Get Ready Spokane…Here Comes Meridian Heights!


This is the eighth year that Ecole Meridian Heights students have trained for the 12km Bloomsday road race in Spokane, Washington. Teacher and coach, Chris Hallowes said, “Annually, the physical training begins the first week back after Christmas break and distances begin at two kilometers.”


There are 43 junior high students involved this year.  They are each running once a week during their options time and then selecting one of the two runs offered after school.


Coach Hallowes continues, “It is always a pleasure working with such keen kids. In fact, over the spring break holiday 36 of the 43 runners are meeting on Tuesday to run an 8km so that their training doesn’t lapse.”


The Bloomsday road race is a unique program within the school because it allows a diverse group of athletes to experience success and promotes the attainment of one’s goals at a personal level. Bloomsday training has become a tradition within the Meridian Heights school community with many siblings wanting to be a part of something that they’ve watched their older brothers and sisters do. The team departs for the Washington, USA on May 3rd and Parkland School Division wishes Mr. Hallowes and the entire team luck in reaching their individual goals!

Enjoy the Moment: Keephills School

(Taken from PSD’s 184 Days of Learning)

As part of our healthy schools initiative and our commitment to embrace the environment which we attend school in, the Keephills grade 4-6 Learning Group ventured out into the deep, snowy expanse of wilderness donning our recently acquired snowshoes.

When the note for permission to leave school grounds for this expedition went home, there were mixed reactions amongst the students. With short notice, as we know how the conditions can change at any moment, it did not take long for everyone to return to school with their permission slips signed and warmest winter gear in hand.

The students were not the only ones pumped and ready to take on this challenging trek. When it came time to look for supervisors, there was plenty of interest. So off they went, all of the grades 4-6 students, one teacher, one parent, one custodian, one community librarian and one volunteer who led the expedition.

I am not sure in kilometres how far they actually went, but according to one of the boys it was 9000+ steps, through the bush, down a very steep hill, around a field beside the North Saskatchewan River, and a race back up the formidable snowy hill, back through pine and spruce to the Keephills hamlet – exhausted and just in time for lunch.

After hearing the students enthusiastic response to this event and great feedback from the adults, the staff put off a couple hours of meeting time and ventured out on our PD morning to the hilly creek banks for our own adventure.

As busy as we all are in the field of education, sometimes we just have to take advantage of the moment and go with what the conditions suggest. You will be rewarded for it in the end. I know that we were!

I am the principal and Kindergarten teacher at Keephills School. I have been with Parkland School Division for 14 years. My commitment is to life-long learning and promoting the value of a healthy lifestyle to all.

Get Ready: April 8-12 Sneak It In Week


Wear sneakers to work from April 8-12 and you’ll see how easy it can be to fit in more activity. Walk to lunch. Park a few blocks away. Hit the pavement on your coffee break. As long as your heart beats faster for 10 minutes, it really counts! So get active and sneak it in. You’ll be rewarded with a longer, happier, more fulfilling life.
Why 10 Minutes?
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults need 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per week, but this does not have to be done all at once. Research shows that even tiny bouts of physical activity—, as little as 10 minutes at a time, —are associated with increased fitness. A short activity break can actually count towards the recommended level of physical activity per week adults require for health benefits.
Easy Ways to Sneak It In
Some simple ways to add 10 minutes of physical activity into your work day:
• Start a lunchtime walking club
• Book a meeting room for a short yoga session
• Have a walking meeting with colleagues
• Park ten minutes away from the office
• Hop off public transit a few stops sooner
• Go “”power shopping”” and get active while running errands
How to get Involved!
Participating in Sneak It In Week is easy! We’ll make it even easier for you, by offering free downloadable materials for you to use to help encourage your colleagues and peers to get involved in this playful initiative!
Check back here soon for more tips and information on how to Sneak It In, links to our Twitter Feed, featuring #sneakitin, our Facebook page, blog content, our press release, photos and more.
Go ahead, add Sneak It In Week to your calendar and make a promise to yourself that you’ll sneak it in that week. You’ll see why sneaking it in is a fun and easy way of incorporating a little more physical activity into your workdays.

Brain Breaks at Greystone Middle School

Taken from Principal Carolyn Cameron’s Blog Site…

GCMS Brain Rules Book Club Underway

“A group of keen GCMS teachers who are reading how the latest brain research can be translated into better learning in our classrooms met for the first time to discuss chapter one of John Medina’s book: Brain Rules and discussed how exercise can impact our effectiveness.”

Check out kids at Greystone in Health Champion Brad Arndt’s classroom enjoying what their teachers are learning from their own studies.

Wednesday Dance Days at Parkland Village

On Wednesdays, at Parkland Village School, Health Champion Jackie Fitzgerald begins the morning dancing with the entire school as part of her wellness team’s 2012 action plan to increase physical activity.  Jackie said that as much as the students like and look forward to Wednesdays, she’s been surprised by how many teachers have shared that they feel better starting out their days with this event as well.


