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
Kimmy Romine

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 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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April/May 2017

April/May 2017 

We had another successful Healthy Schools year and it is all because of you!  Thank you to everyone who dedicated part of their professional life towards bringing health and wellness to school communities throughout DCSD, you are amazing!  As the year closes out everyone is given the gift of time- time off from work! This is a fabulous time to mindfully dedicate thought and energy into creating balance that can be brought into the 2017/18 school year. As you plan projects, go on vacations, contemplate preparations for the following year, make the time to plan how to find life/work balance.  Please join us on May 8th, from 4:30-5:30, and enjoy our end of the year Healthy Schools Celebration at the Castle Pines Library where we will provide a tool that will help establish balance between work and life. RSVP link 

Free Training Next Friday 4/28

We will cover your sub cost!  Register today or by 4/24!

Are you an elementary school staff member looking to bring nutrition education to life in your school? This interactive training will provide participants with the opportunity to dig into the nutrition-related concepts and skills of the Colorado Health Education Standards and learn ways to integrate and reinforce nutrition education across the school environment. Participants will be able to leave this training with ideas and resources to implement nutrition education in their classroom and greater school environment. 
* April 28th, 9:00 - 3:00pm
* 2755 Janitell Rd, Co Springs
* Please reach out to Laurie LaComb to arrange a substitute

Important Dates!

May 8th, 4:30-5:30                    EOY 2016/17 Celebration
June 6th-9th                                *Explore, Learn Collaborate (ELC) 
September 14, 8:00-3:00          Fall 2017 Healthy Schools Workshop
June 2018                                      Healthy Schools Leader Retreat 

* Professional Development is offering PGI credit to staff members who use time at ELC to make plans for the 2017/18 school year, including SHIP development. Kimmy will be available on June 6th and 7th all day to help with SHIPS as well as provide guidance with MindUp, Nutrition, PA, and more! She will also be teaching Mindfulness 101 and Teaching with the Brain in Mind on Friday the 9th.  You must register for the event to get PGI credit. ELC Link

Funding Opportunities

 Funding Opportunity This Spring!
The new Playbook is coming in April with all new and fundable Plays for schools to implement! Up to $4,000 is available! For more information on this funding opportunity and to get ready to apply, click here.  Complete and submit the online application by Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Live Well has a plethora of funding opportunities that you may want to look into. If you need any help with the process, please reach out to Laurie @ 

Here are a few: 
*Whole Kids Foundation’s “Kids Love Veggies” video contest
*$1000 Saucony Run for Good Foundation
*up to $10,000 KidsGardening Youth Garden Grants

Free Stuff!

Free Back-to-School poster!
Schools with educators logging in now through June 1, 2017 will be eligible to receive a Back to School Poster this fall.  Doesn't your school need a cool new poster?  Just log into Fuel Up to Play! Log in Now!

Join the Air Quality Program from now until May and get a set of free flags!!  For more information on the program, go to (More info below in sustainability).

We're giving it away! Free classroom or recess equipment pack just for submitting your lesson ideas to Active Academics® Beginning April 10 through May 5, 2017 - any lesson idea that is submitted will be entered into a drawing for an awesome equipment pack from S&S Worldwide. Submitting your lesson idea is easy! Simply register for a FREE Active Academics® membership (or login if you're already a member) and click on the Lesson Idea Submission Link!    Active Academics Link

School Celebrations

Thank you Sue Ferguson for all your years' work with the Healthy Schools Department!  Recently Sue was honored by the American Heart Association for her consistent dedication to Jump Rope for Heart.  Congrats, Sue!  You will be missed as you enter the world of retirement!

2017 Colorado Healthy Schools Champs- 
Congrats Bear Canyon, Fox Creek & Cherry Valley!

Physical Activity Ideas

Active Academics® is a resource built "by teachers and for teachers". Our activity idea database provides lesson ideas for all school settings, grades PreK - 8. We are continually looking for new ideas to share with our 4000+ users. If you have a great idea and would like to see it published, click the chalkboard above to submit it!  Active Academics link  Here is a great game from this website:

Tunnel Tag

Suggested Grade Level(s): 2, 3, 4

Content Area(s): Recess / Lunch Activity

Purpose of Activity (objectives, etc.):
The purpose of this activity is to get all kids involved and more importantly up and moving.

Materials/Equipment (Needed): Large open area with a wall or fence

This variation of tag is played in an area with a wall or fence along one side. Those who are caught must stand with one arm outstretched, touching the wall. Someone who has not yet been caught can release them by running under the 'tunnel' formed by the outstretched arms. The game ends when everyone has been caught.
Source:  Active Academics®

Here are some great mindfulness books shared by Brittany Kinder (thank you Brittany from SVE!)
What Does It Mean to be Present? by Rana Diorio
Peaceful Piggy Yoga by Kerry Lee MacLean
Quiet Place by Douglas Wood

Take 10 Minutes of Mindfulness - Video


EPA Region 8 is encouraging schools and organizations to join the Air Quality Flag Program this May in recognition of Asthma Awareness Month.  They have purchased sets of flags to give to partners who join between now and the end of May.  Let us know when you sign up and we will work to get your flags to you.

For more information on the program, go to AirNow

Healthy Recipes
Thank you to Fox Creek superstars Brian Gill and Cindy Townsend for sharing the salad jar with us!  Here is the video to get you started.

Featured Recipe
Detox Watercress Citrus Avocado Salad with Turmeric Dressing

Watercress Salad with orange, avocado and turmeric lime dressing - a vibrant, peppery salad that is both energizing and gently cleansing utilizing fresh turmeric in the dressing.

Author: Sylvia Fountain - Feasting at Home Blog
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2
  • 1 orange - zested, peeled and sliced ( or sub mandarins, blood oranges or tangelos)
  • 2 ounces baby watercress
  • 1 ripe avocado - peeled and cut into wedges
  • a few very thin slices of red onion- optional
  • Dressing: (YUMMY!)
  • 2 tablesooons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons meyer lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated turmeric root ( or sub ½ teaspoon ground turmeric)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Cracked pepper to taste

With Gratitude

We hope to see many of you at our celebration on May 8th.  If not, have a fabulous summer break- take care of yourself in the best way possible.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you have done this year - your impact is huge! 

With gratitude,
Laurie LaComb and Kimmy Romine

Please leave your comments and get your name in for the final raffle of the 2016/17 school year.