Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 2017

It's that time of year- the time we are reminded how thankful we are for the wonderful things that fill our lives- day in, day out.  We can't thank you, our healthy school teams,  and all those who support you enough. The magic that happens around DCSD due to increased healthy eating habits, movement throughout the day, and regular mindfulness moments really makes tour schools a positive place for students and staff. Thank you for making the choice to be part of this program. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Thank you for putting in the extra effort.  May your week off for the holiday be full of happy moments and time to recharge your batteries!

Funding Availability

I am passing along a Radon Poster Contest in case any of your schools/students are interested in submitting artwork with a good environmental message! Prizes for students range from $300-$100 for ages 9-14.  Due November 30th, 2017.Contact Chrystine Kelley at chrys.kelley@state.co.us for information. website: www.coloradoradon.info.

Local schools will receive up to $3,500 each to enhance academic or extra-curricular programs. It could be your school! For eligibility, click the "Nominate Your School" link. Students or teachers should write a short essay specifically detailing how your school would use $3,500 to enhance education and where the money would go (I.e., toward a new facility, new equipment, teen education program or disability program). Students, teachers and administration are encouraged to participate in Groove Auto's DRIVE for education® program. LINK

Open from October 1, 2017- January 1, 2018. Apply today- it is super easy! 

Physical Activity

Mingle, Mingle, Group! In this game students mill about the classroom    saying, “mingle, mingle, mingle” in soft voices until the teacher says, “Groups of 5,” at which point the students must quickly group themselves into groups with the correct number of people. Students who are left over must do three jumping jacks before the next round starts. The teacher can call out any number for the group size. You can also add rules such as: as soon as a group is complete, all members must sit down in a line.

Brain Facts

For all of you brain facts nerds out there, here is a fun article on 72 interesting facts about the brain.  Some might be great to share with your students!


Breathing Buddies at BCE

Gratitude is super important. All the time. It’s something we should ALWAYS practice. So, what if in the month of November, we put some gratitude into action? Gratitude is associated the neurotransmitter dopamine- this helps regulate mood, behavior, sleep, cognition, and physical movement. This is the good stuff!
Carrie Wisehart shared in her latest blog the idea of  “GRATITUD-ACTION” time. The idea is to start with gratitude then act on it in response to that gratitude! How can you respond to the people that you feel gratitude towards? Here's one example, I am grateful that Kimmy can make beautiful presentations for our team so I respond by making sure her chocolate stash is well stocked ;-). Share your stories!


Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1:25



    • cups (4.6 oz) uncooked pasta


    • large chicken breasts
    • tablespoon sesame oil
    • tablespoon soy sauce

    Sesame Vinaigrette

    • tablespoons olive oil
    • tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1.5 tablepoons honey
    • 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 3/4 teaspoons soy sauce
    • clove garlic (optional)
    • 1/8 tsp salt


    • 10 oz bag of Mann's Power Blend
    • sesame seeds
    • green onions


    1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
    2. Heat oven to 425°F.
    3. Toss the chicken breasts in the sesame oil and soy sauce and bake in a small baking dish for 10 minutes.
    4. Flip and return to the oven for 10 (small chicken breasts) to 15 (large chicken breasts) minutes, until cooked through.
    5. Allow to rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board before slicing into strips.
    6. Shake together all vinaigrette ingredients, and toss in a large bowl with the cooked chicken, pasta, and Mann's Power Blend, until completely coated.
    7. Divide amongst 4 storage containers (at least 2 cup capacity), sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, and refrigerate.

    Recipe Notes

    Nutritional Information: 1 lunch bowl
    Calories 450 // Fat 19 g // Saturated Fat 3 g // Cholesterol 70 mg // Sodium 577 mg // Carbohydrate 35 g // Fiber 5 g // Sugars 11 g // Protein 32 g
    Resource for Recipe

    Article if you want to read more!

    Anti-inflammatory Drinks...

    There is a lot of research is out there about the negative effects of inflammation on our bodies. Here are a few drinks that can start your morning out on a positive note...

