emphasis on food consumption.

Core Beliefs:

1. Safety is top priority
2. Continued need for home­-school communication
3. Portions are reasonable and age-appropriate
4. Offerings as equitable as possible
5. Enforcement of guidelines is essential
6. Healthy food preferred

General Guidelines:
  • Three (3) holiday parties during the school year, 4 unaccompanied parent/guardian helpers maximum at each party, with sign-­up procedures ahead of time and proper check-­in upon arrival.
  • End-­of­-year functions: events held during the school day for PreK-­4 are subject to these same guidelines. However, fifth grade functions held during the school day at the end of the year may include a planned meal or snack with full communication to all parents about the menu. Appropriate accommodations should be made accordingly. If there is a lunch event planned that takes the place of regularly scheduled lunches for 5th graders, School Nutrition Services should be notified at least 2 weeks in advance of the event.
  • For birthday treats: only safe, non-­food treats permitted; enough for all students in class
  • (see attached list of ideas).
  • No food, gum, or treat bags with food will be sent home with any students (this includes birthdays and all holiday parties). Valentine cards (without candy) are permitted.
  • Food consumption in art/science rooms should only take place as a last resort.
  • Classroom rewards shall not include food.
  • Any selected party activities themselves should not include food items.
Party Food Guidelines/Enforcement (these guidelines apply only to school-­hour celebrations):
  • Bottled water is the only beverage to be served, along with a maximum of two food treats (at least onehealth food item should be considered).
  • All treats need to be individually pre­packaged and factory ­sealed, with the ingredient label visible on the individual/original packaging (no homemade treats permitted).
  • Foods containing the 9 most common allergens are not permitted as treats (eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, wheat).
Permitted individually pre­packaged and factory­-sealed treats (will review as of January 2023)
Lay’s Classic Chips
Fritos Original
Swedish Fish
Fruit Cups
Mott’s Fruit Snacks
Any Enjoy Life Product
Minute Maid Frozen Juice Bars
Sidekicks Frozen Fruit Cup
Minute Maid Soft Frozen Lemonade & Raspberry
Skinny Pop Popcorn
Fresh Fruit or Vegetables - prepared by Nutrition Services
Applesauce or Applesauce Pouches
Dried Fruits
Healthy pre­packaged snacks can be purchased through Mentor Schools’ School Nutrition Services (at least one week’s notice required). Please e­mail Ginni Vaccaro at [email protected].
*Please consult with our district website ( prior to any party being planned. The most current list of safe/suggested pre­packaged treats will be found under the PARENTS tab.
  • Direct communication between parent of student with food allergy and parent providing food is recommended. Teacher should facilitate contact without violating privacy. Parent of the child with the allergy is encouraged to initiate the contact to the parent providing the food. (Suggestion: Photo of product ingredients can be sent to the parent of the child with the allergy).
  • In addition to the above guidelines, Board Policy 6.49 still remains in effect:
The Board recognizes the importance of providing all students with a safe and accessible educational environment. In consultation with parents, school nurses and other employees, school volunteers, students, and community members, the Board has developed the following approach to protect students with peanut or other food allergies:

1. Parents of students who have an allergy to a food item are responsible for providing information about the allergy, including documentation from the student’s physician describing the nature of the allergy, to the principal of the school building in which the student attends.
2. The principal or principal’s designee shall, in consultation with the school nurse or other district personnel as needed, determine which procedures are necessary to protect the student with allergies.
3. The principal or designee may refer the student for evaluation to determine whether the student is eligible for services under Section 504 or other applicable law.

Non-­Food Treat Ideas for Celebrations at School

In collaboration with your child’s classroom teacher, one of the following ideas may be used.

Teacher/Staff Ideas

1. Arrange for the class to play a game indoors or outdoors
2. Extra recess
3. Arrange a treasure hunt around the classroom
4. Show and Tell
5. Dance to a song
6. Reading time in a special place
7. Extra computer time
8. Eat lunch with the principal or other staff member
9. Lunch in the classroom with a friend
10. Be a helper in another classroom
11. Listen to music while working
12. Make a bookmark
13. Physical Activity break
14. Special dress day: pj’s
15. A special note from the staff member to the student
16. Reading to a younger class
17. Read morning announcements
Ideas for Parents

1. Party Favors: bouncy balls, matchbox cars, erasers, tops, magnifying glasses, notepads, whistles, bubbles, stickers, pencils, pens, ruler, Frisbee, jump ropes, paddle balls, pencil grips, yo­yos, finger puppets, plastic sliding puzzles, puzzle games, slinkies, spinning tops, marbles, jacks, playing cards, magnet, crazy straws, seeds for growing plants
2. Buy something for the class: book, game, music
3. Arrange a treasure hunt around the classroom
4. Decorate a box and send to the classroom with index cards: Have the teacher ask each child to write one sentence saying something nice about the birthday child
5. Give supplies and directions for a craft. Ask to come in and help with the craft
6. Send something all the kids can sign as a birthday present: shirt/sweatshirt, tote bag, stuffed animal, pillow case
7. Make a bookmark
8. Sidewalk chalk for the class

Mentor Middle and High School­ Party/Treat/Food Guidelines

The core beliefs about the serving and consumption of party and treat foods at the middle and high school levels mirror the elementary beliefs regarding safety, home-­school communication, reasonable portions, equitable offerings, guideline enforcement, and healthy food prioritization. We also recognize, however, that students in Grades 6-­12 are generally more equipped to manage known food allergies and recognize an allergic reaction. Nevertheless, it is important that District Policy 6.49, ­Students With Food Allergies, is followed at all times. Parties and
events should be more about the activities and traditions than the food itself. The staffs of these buildings shall also be included in trainings and awareness to increase food safety at the upper levels.
History of District Steps Taken:
  • May of 2016: Inform School Board, district staff, and parents of the guideline revisions to take effect in 2016-­17 school year.
  • At start of 2016-­17 school year: Create a short video for all district staff to view for purposes of raising allergy awareness. We will additionally ask each PTA to show the video. View annually the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) video at staff and PTA meetings for the purpose of raising allergy awareness.
  • In elementary buildings: Review of guidelines with all staff at start of the year building meetings, with these additional points of emphasis - awareness of students with allergies, vigilance throughout the year, and adherence to guidelines.
  • Lists of permitted, individually pre­-packaged and factory-­sealed treats will be reviewed at semester by the School Nutrition Services director. Any updates will be made on the Mentor Schools website at the start of each new semester.
Offer to parents of students with food allergies the option to provide/use a personal tray or disposable tray for meals or in-­classroom food servings, in lieu of isolation at nut-­free tables. This can transition to upper levels as well. Personal trays then travel home for daily washing.