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


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 @ lllacomb@dcsdk12.org. 

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 www.airnow.gov/flag. (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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

March 2017

March 2017

Healthy and happy students and staff perform better! We know this because we observe it, we live it, and there is a plethora of research to support it.  At this point in the school year we start to feel a bit tired, burnt, and ready for the year to end (good thing spring break is only a few weeks away!).  I want to encourage you to remind yourself of how awesome you and your work with healthy schools are, and to encourage everyone to sprint past the finish line.  This time of year is a great time to offer new ideas to teachers, apply for grants, and to reach our to your community members to help you do what you do!  Kimmy and I are here to support you any way that we can.  Have a wonderful month of March.

Grant Opportunities (5 chances!)

Chance #1

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
  1. Look at our DCSD February Grant award winners...

Roxborough Intermediate $3,500

Mesa Middle School $3,500

Chance #2  Funding Opportunity for a Fitness Center!

Colorado has been selected to kick off the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) 2017 DON’T QUIT! Fitness campaign, which will award $100,000 fitness centers to three Colorado schools that demonstrate leadership in getting and keeping their students fit. The nomination process is open now and will go through the end of May.  To learn more or to nominate your school, visit: www.natgovfit.org.

Chance #3 General Healthy Schools Initiatives

Schools need resources to implement health and wellness practices that help students eat better and be physically active. Thanks to our partners, Action for Healthy Kids has provided $6.6 million in grants to schools since 2009. Our School Grants for Healthy Kids can help your school health team achieve its goal to make every kid healthy and ready to learn. Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting grant applications for the 2017-2018 school year between February 6 - April 7, 2017. See below for details and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date and find out how schools like yours are putting their grants to work.

Chance #4 DCEF

In an effort to make the Apple Awards more accessible and inclusive to DCSD employees, DCEF is pleased to announce the Apple Awards will be offering three (3) competitive grants for any DCSD employee, school, or department to apply. 

Applicants can earn up to $5,000 if selected.
Grant monies will be awarded in the following categories:
  • Classroom Support Grant
  • School/Department Innovation Grant
  • Professional Development Grant
Applications for Apple Award Opportunities Grants are available by clicking here. Submissions must be received by March 31, 2017 

Chance #5  $$ for Students

Announcing the 23rd Annual Poetry Contest

Grab your pens and get ready to have some fun! Prizes will be awarded by grade/age divisions. 1st place: $60; 2nd Place $40; 3rd Place $20. Longmont Dairy Website
Write about:
“A Day in the Life of a Cow.”  Think of all the fun, crazy, imaginative things a cow could do in 24 hours.Email your poem to: CustomerService@LongmontDairy.com before midnight, March 12, 2017.

School Success Stories

Roxborough incorporates wellness and engineering! 

In engineering class, all students grades 3-6 learned what "wellness" means. With help from the districts Universal Prevention team, we defined wellness as physical, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing. Students took a survey to determine which area they struggle with most, then designed and built prototypes to solve wellness problems in each of the 3 categories.

We found that almost half of our students say they struggle with intellectual wellness(the ability to learn something new or focus on task completion). Students prototyped fidget pencils, processes to find friends to sit with at lunch, ideas for wellness apps, new brain breaks, and a mindfulness area in the engineering room to name a few. It was a powerful experience for all of us and a great teaching tool to inform students about wellness. 
They also received GROOVE funding and will be creating an outdoor/indoor tinker lab with the funds.

Cherry Valley has a healthy Valentine's Day celebration with these tasty beauties...

3 DCSD Schools win the title of Healthiest School in Colorado Champions! Way to go Bear Canyon, Cherry Valley & Fox Creek.  Here's the article and photos will be posted next blog. 

Can Virtual Reality “Teach” Empathy?

"But emerging evidence suggests that one of VR’s biggest strengths is its ability to tap student emotions, notably empathy and the can-do confidence known as self-efficacy." Article


Don't forget the necessity of recess....  http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/issues/issues180.shtml

New Books in our Healthy Schools Library 

Healthy Schools Library

Self Compassion for Teens, by Lee-Anne Gray 

Breathe, Chill, by Litsa Roberts

The Judgmental Flower, by Julia Flower

Mindfulness for Teachers, by Patricia A. Jennings

Mindful Moments (cards), by Lynea & Jim Gillen

Looking for before and after school PA at your school?

Do you remember feeling like you could do anything!? When you climbed a tree for fun, ran down a hill as fast as you could, or picked up your best friend just to show your strength? We do. And we want our kids to feel that way too.

KidsFit Colorado enhances kids’ physical literacy and watches them become competent, confident, and motivated. We optimize kids’ physical education so they can tap into their athleticism like it’s some kind of superpower.

When a child is taught HOW to move, they WILL choose to play-(rather than grab the iPad or video game). When we give kids the knowledge of how to find success in a physical endeavor, kids step out of the gym knowing they can do whatever they set out to do. This mentality leads to perseverance and confidence, it carries on with kids throughout their lives. When we teach them fundamental physical movement it will lead to a lifetime of health and happiness.

Specialized Kids’ Fitness 

Contact Nancy Weissert at nancyweissert@gmail.com for more information

De-stress Before the Test

1. Do some breathing exercises with your students.  link for adults and older kidslink for younger students

2. Exercise!

3. Help students prepare for the test- either content or testing skills

4.  Bring some bubble wrap to pop or other finger fidgets (use before test of course)

5. Open up some mind space through guided thinking exercises.  

Drink your Water!

In case you haven't been as good about drinking water, read this article and learn about 34 ways it will make your life a little bit better.   It's also great to remind your students

Healthy Recipe

Simple peanut butter banana overnight oats made with just 7 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time.
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Serves: 1 - 2
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Half a banana, peeled and sliced
  1. In a mason jar, plastic container or bowl, layer oats, milk, ground flaxseed or chia seeds, Greek yogurt, honey, peanut butter and banana. Stir to combine and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning, eat it cold or heat it in the microwave for a warm oatmeal.
Serving size: 1 (of 2) Calories: 250 Fat: 9.2g Carbohydrates: 35.9g Sugar: 17.6gSodium: 46.3mg Fiber: 4.1g Protein: 10.3g Cholesterol: 7.8mg

Thank you for reading this month's blog! Leave a comment and get your name put in our "Blog Reader of the Month" raffle. 

With peace and gratitude,