Thursday, March 8, 2018

March 2018

We believe Healthy Schools work resembles the visual above. Just like tossing a stone into a calm pond, we toss health initiatives (jump rope challenges, kindness olympics, yoga classes for middle school students, mindfulness, and so much more) into schools throughout the district all the time.  There is no doubt that each student is affected in a different way by these initiatives. For some, students bring health and wellness home and share these healthy ideas with their families. In some schools, neighboring teachers hear success in other classrooms and bring it into their own. For some, principals get excited about the work and really support the work.  And sometimes families, parents and siblings are positively affected by the work and they bring it into their worlds outside of the home.  Our philosophy is to impact one student at a time and see what happens next.  So every day when you start with the health and wellness pebble in hand- don't be scared to toss it. If you impact one student it is well worth the toss!

Important Dates in the Healthy Schools World

April 25th (4:30-5:30) Please plan to join us to celebrate the amazing health and wellness efforts that has happened throughout DCSD this year! All Healthy Schools leads will be joining Staff Wellness Super Champs (you might play both those roles at your school) at the Lone Tree Library for some food, year end gifts, and some celebrating!!  You will receive a formal invite at the end of March. 

April 19th, 2018 (all day)  
DCSD Restorative Practices Workshop
The day includes:
• A day at the Highlands Ranch Mansion 
• Breakfast, lunch, and snacks 
                                                                  • Keynote speaker 
                                                              • Restorative Practices 
                                                                     • Break outs 

RSVP now! Limited Space available. 150 participants and 40 paid sub slots available.

April 17th, 2018  Screenagers Movie at Chaparral High School 7PM-8:30 PM  Tickets

Grant Opportunities

Learning to Give

Learning to Give mini-grants are designed to inspire classroom discussion and action toward students using their time, talent, and treasure for the common good. Priority given to those who use social media to share their plans, discuss ideas, and reflect.
Amount: Up to $1,000     Deadlines: February 22 and March 22, 2018

Every Kid Healthy Week

Every Kid Healthy Week shines a spotlight on the link between nutrition, physical activity and learning and recognizes the great efforts schools are doing to improve the health and wellness of their students. Schools will host health fairs, family events, taste tests and more throughout the month of April. Colorado Action for Healthy Kids will provide mini grants to selected schools to assist with their Every Kid Healthy Week celebrations. Contact Stephanie Ekoniak for an application or additional info.
Amount: $100 – $300     DeadlineMarch 14, 2018

Third Wave

Third Wave has funded cutting edge youth-led activism across the United States, and has supported emerging organizations that lack access to philanthropy. Third Wave’s gender justice vision and grantmaking invests in communities and not issue areas: young women of color and trans, intersex, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and queer youth of color. The Mobilize Power Fund is a rapid response fund for gender justice activism, action, and community mobilization.
Amount: Up to $3,000     Deadline: Rolling

Recognize a Healthy Parent

Colorado AFHK is now accepting nominations for our 2018 Parents are the Power Healthy School Hero Awards. If you know a dedicated Colorado parent or family member who deserves to be recognized for his or her efforts to create a healthy school environment, download the nomination form today. Our Colorado award winners will each receive a $500 health and wellness grant for their school. Learn more and read about our 2017 heroes.  Due April 13, 2018

It's time for the Longmont Dairy 24th Annual Poetry Contest!  Invite your students to write about "A Day In The Life of a Farmer".  Entries due March 12, 2018.  Your students' parents can then email the poems to:  Please include their name, grade, school, home address and phone number. Prizes will be awarded by grade/age division.  1st place $60; 2nd place $40; 3rd place $20 (Grade divisions: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12).  Winners will have their poems published in the May Mooo News and on the website.  Poems published will include the winner's first name, school and grade.  To see last year's winners go here:

Online Learning Opportunities

Upcoming Webinars
– Wellness: Yoga in the Classroom
– Helping Kids Learn Better with Healthy School Meals
– Wellness: Healthy Snacking
– Reading, Writing, Arithmetic....and Recess
– Wellness: How to Show Your Volunteers They're Valued
– School Digs (or Raising the Bar and Profits with Healthy School Fundraising)

Learn more, register and view archived webinars.


A great way to share mindfulness with students is to teach them how to independently use guided meditation apps. Here are 13 Meditation Apps for Kids with Anxiety

This program is designed for primary grade levels that uses music as a teaching tool for focus and mindfulness. If you have a musical ear or know a colleague, please explore/share Mind Meets Music

If you do not subscribe to BrainFit yet you may want to take a few minutes to look at the content they provide on a regular basis! They have great ideas about foods to consider for optimal brain functioning, along with movement ideas.  Here is a fabulous article on  how to do yoga to fight depression and anxiety.  Maybe a pose or two can help students you work with daily.