    Flaxseed Milk
    Coffee (yea)
    Orange juice (Use a juice glass to limit sugar intake)
    Pomegranate Juice (Use a juice glass to limit sugar intake)
    Turmeric Tea

    12 Brain foods suggested by Brain Fit

    Wednesday, September 6, 2017

    September 2017

    Taking care of yourself is so hard to prioritize during the beginning months of the year! The reality is when you do take time to take care of yourself you create more time and space to take care of others. Pick one thing, make it as small or big as you like, and commit to making it happen for yourself.  For example, if you want to enjoy a healthy meal, take 20 minutes out of your Sunday to cook yourself something that tastes delicious and will feed you soul during the first few days of the week.  Maybe you want more movement, schedule movement dates over the week to walk, take a class, or watch an exercise video (then you don't really have to do it- ha!). The goal is for 2017-18 is to make it the best we can and that starts with you, so don't miss the opportunity!

    Funding Opportunity

    The Westerra Credit Union School Grant Program strives to enhance students’ learning experiences by providing items such as art supplies, sports fees and equipment, after school programs, workbooks or other programs your school determines most beneficial.

    This new grant opportunity can help you fund up to $500 in Healthy Schools Initiatives. Due September 15th  grant link

    Important Dates

    September 14, 2017          Healthy Schools Fall Workshop
    November 1, 2017             SHIPs due to Healthy Schools peeps
    February 1, 2018               Mid-year check-in
    April 2018                         Success Stories
    Late April 2018                  End Of Year Celebration (date and place TBD)
    June 7-8th, 2018               Healthy Schools Leadership Retreat in Keystone, CO

    Healthy Schools Website

    We have a website!  Check out all the resources and information!  Please let us know if you have something to share.  Healthy Schools Website


    Green PBL Apps Due Sept. 15!

    The Green Project Based Learning Fund has successfully encouraged schools to address energy and other sustainability issues, joining the District in its efforts to be responsible stewards of our resources. This year we will focus on three main pillars for the incentive: Innovation, Student Leadership and Community Impact.

    Green PBL Fund
    The proposed projects should identify an environmental problem or need in your community (could be your school, neighborhood, city, or Douglas County) and create an innovative solution to that problem or need. Students should be involved in project research, development, and evaluation.

    Funds Available: Schools may apply for funds in any amount. $200,000 is available to distribute to applicants on a competitive basis.
    Application: Green PBL Application
    Deadline: September 15

    The most important part of this program is TO HAVE FUN while learning about innovative ways to sustain our school district.

    Staff Wellness

     Mark your calendars for this amazing opportunity! Our fabulous DCSD Wellness department is offering an challenging day at the Epic Sky Trek in Castle Rock!  Saturday, September 30th!

    Nutrition Services

    Physical Activity

    This is a well researched resource for incorporating physical activity into your schools and communities ! Active Living Research

    KRA shut its doors this summer. We want to acknowledge how wonderful they have been for motivating thousands of DCSD students and their families to run. Thank you KRA! Luckily we were fortunate to have Megan Balfe spend some of her summer hours putting together an easy follow guide on creating your own running program for your school. Please feel free to reach out to our office for any help!   

    Healthy Fundraising

    The SuperFit School Challenge is a healthy fundraising partnership with Action for Healthy Kids, a national non-profit organization that has been supporting schools in becoming healthier places for students and communities since 2002.  We know schools. And with most school fundraisers offering unhealthy snacks and beverages, we wanted to overhaul this model and create a fundraiser that engages students and their communities in healthy behaviors while also helping schools meet their fundraising goals.  For more info:  SuperFit School Challenge

    Better grades might be found on the playground. A new study of elementary-age children shows that those who were not part of an after-school exercise program tended to pack on a particular type of body fat that can have deleterious impacts on brain health and thinking. But prevention and treatment could be as simple as playing more games of tag. Please read more.... Recess article 


    3 basic ways to be happier... Mind Fuel Daily

    Peekapak- A mindfulness platform for PreK-3rd grade teachers.

