Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February 2017

February 2017

Thank you for all that you do to make your school a healthy and happy learning and working environment.  
Keep up the awesome work and do not hesitate to ask for help if needed!

$$$ Opportunities

Earn  $300 for you, $300 for your class, and a salad bar for your school (which can be donated to a school that does not have one). The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee is sponsoring a video contest They are asking teachers to make a 30-second to 2-minute video about why it is important to eat fruits and vegetables, including Colorado potatoes.  They will pick one winner from elementary and one from MS/HS

 The deadline is April 1, 2017

Watch this short video explaining the contest: 2017 Colorado Potatoes Video Contest - YouTube


Another $$ opportunity...

Parents for Healthy Kids, Apply for Your Wellness Project Kit Today

Action for Healthy Kids and Colorado PTA are partnering to offer wellness project equipment kits valued at up to $1,000 to support your efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and increase academic performance. Awarded groups will also receive expertise, training opportunities and resources to help implement a successful project that engages students and families. PTA/PTSAs, PTOs and other school parent groups in selected districts are eligible to apply.

Wellness Kit Options
 Host a tasting event for up to 500 students with kitchen equipment and serving supplies provided in the Taste Test & Nutrition Promotion Kit.
► Support a cooking class, club or family event with the cooking tools and accessories provided in the Healthy Cooking Kit.
 Enhance your school’s indoor or outdoor recess options with the play equipment provided on the Active Recess Cart.
 Incorporate the Healthy Games, Celebrations & Rewards Kit into your student celebrations to provide a healthy and fun alternative to traditional classroom parties.
 Bring more movement to the school day with the games and play equipment included in the Classroom Physical Activity Kit.
The next application deadline is March 1, 2017.
Supplies are limited, so get your application in while they last. Learn more about eligibility guidelines, program requirements and how to apply.

Questions about the application and steps to apply? Contact: Erin Kobler, Wellness Project Coordinator | Action for Healthy Kids & Colorado PTA

School Successes

Thank you to those who have filled out the mid-year SHIP check-in. Please remember to fill this out before February 15th  https://goo.gl/forms/CTseiNoIOs8ekCbY2

"Our preschool students are actively naming the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex as well as their jobs!" Nancy Bass, ECE South

"I have had a lot of excited kids and the teachers have told me that they can tell a difference when kids get back to class. It has cut down on "he said she said" at the end of my time with them and gives them a chance to calm down and take a moment before entering back into the world of academia." Katie Gehring, Frontier Valley (Mindfulness)

"We're already seeing changes in the kids involved in BOKS: calmer in class, more alert, making healthier food choices. " Martha Cisneros, South Ridge

Movie Screenings in Highlands Ranch

Thursday, February 2, 2017, Mountain Vista High School  7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.) &
Thursday, February 9, 2017, Highlands Ranch High School 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
Film begins at 7:00 followed by a moderated discussion
Tickets: $5 - Watch trailer and register here:  www.screenagersmovie.com or here Screenagers


Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well.
In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.
If you are interested in hosting a screening at your school, contact Laurie LaComb at lllacomb@dcsdk12

Why Unplug?

Please take a moment to watch this powerful video by Dan Siegel.  He beautifully explains what happens to our brains when we are on our devices. Great to use for both ourselves but our students!


Moments (possibly many) are spent in autopilot and sometimes it may be unclear if we control the cell phone or does the cell phone control us. If you feel that you can relate to one or both of these feelings please read the article blow on no phone zones.  Here are the cliff notes:

1. In the bed
2. At the table
3. Reading a book
4. In the great outdoors
5. In the car
6. Classrooms?

No phone zones NY Times article link

Reducing anxiety through music 
"Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring one's health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health conditions. Now, neuroscientists out of the UK have specified which tunes give you the most bang for your musical buck. The study was conducted on participants who attempted to solve difficult puzzles as quickly as possible while connected to sensors. The puzzles induced a certain level of stress, and participants listened to different songs while researchers measured brain activity as well as physiological states that included heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing. In fact, listening to that one song -- "Weightless" -- resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants' overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates."  
By Melanie Curtin, Contributor, Inc.com  article link

Health Education

Prevention and Risk Management

Break Down the Science of Opioids in Your Middle School Classroom
Operation Prevention's new Middle School digital lesson, Our Brain and Body on Opioids, is now available for download. Operation Prevention offers a national health and science standards aligned, classroom-ready PowerPoint and educator guide for teachers to introduce their students to the science behind opioids and their impact on the mind and body with a focus on different body systems.

Our Brain and Body on Opioids lesson joins these resources from Operation Prevention:
  • High School Digital Lesson- In Opioid Misuse: The Signs. The Symptoms. The Science., students will examine misconceptions and facts about opioids through a series of investigations.
  • Parent Toolkit - Teachers can encourage conversations at home with this toolkit designed to help parents identify the signs and symptoms and have productive dialogues with their young adults about the dangers of opioid addiction.

Hidden Sugar 

Sadly, Americans have flatlined in their reducing their consumption of sugary drinks,therefore an increased effort to educate our youth and community is imperative in order to change behaviors. Tri County Health is part of the Healthy Beverage Partnership and has a fabulous campaign running called "Hidden Sugar".  Great resources are available, please share with not only students but also the parents of your school community.

