Monday, November 14, 2016

Nov/Dec 2016

November/December 2016

This time of year demonstrates so many wonderful aspects of human nature- gratitude, giving to others, deepening friendships,  appreciating family, and kindness.  We work in professions that overflows with kindness and the holidays only brings it to a higher level.  It is during this time that we give to those we don't know, we receive from many, we pay it forward, and we enjoy listening and watching the kind acts around us.  Dr. Hamilton, using science to inspire, studies how kindness makes us happier, is good for our hearts, slows  the aging process, improves relationships, and is contagious!! When we focus on kindness our world becomes kinder, we become kinder. 

Kindness Video link
The 5 Effects of Kindness link

Healthy Schools Free School Assessment Tool

It is not too late to sign up as a Smart Source Pilot school that provides support for implementation, 1/2 day sub to review results, and a $100 stipend. We are looking for 3-4 more schools to complete this easy and free assessment tool which measures how your school is meeting the components of the Whole School, Community, Child model.   The benefits of this are many! To name two, it gives you a great pulse on what your school is doing well and what areas of school health may need more attention.

Please reach out if you would like to Laurie LaComb at to participate through DCSD. If you feel that you don't need the the support of our department, just use the link below.


It's too good not to repeat this opportunity! 

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.

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

  • Submissions open September 1
  • Submissions close January 1
  • All selected schools will be notified by January 15
  • Award ceremony will be held in February
Application link

Playground Makeover Opportunity

Together Counts has launched this year’s Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes, their biggest incentive program. Anyone can enter the sweepstakes on behalf of a school to win a $30K grant and a brand new playground.

Healthy Schools Champion Awards Application

Come on DCSD healthy schools- time to brag on your awesome work!! Each year the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) recognizes over 40 schools' efforts on making schools a healthier and happier place to learn. Not only are schools recognized for their work, there are accompanied by financial awards ranging from $350-$7,500. The Healthy Schools Champion application will open November 15 and is due January 20th. CEI will host a breakfast celebration on March 3, 2017:) Information will available on their website starting November 15th. We are here to help with the application process in any way, please let us know how we can help! 

100 Mile Club

Do you want to get your students moving outside during the winter? Here is an easy to use ultra-marathon program, motivating students, staff, and parents to move a 100 miles during the school year. Here is the opportunity to participate in an easy to manage program.

The 100 Mile Club is designed to improve the health and well being of children through daily physical activity in a non-competitive, supportive, and fully inclusive environment. There are three program options: Certificate Path (free),  Gold Medal (signature incentives for a low cost) or Hybrid (a little of both).  

Physical activity Break

Rock, Paper, Scissors... Move it in Math
Materials: math flashcards

1. Toe to Toe with Partner
2. One partner picks a math flashcard
3. Solve math problem
4. Jump number of times equal to answer
5. Last 3 jumps, play rock, paper, scissors

Idea came from Alliance for a Healthier Generation  Healthier Generation link


Kindness Counts! Let's bring kindness into our classrooms.  Here are some free and fabulous resources for you to use with your students and staff...

Think Kindness link (This is an amazing link might be blocked by DCSD firewall...try it at home!)

School Celebrations!!

This came from Jennifer Tracy at Soaring Hawk...

"This work is already changing our culture!  We had an "October Birthdays" potluck celebration and I reminded staff that October seems to be all about candy and sweets, but we've been doing such a good job with Walktober, so we should also consider healthy options.  My 4 POUNDS of grapes were the first to be finished on the food table and there were many healthy options available!

ALSO, I just left the Halloween Party that was planned solely by the Wellness Ambassadors (a group of 6th graders), and they were drawing on jack-o-lantern oranges to judge and eat for a snack and decided one mini-doughnut was okay for their doughnut hanging on a string activity.  SOOOO nice to see in comparison with the ridiculous amounts of sweets we typically see!

AND - I understand that Healthy Schools is more geared toward students, but I know that Employee Wellness is one of the 10 components.  We have had amazing participation in our water consumption challenge, Walktober and now "Planksgiving" (already 40+ staff!!!).  So proud of our school!"

If it weren't for all of our amazing healthy schools leads at each school, the message would never get out there. Thank you Jennifer and to ALL of our Healthy Schools Leads. You are wonderful and you are making the difference!!!

DCSD Healthy Schools Lending Library

Thank you to the hard work and organizational skills of Kimmy Romine, our lending library is open for business!  

Fitness for Staff

Mile High Fitness has  a plethora of fitness related classes and workshops for staff.  These are all at a cost but, in case your PTA is funding fitness for staff or a group of people at your site are interested in paying a group rate, contact Kim Farmer at  or visit her website Mile High Fitness Link

College Course Available


One of our most popular hybrid courses is back!  We love, love, love to teach this material and welcome teachers from all backgrounds for this hybrid course designed to unlock how the brain works in a friendly, engaging, fun, and useful way that you can apply directly into the classroom. 

Location: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Course Components:
  • Three Face-to-face Dates:  January 7,  January 21February 4 (half-day)
  • A 4-week Online Course:  January 7 – February 4
Credit:  1.5 Continuing education credits from the Colorado School of Mines upon completion of all course components (included as a part of your registration fee)
Cost:  $300
To register click here   
Take the course with a colleague--helps to reinforce what you've learned!

Brain research is difficult to interpret and even more challenging to make use of in your teaching. Through hands-on activities (brain dissection, anyone?), guest speakers, and the most current brain and learning resources, we’ll make it easier by creating a welcoming environment where you have the luxury of time to delve into ideas with your peers, pulling out the most pertinent research and current ideas of practice teachers should know about when it comes to understanding how the brain works and what that means for learning, memory, and retention.   

This course also includes learning about the relationship between movement and the brain, how the brain’s ability to process emotions plays such a key role in creating a productive and civil environment for learning, and how knowing about working memory can make a difference in how your students process information.

This hybrid course is designed for teachers of grades 4–12 and P.E. Teachers

Questions? Contact Robert Payo at

Healthy & Yummy Recipe



  • 1 pound whole wheat penne
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella (buffalo if you can get your hands on it!), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • coarse sea salt, to taste

  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add a liberal dose of salt, then cook penne according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil to medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds until it begins to turn pale golden. Add cherry tomatoes and continue stirring and cooking for 2 – 3 minutes, just until tomatoes start to soften.
  3. Add arugula to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, then add pasta, mozzarella, and basil pesto. Toss everything together until pasta is warmed through and everything is lightly coated in pesto. Sprinkle with pine nuts and a pinch of salt, drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil, and serve, passing more pesto at the table as needed.  Recipe link
Thank you for reading this blog today. Please know that I feel immense gratitude for what you do everyday. Not only do you work so hard with your classrooms, students and families but you go the extra mile to do what is best for your school. Enjoy this special time of year with friends and families, being mindful of all the goodness that unfolds. 

Please comment on this blog your thoughts, experiences, and successes.  This blog's "Reader's Prize" will be sent December 1st, so comment away!

With gratitude,


  1. I want to brainstorm some ideas for the DRIVE grant. I want to really good adapted PE items for my DD students. We have a lot of PE equipment, but not a lot for adapted students who do not love fitness a whole lot. I need to brainstorm a little bit.

    1. Wonderful idea for the funds! Let me know if you can use some help brainstorming- I have a few ideas.

  2. Wanted to say I really like the Mindfulness activities. The recipes look great. I did write a grant but haven't heard yet!

    1. Keeping my fingers crossed! I believe you will hear January 15th.

  3. Always enjoy the new information. Thanks Laurie

    1. You won this month's Reader's prize. Thanks!