3 things to consider if one is feeling anxious...

1. Is it really a threat?
2. Have you done all that can be done to be prepared?
3. Is your mind going in overdrive?

Want to know more, read this article from Greatist. Article of 3 questions about anxiety

Prepping students to be confident when they get to the test? Try this guided visualization to help them see their success before they start! Guided visualization for test stress

You can also try How to Relax Muscles with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Physical Activity

We are so lucky to have Megan Balfe as part of the Healthy Schools family. Recently Megan created a presentation for the staff at BCE and was kind enough to share it.  This detailed resource provides a plethora of movement videos, activities, and  resources that could convince an skeptic on PA's important role in the classroom. Thank you Megan!  Megan's PA 

With winter weather restricting many programs to the indoors and limiting space, now is a great time to try out BOKS' Yoga and Mindfulness Curriculum Supplement. Launched May 2017, BOKS partnered with Tara Stiles, founder of STRALA Yoga, to provide fun yoga and mindfulness activities to enhance your BOKS class. STRALA Yoga is a revolutionary approach to guiding feeling and movement, which leaves you feeling healthy, creative and happy. The curriculum emphasizes how it's not solely about the yoga poses, but about encouraging your students to connect with themselves and move with minimal stress and effort. With an emphasis on the process, students focus on their energy and feeling good while moving, rather than worry about the results.
We've received some amazing feedback from schools who piloted the program, and would highly recommend giving it a 
try, even if just for a few minutes once a week.

Physical Environment

You may have heard that we have lost our amazing sustainability team here in DCSD due to new positions and new babies.  Until DCSD comes up with a new team, Healthy Schools is here for you to support school gardens, tower gardens, and no idling campaigns. Please keep us in mind and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything, together we will find an answer.  

We heard there was a new milk carton in the cafeteria line up. Have no fear! Nutrition Services double checked with Waste Management to make sure the new milk carton is recyclable. Just empty out the liquid and put in your single stream recycle bin!

School Celebrations


                                                     Soaring Hawk- All School Yoga Day!
 Soaring Hawk- All School Yoga Day!


(OK, it's really more a smoothie)

1 cup spinach
1frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (look for low suagar)
1/2 cup milk (you choose the fat)
1/3 cup packed mint
If time (HA), make that cute kiwi garnish- go for it!

Blend together. Enjoy! If you want to play dangerous, add some whipped cream on it.

Thank you to all for your time completing midyear check-ins.  It was so affirming to hear the wonderful healthy school activities happening all throughout the district. Keep on throwing those healthy pebbles into your schools, impacting one student at a time (and then see what happens).

We are sending out prizes to our BLOG Reader winner on Saint Patty's day- so comment before then!

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness comes through the door (Irish blessing).
Laurie & Kimmy

Thursday, February 1, 2018


We can't help it, we love hippos! This light hearted article from MindFuel Daily reminds us of 
what is important in life! Enjoy February!

Physical Activity

Boks has a new logo and a great weekly BOKS Bursts that they can email you regularly.  To enroll use this link.

This is this week's Weekly Burst: Pop-up and Go

Have children start lying on their stomachs on the ground. On your command, instruct them to "pop up" as fast as they can, completing a different running activity (in place) each time (30 seconds each):

1. Fast feet
2. High knees as if running through tires
3. Butt kickers
4. Wide leg high knees
5. Fast feet while rotating in a clockwise direction
6. Fast feet while rotating in a counter-clockwise direction

It's Heart Healthy Month!  Great time to get motivated and inspired to take care of the old ticker.  Here are a few ideas...

Eat a heart healthy diet
Get and stay active- more than 150 minutes a week
Watch your sugar intake- keep blood sugars low

Mindful Movement Take 5- Thank you Megan Balfe!


Plugging in to listen to a guided meditation is an easy way to get a core practice of mindfulness established.  If you are looking for an app to use for guided meditations with yourself and your students read this list of some new options.  10 New Meditation Apps Article

Are your days starting out foggy, unfocused, uninspired? Try Carrie Wisehart's Six Habits of a Miracle Morning.

Seven Easy Steps to Personalized Mindfulness in Schools
by ASCD 

Step 1: Allow Participants to Voice Their Stress

Step 2: Understand How Stress Relates to Mindfulness
Step 3: Appreciate the Multiple Benefits of Mindfulness
Step 4: Take a Brief Self-Inventory
Step 5: Look for a Main Pattern
Step 6: Choosing Our Own Paths to Mindfulness
Step 7: Revel in Your Personalized Approach

7 Steps to Mindfulness Article


Tech Talk Tuesdays
Do you need some discussion questions for class? Subscribe to the Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesdays blog and receive weekly ideas on what to discuss with your students and your own family members. This week is about shopping online and here is a taste of the questions...