    The 7 Day Kindness Challenge
    I'd like to challenge you to complete a 7-Day Kindness Challenge. Here's some ground rules: 
    1) You must do something different every day. You can do the same thing on two different days if you want, but it only counts the first time.
    2) You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once. In other words, you have to do an act of kindness that stretches you a bit.
                                            3) At least one of your acts of kindness must be completely                                         anonymous. No one must know that it was you who did it,                                           or what you did. You can't tell anyone about it.
    Do you want to learn more about kindness? Check out David Hamilton's work on kindness.


    The big news in nutrition is to ditch the sugar, so try out this yummy low sugar recipe! Looks like a lot but it makes delicious leftovers!
    Shrimp, Orzo, Feta, and Olive Casserole
    Shrimp with Feta, Orzo, and Spinach
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    1 hrs
    A delicious one pot dish for a quick dinner or great for a potluck or dinner party.
    Cuisine: Mediterranean
    Servings8 servings
    • 1 cup uncooked orzo
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 pounds shrimp preferably 21 to 25 per pound, shelled and deveined
    • 2 ounce twelve boxes chopped tomatoes preferably San Marzano or Pomi, 12
    • tablespoon four cloves garlic or 1garlic confit
    • 1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
    • 1 pound fresh or or 2 ten oz boxes frozen spinach 10
    • 1/4 pound feta cheese crumbled
    • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives halved
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
    1. Cook orzo to al dente, drain, coat with a quarter cup of the olive oil and set aside.
    2. Sauté garlic gently in 1/4 cup olive oil, or if using garlic confit, add tomatoes directly with garlic confit and 1/4 cup of the oil. Add pepper flakes and lemon zest to sauce.
    3. Let sauce simmer 10 minutes, then add to orzo and mix well.
    4. Season and sauté shrimp in a medium high heat pan, in batches if necessary to not crowd shrimp. Just brown shrimp, they will finish cooking in second step. Remove from pan and use a little water or stock to remove any browned bits from hot pan. Set aside.
    5. Prepare frozen spinach by squeezing out any excess water. If using fresh spinach, sauté in a 1/4 cup of the olive oil, adding in portions by the handful until the whole pound is wilted down. Allow to cool and squeeze out water.
    6. Line the bottom of a 3.5 quart of pyrex dish or Dutch oven with the spinach.
    7. Place orzo and tomato sauce mix on top.
    8. Gently nestle in the browned shrimp, shrimp will finish cooking in oven.
    9. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top.
    10. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and serve with freshly chopped parsley on top.

    Well that's all for September, lots more to share but there's always October. Please send in any photos or successes that we can post on this blog. You and what you are creating at your schools matters most and we want to share it with everyone.  Thank you for all that you do, hopefully we will see you on September 14th.

    With gratitude,
    Your Healthy Schools Cheerleaders

    Laurie LaComb lllacomb@dcsdk12.org
    Kimmy Romine kcromine@dcsdk12.org

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    July/August 2017

    We hope that you have taken some serious time to relax, reboot, and re-energize this summer break. We know that there is a lot of time left but in case you are looking for some ideas for the 2017/18 school year, keep on reading! If not, please read it when you get back to school.

    Important Dates 

    July 27th & 28th- Timely Topics @ Chaparral High School
    7/27 Mindfulness 101 9-10:30 am
    7/28 Mindfulness 201 8-11 am
    7/28 Brain Booster Camp 12-2 pm

    September 14th- Healthy Schools Workshop 
    (registration will be sent in August)

    Grant Opportunities

    It's on AGAIN!!
    Local schools will receive up to $3,500 each to enhance academic or extra-curricular programs. It could be your school! For eligibility, click the "Nominate Your School" link. Students or teachers should write a short essay specifically detailing how your school would use $3,500 to enhance education and where the money would go (I.e., toward a new facility, new equipment, teen education program or disability program). Students, teachers and administration are encouraged to participate in Groove Auto's DRIVE for education® program. LINK

    September Grant Awards (selected schools will be awarded in September)

    Submissions open March 1
    Submissions close August 1
    All selected schools will be notified by August 15
    Award ceremony will be held in September

    Professional Development

    We have designed a few new classes and updated last year's classes to offer DCSD staff. We will be a few at Timely Topics but we can also come to your way and offer them in the comfort of your own school.  We are around all year so no rush, but if you are working on PD, please consider our classes.

