Iowa City Community School District Looking For Feedback About Birthday Celebrations

Cupcake versus pencil

Do you have feedback about birthday celebrations in the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD)? According to the most recently posted District Parent Organization (DPO) minutes dated November 5, 2014, the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) wants to hear from you.

Currently, there are pilot programs in place regarding birthday treats and celebrations. At Wickham, they are experimenting with no-food birthday celebrations. At Lincoln, food is allowed but must be purchased, healthy, pre-packaged food. Reasons for these practices include safety and health, equity, and time taken away from instruction. The Wellness Committee envisions that the school district will consider an official policy regarding food and school celebrations within the next year or so.

Susie encourages parents to provide feedback on healthy food policies that are being considered. Feedback can be sent to: [emphasis added]. All DPO representatives are asked to share this information with their PTOs, PTAs and PSTOs, and to encourage parent feedback on this issue.*

For many students, birthday celebrations with cupcakes or cookies are a way to break up a school day, and these celebrations can help students to enjoy school so it seems a shame to discontinue the practice; however, I understand that some families may not celebrate birthdays or may not be able to supply treats or may have children with allergies who feel left out. And perhaps some prefer that a birthday child who wishes to distribute a treat to students distribute pencils instead of a cupcake? However, coming up with an alternative to treats can be burdensome for families with budget or time crunch issues.

Keep in mind that birthday treats need not be regulated at the district level. Perhaps the district-wide policy should be to let each principal decide how to run his or her building. Principals know their own school populations best and are capable of setting the tone and policy for birthday celebrations at the school building level.

In any case, please consider providing feedback to the district about how district healthy food policies should or should not influence birthday celebrations at district schools at


Update:  On January 12, 2015, the ICCSD sent the email below.  Comments in response can be found at

Good Afternoon,

The District has proposed a change to the policy regarding birthday treats / foods brought to school to be shared with other students and your input is needed. Please visit the Engage Iowa City Schools site to provide your thoughts on the proposed policy change.  A pdf file of the draft policy is located under the Topic Details tab within the Engage question for your review.  Thank you for your feedback and your time.

This entry was posted in Birthday celebrations, ICCSD, Iowa City, Wellness. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Iowa City Community School District Looking For Feedback About Birthday Celebrations

  1. Chris Liebig says:

    What’s the point? The schools don’t pay any attention to the Wellness Policy anyway. How about the part that says that withholding recess “will not be considered except in extreme circumstances where all other methods have been exhausted or for continued unacceptable behavior exhibited during recess”?


  2. Interesting take on no food birthday celebrations. We will be looking forward to how this all plays out. Thanks for sharing!


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