  • What are some of the upsides of being able to shop online? What are your favorite online browsing/shopping sites?
  • What are some of the downsides? ** I often feel sad about losing shops in all of our communities who just can't survive the online competition.
  • What are ways to stay on task longer with studying and not be pulled into switching to a shopping site?

Training Opportunities

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Family Celebrations
Wednesday, February 14, 3-3:30pm (CT)
Learn how to engage families with healthy and fun events that help support an overall culture of wellness at your school. Hosting an event that involves physical activity and healthy eating can help you promote healthy behaviors, share positive messages, educate and engage parents, and motivate kids.
PARENTS: check out Rock School Health Like a Boss
Thursday, February 15, 12-1pm (CT)
We've teamed up with National PTA to bring you the best resources and tools to help make your school a healthier learning environment. This webinar will give you the information you need to help school administrators and school boards understand the importance of school health to academic success.

Celebrating School Health with Every Kid Healthy Week
Thursday, February 22, 3-4pm (CT)

Every Kid Healthy Week brings attention to the nation's problem of childhood obesity, but more importantly, to its solutions: sound nutrition, regular physical activity, health-promoting school programs and successful engagement of families and communities. Join this webinar to learn more about Every Kid Healthy Week and how you can host an event to join the national movement.

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga in the Classroom
Wednesday, March 14, 2-3pm (CT)

Learn about integrating yoga into a classroom environment, including how to use simple yoga-based movements and practices to increase physical fitness, student focus and academic performance!

Helping Kids Learn Better with Healthy School Meals
Thursday, March 22, 1-2pm (CT)
Kids who eat healthy school meals have fewer absences and higher academic achievement. Learn how national school meal programs work and how parents and community members can deepen support, trust and meaningful collaboration with nutrition services staff to create a healthier school food culture.

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Snacking
Wednesday, April 11, 3-3:30pm (CT)

Join us for tips to help spice up your snacking routine with fun and healthy snacks for all ages. Learn about easy, healthy snacks you can serve during or after school and as part of school celebrations.

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...and Recess
Thursday, April 19, 12-1pm (CT)

Recess is more than just fun and games. It helps kids think creatively, make friends, share and resolve conflicts. Kids need recess, but schools are cutting out that time for more academics. Join us to learn more about why recess is important and how you can advocate for better recess in your schools.

Wellness Wednesday: How to Show Your Volunteers They’re Valued
Wednesday, May 9, 3-3:30pm (CT)
The end of the school year is a great time to show all the family and community members who have helped support your school health efforts throughout the year just how much you appreciate them. Join us to hear some creative ways other schools have thanked their volunteers and engaged them to become even more active in the future.

School Digs (or Raising the Bar and Profits with Healthy School Fundraisers)
Thursday, May 17, 12-1pm (CT)
Whether it’s the cafeteria, the playground, the classroom or another area on your campus, kids need to get the same message everywhere: Be Active & Eat Healthy! This webinar is designed to show you where campuses can improve to make sure that kids are getting the right message.

School Success Stories

Here are some fabulous ideas from Jennifer Tracy (Soaring Hawk) for Heart Health Awareness:

*Wear Red Wednesday - Staff and students celebrate Healthy Heart Awareness by wearing red each Wednesday. Staff are welcome to wear jeans if they remember to wear red on Wednesdays in February!

*Hidden Heart - Each morning, the 6th grade Wellness Ambassadors will hide a stuffed purple heart for the staff and students to find.  It will be clearly visible in the common areas of the school.  We hope to encourage some impromptu walks within our walls, and then don't forget to put a "heart in the jar"!
Inline image 1

*Random School-wide Physical Activity - On multiple days throughout the month, there will be a random announcement on the PA (during CREW) asking the classes to stand up and do an activity (i.e. wall push-ups, 20 hops on each foot, etc.), THEN each class is encouraged to bring a heart down to the jars in the office.

*Go Red Day Blood Pressure Checks in the Lounge - Erika will be in the lounge from 11am-1pm and she will take note of anyone who gets their blood pressure checked (not their result).  It's important to know your numbers!  I will pull a name for a prize from all those who participated.

*"(BLANK) is Why" poster - All staff is encouraged to write their motivation of why they want to be healthy to live a long life. We will post these messages in the lounge on the walls for the month of February.


Many of us drink coffee practically every day, so why not add a little something, something to make it a bit healthier! Read these ideas from Greatist.


  Yields 6 to 8 servings
This low carb slow cooker breakfast casserole will make your mornings all the brighter. Packed with broccoli and breakfast sausage for a healthy start to your day.


  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 12-oz package Jones Dairy Farm Little Links, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided
  • 10 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Grease the ceramic interior of a 6 quart slow cooker well.
  2. Layer one half of the broccoli, half of the sausage and half of the cheese into the slow cooker. Repeat with remaining broccoli, sausage and cheese.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, whipping cream, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour over layered ingredients.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until browned on the edges and set in the center.


Serves 6 to 8. For 6 servings, each serving has 5.39 g of carbs and 1.18 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 4.21 g.
Food energy: 484kcal Saturated fatty acids: 16.50g Total fat: 38.86g Calories from fat: 349 Cholesterol: 399mg Carbohydrate: 5.39g Total dietary fiber: 1.18g Protein: 26.13g Sodium: 858mg

Fun and Healthy Valentine treats...

Strawberry, angel food cake, and Blackberry kabobs

Grape tomatoes & cheese

Chex cereal, driend strawberries, & yogurt covered raisins

Thank you for reading this month's blog! We are open to any suggestions for health and wellness ideas and resources that you make be looking tobring into your school setting. Just leave a note in comments and we will make sure to include it in our March blog.  Have a heart healthy month!

Laurie LaComb & Kimmy Romine

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 2018

Welcome to 2018!  My sister shared with me an idea for the new year: "Look like you are 20, and feel like you are 18".  Beyond the sheer humor in this statement, there is a hidden lesson.  One way to look at this is that 18 year-olds generally do not allow fear to get in their way, and they attack life's challenges with determination to succeed, as they try to enjoy the ride every step of the way.  This year will be full of its challenges and failures as usual, and a positive mindset will help determine the outcome of these inevitable moments.  Remember you have the ability to do anything you put your mind to, and don't forget there are helping hands all around you. Sometimes the hardest part is to ask for help to reach your goals. Don't give up, don't let fear get in your way, and enjoy the ride!  We wish you the best in all that you do, and we are here to support your healthy schools initiatives in any way needed - just reach out!

Funding Opportunities

Write a 250 word essay to get your school's name in for a $15,000 drawing to build a schoolyard garden.  Yes, that is it, a 250 word essay!  Read more here to find out all the details. Drawing will be held March 22, 2018 so please submit entry no later than March 11th.  Best of luck!!

The Foundation for Douglas County Schools is now accepting proposals for 2018 Opportunity Grants  

This spring more than $22,000 will be awarded to projects that fuel experiential learning and to schools and classrooms that most need the Foundation’s support. Click here for details including the Request for Proposals and for information about other funding opportunities including the Nancy Intagliata Legacy Award which is a private staff scholarship for elementary school employees.

Alliance for Healthier Generation: Opportunities

Kick off your 2018 healthy school efforts! 

Attend one of our free webinars below, and you will be eligible to win a $200 Target GiftCardTM  

Need one-on-one guidance? 
Schedule a call right now!

Register for What do YOU need? Grab-and-go resources for your school's health efforts webinar on January 15, 17, 24, or 25
Take Action Webinar Series: 
Attendees will be entered in a monthly drawing to receive a $200 Target GiftCardTM.Ten winners will be chosen each month!*  Login to see the multiple dates and times available. 

What do YOU need? Grab-and-go resources:   Jan 15, 17, 24, 25
Join us to learn about tools, resources, and expert guidance offered at no-cost. Can't attend, check out this on-demand video.

Wellness Committees that Work: Jan. 17, 23, 29
Learn how to start or reenergize a wellness committee that coordinates communication and decision making. Can't attend, check out this on-demand video.

Healthy School Celebrations & FundraisersJan. 18 & 22

Discover alternative celebration and fundraising ideas and develop a plan to take action. Can't attend, check out this on-demand video. 

Active Learning & Classroom Energizers Webinar: Jan. 11, 16, 23, 29
Learn how to integrate physical activity in the classroom with no-cost, turnkey resources. Can't attend, check out this on-demand video.

Healthy Schools Gets Techy!

We are on twitter!  Please follow Healthy Schools on twitter and be sure to retweet us.  We want to publicize all the great work that happens in our Healthy Schools.  We will give you an extra entry in this month's blog drawing if you follow us!   @DcsdHealthy

Is your New Year's Resolution to go on a tech diet?  If so, read these 5 steps for tech use reduction shared by Kristen Race, owner of Mindful Life (Great resource for mindfulness in the classroom, in the workplace, and parenting).