Tri County Health Link
Hidden Sugar link

Physical Activity

Play Chair Bingo! 
You can purchase these cards but it would be much cheaper to make your own.  Just in case your PTA or admin have some deep pockets, here is the link

Stations: create 3 stations in different areas of the room designated by a sign depicting a different physical activity (boxing jabs, running in place, jumping on both feet, jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.). Divide students into 3 groups and assign them to a station. Have students perform the activity for 1 minute and then rotate to the next station. Change stations weekly- better- have the students brainstorm ideas.

Animal Instincts: Pick one student to call out an animal and have everyone mimc how the animal moves. 

BOKS Training February, BOKS will be offering a comprehensive Advanced training of its FundamentalMovement Curriculum at no cost. The training is tentatively scheduled for February 22nd at 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. at Denver Green Elementary School. To register click Advanced BOKS Training Invite


Healthy Valentine Treats

Healthy banana split

A healthy twist on a favorite kids’ dessert!

Greek Yogurt
Heart-shaped strawberries
Chocolate shavings (use a carrot peeler)
 extra toppings ideas: sliv­ered almonds, or gra­nola


5 minute Superfood Protein Peanut Butter Energy Bites

  • 1/2 cup natural drippy peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm syrup (honey also works)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup protein powder of choice*
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  1. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, coconut palm syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in protein powder, coconut, flaxseed meal, oats, chocolate chips and chia seeds. Mix until well combined. I usually have to use my hands to mix and work with the dough. At this point you should be able to form balls that stick together. Because all peanut butter/nut butter consistencies are different and depending on what protein powder you use, you may need to add in more nut butter or sweetener to help the balls stick together.
  2. Form into 12 balls and place in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or the freezer for a month. Enjoy                                                                        Recipe Link

Training Opportunities with RMC Health- FREE!!

Subs will be covered by DCSD Healthy Schools

Destination 101: Getting Started with School Health

Date/Time: February 8, 2017, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Location: Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Registration cost is free. REGISTER HERE by February 3, 3pm

Session Description:
To help new school health team leaders begin their work, this training dives into the details of Destination: A Roadmap & Guidebook to Implementing a Collaborative Approach to Learning and School Health at the School-level.  We’ll explore a step-by-step process, along with essential resources and tools, to help you gain buy-in and support, develop a school health team, and create a plan to improve school health policies, programs, and practices in your school to impact student health and academic achievement. 

By the end of the training, participants will be able to:
1. Describe the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.
2. Identify methods to gain administrator support for WSCC.
3. Identify school health team members and responsibilities.
4. Utilize a process for assessing and prioritizing areas for improvement.
5. Write a SMART School Health Improvement Plan.

New school health team leaders and District Health and Wellness Coordinators that assist schools in their school with school health improvement efforts. 

Lunch will be provided.
A Certificate of Completion will be provided at the conclusion of the training.  


Destination 201: Using Data to Drive Decisions and Getting Others to Notice and Support Your Efforts

Dates and Locations:
March 7, 2017, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Registration Deadline: February 28

March 10, 2017, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Zalman Center (at Harrison High School), 2755 Janitell Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. 
Registration Deadline: March 3

Registration cost is free. REGISTER HERE  

Session Description:
Aligned with the Travel Guides in Destination: A Roadmap & Guidebook to Implementing a Collaborative Approach to Learning and School Health at the School-level, this training will provide participants with knowledge, tools, and resources about how to collect and use meaningful data and how to share your success with others to create excitement about your school health efforts.

By the end of the training, participants will be able to: 
1. Identify the data that indicates the SMART objective has been achieved.
2. Identify action steps for how you will collect the data.
3. Identify 2-3 ways to use the data you have collected.
4. Identify the importance of sharing success.
5. Describe the six characteristics of an effective story.
6. Draft a story using the Success Story Template. 

Experienced school health team leaders looking to take their school health team to the next level of performance and District Health and Wellness Coordinators that assist schools in their school with school health improvement efforts. 

Lunch will be provided.
A Certificate of Completion will be provided at the conclusion of the training. 

I hope February is full of healthy days and relaxing moments.  This month's "Blog Reader Prize" will be picked on Valentine's day, so make sure you leave a comment this month!

With gratitude,
Laurie LaComb
DCSD Healthy Schools Coordinator


  1. I love the healthy Valentine Treat. What a great idea. I am going to try it.

  2. Love it! This is full of awesome ideas and resources. Thank you for taking the time to post on this blog!

  3. I have another teacher that has made the valentine treat! Love it. I also love the PA resources.

    1. Wonderful! If you have any great PA stuff, send it my way!

  4. AGE is going to make the potatoe video! Wish us luck!!

    1. No Way!! Please send it to me, I can't wait to see it!

  5. Thanks for the great reminders about excessive screen time. I am going to implement the no phone zones especially the in bed zone. After watching the video clip I am reminded of the importance of sleep and how viewing my phone just before trying to go to sleep interferes with the release of melatonin.

    1. I am so with you, I need reminders to because it is so easy to just catch up on Facebook rather than shut it all down!

  6. Thank you for the studies/resources on sugar, our SLHT just reminded our student body, and community that sodas/sugary drinks are not allowed at school for lunch or snack. Also, can't wait to try your Peanut Butter Bites recipe.

    1. Those peanut butter bites are my kid's and husband's fav!

  7. I am looking forward to trying the energy bite recipe. Love the article on No Phone Zones. Thanks for posting all of the great and helpful info.