    Brain Booster Boot Camp- This 2 hour class teaches hands-on brain breaks and provides a plethora of resources as well as planning time.

    MindUp Curriculum for Teachers- This 2 hour class is designed to cover the basic aspects of implementing the MindUp curriculum PreK-8th grade. This is a hands-on workshop with the overall goal that teachers feel comfortable to teach it.

    Mindfulness 101- This 90 minute class is for anyone new to mindfulness and wants to learn the connection to brain functioning as well as gain a basic understanding of the application of mindfulness is classrooms and life.

    Mindfulness 201- This 3 hour class dives deeper in to mindfulness, including neuroscience research, creating a core practice, mindful thinking, present moment awareness, kindness, and compassion.  

    Teaching with the Brain in Mind This 2 hour class focuses on how the learning brain functions, provides brain-based strategies that can be implemented in classroom that enhances student learning, hands-on physical activities, planning & networking time, and resources.

    Recharge, Reimagine, Restart- Unique PD opportunity

    Before the next school year starts, treat yourself to a little time to recharge, rethink and reimagine. Join us, keynote Sylvia Theisen, colleagues and friends (old and new) for an event focused on kicking the year off brilliantly. Celebrate what’s working for you as an educator, make a plan to impact what you might like to change, and get the tools you need to do just that. Create a plan to reimagine your classroom space and further engage students’ passion for learning, embrace tools to help you create more ease and satisfaction at work and in life, or engage in something totally different. Regardless, this event is focused on you.

    Finally, top it all off with happy hour!

    Be among the first 10 people to register and bring a friend for free.
     Cost: $40

    Physical Activity

    More and more research is surfacing on the positive effects of active recess and cognitive functioning! RMC Health offers a wonderful resource called the Learning Landscapes Toolkitand you can download it for free! This kit has tons of games that are printed with directions, materials, time, and best location for the game. Start the year off on an active foot by playing a fun recess game (Move it Mondays) with your students before free play begins.  If you do, take a picture and send one to us!

    Bring a new after school physical activity class to your school that goes beyond movement!  This class includes yoga, mindfulness, fitness activities, healthy living tips, art projects, inspiring guest speakers and lots of F-U-N! We are so fortunate to have a DCSD employee leading this project. If interested contact Gina Mead (RHMS) at projectstronggirls@gmail.com or visit their website Project Strong Girls


    Would you like to rate your mindfulness, if so take this 20 question quiz

    54231 Mindfulness Game
    This quick and easy game is a sensory awareness exercise that is great for all ages and promotes mindfulness. It works like this:

    Name 5 things you can see right now
    Name 4 things you can feel right now
    Name 3 things you can hear right now
    Name 2 things you can smell right now
    Name 1 good thing about yourself

    You can do this as an all group activity, pairs, in journals, outside before going back inside.

    Self-Care is not Selfish

    Happy teachers lead to happy students, educators and researcher say. As schools across the country put more of a focus on social-emotional learning for their students, experts have come to realize that teachers' social-emotional competencies, especially their stress-management skills and their ability to regulate their emotions, are a vital piece of that puzzle.


                        Super Healthy Kids

    Healthy Recipe

    Tuna and Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    • 1/2 can tuna
    • 1/4 cup chickpeas
    • 1/4 avocado
    • 2 slices bread
    • 1 lettuce leaf
    Directions: Make your mid-week meal much easier with a super-simple sandwich. Mash together the tuna, chickpeas, and avocado, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spread mustard on the bread and top with lettuce. Stuff the tuna salad filling between the bread. Enjoy!  Link to no cook meals

    We are looking forward (but not rushing, enjoy the time off!) to seeing you all this fall. Please reach out if we can help in any way to get your school started on a healthy foot this year! Leave a comment and get your name in our "Reader of the Month" drawing, for our August 15th prize.

    With gratitude,
    Laurie & Kimmy