  • Step 1: Track your screen-time with the Moment app or the Realizd app.
  • Step 2: Started checking email intentionally by making it difficult to check email on your phone and by scheduling times to check email.
  • Step 3: Finally say "no" to notifications by turning off those pesky red flags for all social media apps on your phone. 
  • Step 4: Unsubscribe to the zillions of email newsletters overwhelming your inbox using
  • Step 5: Recharge with a digital sunset. Put your phone away: out of sight, out of mind.

Training Opportunities

MindUP Curriculum- Why? How? Plan! 
Session 1807-1 January 22, 2018. 4:30-6:30 at Clear Sky Elementary. 
This two hour class with provide an overview of the neuroscience that supports using mindfulness in
the classroom along with some hands-on activities, the MindUP curriculum, and planning time with 
colleagues. The overall goal of this workshop is to train teachers how to use the MindUp curriculum 
and other mindfulness resources to aid in creating optimistic classroom environments, provide social 
emotional learning skills practice for students, decreasing stress and anxiety while increasing focus, 
self awareness and self management skills.

School Celebrations    

From David Garrett at Cresthill Middle School: David attended Teaching with the Brian in Mind #1 workshop and had his class create brain neurons using pipe cleaners. A girl in the class took it one step further and created her neuron and then with the extra time created labels using the pipe cleaners. 

Healthy preschool holiday party at Soaring Hawk!

Physical Activity

Paula Bishop from Sage Canyon shared the idea of creating indoor recess bags for staff to check out on those cold or rainy days. All of the activities in the bag will encourage students to be physically active on the days they can't go outside. She shared her list of supplies (equipment request) in case anyone is interested in creating something similar. 

Have You Done the #Jump4More
Health & PE Challenge Yet?

Join the #Jump4More Challenge and have your students tell Congress why there needs to be more health and PE in schools!

For the 2017-18 school year, Congress drastically reduced funding for Title IV, Part A of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The #Jump4More Challenge will be integrated into our talks during our annual SPEAK Out! Day and showcased to members of Congress in an effort to highlight the importance of health and PE.

Take the #Jump4More Challenge

3 easy steps to take the #Jump4More Challenge:

1. Take a short two-minute video

2. Share on social media

3. Challenge your colleagues

Check out the videos of other school and teachers! Want to get involved too? Have your students jump rope or shoot hoops four times then ask them to share what they love about health/PE!

Use the SHAPE America sample video scripts to get started.

Help join the fight for more funding!

If you need some research behind movement for principals, parents, or colleagues read this article...
Research behind the effectiveness of Physical Activity!
We love this brain poster...


From the article, "Meditation has been shown in many studies to work as well as common prescription drugs for anxiety. It can even reverse the damage caused by anxiety and make your brain less anxiety-prone. In this newly updated and expanded article, you’ll learn:
  • Four key ways meditation makes your brain less prone to anxiety
  • Why mindfulness meditation is particularly good for anxiety relief
  • Why guided meditation is a foolproof way to get started
  • The best websites and free (or nearly free) apps for meditations for anxiety
  • Moving meditations to try if meditation makes you more anxious"

Wonderful resource website...

3 Ideas for bringing gratitude to your classrooms through writing (article)


You should love it because...
In addition to helping control your blood sugar and fend off diabetes, this big-around-the-holidays spice is good for improving your cholesterol, warding off Alzheimer's, and possibly alleviating symptoms of PCOS in women. (Pro tip: opt for ceylon cinnamon – the milder relative of the more common grocery store variety, cassia cinnamon – for the strongest health benefits.)

Spices for better mental focus!

Water Resources

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 10:45 AM PST
The Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) at Jeffco Public Schools partnered with Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) to create a peer-led healthy beverage campaign for K-12 students entitled, “Water: It’s In Your Nature.” The students developed this toolkit of learning activities to parallel the current regional campaign from the Healthy Beverage Partnership. 

The campaign toolkit contains four activities: Water Conducts the Brain (eight-minute educational video); Water ‘Bout Me (online hydration calculator); Ready, Set…Water! (interactive Kahoot trivia game); and You Can’t Bottle Creativity (student PSA challenge). These activities have now been integrated into the Jeffco Public Schools curriculum for all teachers. The toolkit is useful for anyone working with the K-12 population to promote water consumption. 

Download the toolkit here.

That's enough for now. Thank you for reading our blog! Please leave a comment to enter your name in our monthly blog drawing.  Have a wonderful January and keep up with all of your health and wellness initiatives!

With gratitude,
Laurie & Kimmy