Creativity, Wheelchairs and Basketball Level the Playing Field

In addition to Crab Soccer, Parachute Volleyball, Obstacle Course Stations and Cooperative Soccer, Health Champion Cameron Leavens created a unique partnership with Northern Alberta Hi-Lights to help promote health, strength, and empathy among his students in Grades 4-9 at Muir Lake School through Wheelchair Basketball.

Submitted by Cam Leavens…

I started using Wheelchair Basketball as an activity last year at Muir Lake because we have a young girl who is in a wheelchair.  She plays wheelchair basketball with a program called Northern Alberta Hi-Lights.  I contacted the group and they let us rent 10 wheelchairs for a week, so I used them with the grade 4 through 9 PE classes and ran a week-long intramural program with them as well.  All the kids absolutely LOVED it, especially the young girl’s class.  This student finally got to be the star in a PE class; she was able to participate in an activity that was not “modified” for her!

       I believe all the students love this game because it puts every athlete on a level playing field…it doesn’t matter if the kid is 6 feet tall or 4 feet tall, if a kid is fast or slow, they are all the same in the wheelchairs.  It also gives everyone an appreciation for their own physical abilities and how challenging things can be when you cannot use your legs.

        By far, the two most anticipated things I do in Physical Education at Muir Lake is an Archery Unit and the Wheelchair Basketball Unit.  Both activities are not only fun and different, but they both give students self-confidence in their physical abilities.  The naturally “athletic” students challenge themselves in both activities as they have to use their balance, coordination and strength for activities their bodies are not familiar with.  In other words, the competitive kids still get to be competitive and strive to master new activities that are different.

    The students who consider themselves “non-athletic” or just see “activity” as playing traditional hockey, soccer, basketball games, etc.  get to see themselves as “athletes”.   In both Archery and Wheelchair basketball, they really focus on what they “can do” rather than “I can’t” run fast, dribble, serve, etc. because they see other kids excel at those things since many of them already do those outside of school or have played it for years.  Believe me, I have had more kids come up to me and say, “Mr. Laevens, I’m actually pretty good at Wheelchair Basketball or Archery”  than any other activity I have ever done in 15 years of teaching PE.

Please click on the links above to watch videos of Mr. Leavens leveling the playing field for all students through his creative instruction planning.

Brain Food at Spruce Grove Composite High School

Submitted by Health Champions Linda Boschman and Mary Stewart 
It’s Exam Time…

How do teachers at Spruce Grove Composite High help our Social and English 30 students obtain a head start on writing a great diploma exam at SGCHS?  

Each student is provided with an exam preparation workshop, stress reduction strategies, and helpful nutrition tips.  On exam day, students are given a granola bar and a juice box to stimulate brain activity and nurture great results.  This is just one of the many ways that our teachers support learning through health strategies.  

Forest Green Playing Games and Eating Greens!

Forest Green School ran a mixed relay team in the Edmonton Journal Games on    February 20th at the Butterdome on the University of Alberta campus. The team was able to qualify first in their heat that night and we are very proud of their efforts not only at the race, but in each early morning practice as well!

In addition, Forest Green School is working with a local non-profit group called The Healing Seed  in order to assist students in making healthier choices at snack and lunch times. Each classroom has been provided with a bowl in which fruit is placed on Monday morning. Throughout the week, children choose items from the bowl to supplement their meals. According to health champion, Dana Irvine, so far, the program has been a resounding success! He looks forward to future collaboration with The Healing Seed and thanks them for helping Forest Green reach their health and wellness action plan goals. 


Woodhaven Middle School Wins a Nutrition Innovation Award

Early on this fall, Health Champion Ali Jacobs shared the great nutrition planning and programs at Woodhaven Middle School with the Nutrition Innovation Awards panel.  The application celebrates the many changes that have taken place within the culture of Woodhaven over the past few years to build capacity with students, families, and community partners in the area of nutrition.

Some of these changes include:

  • A Student Wellness Action Team that helps support projects and activities related to health and wellness throughout the year
  • Reversed lunches where recess is taken before students eat or snack
  • School Nutrition Policies and Planning that follows the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth
  • Wellness posters in each classroom that are changed weekly/monthly to meet a nutritional or physical activity goal
  • School agreement with school council and teachers that candy and food-based rewards incentives will not be used but replaced with opportunities to work towards extra free time or other prizes.
  • Teachers committed to modeling healthy eating choices at Woodhaven
The Resiliency Project would like to congratulate the entire Woodhaven School Community and its health champions Ali Jacobs, Robert Coulas, and James Coghill
for their awesome growth in this area of nutrition.
To learn more about this award, please visit: