Welcome PSD Health Champions to 2015-2016

Welcome back, everyone! I imagine that you’re building the culture of your classrooms and working out some of the last minute, unanticipated changes that have taken place in your school.  I am so excited to continue working with all of you this year and hope that this blog post assists you in planning and supporting your school community to achieve their wellness goals.  Please record the following dates, resources, and district-wide Wellness Initiative activities for 2015-2016.  The first meeting date requires that you invite me to your wellness team to conduct the fall assessment.

Also, please sign up for this blog and you will receive additional information on grants, partnerships, and professional development training that arise during the year.

I’m  available to talk with you, connect on Twitter, or help with your school-based wellness activities inside the classroom or for the whole school.  Thank you for signing on to be the PSD Health Champion for 2015-2016.  It will be a GREAT year.


Are you BRAND new to Comprehensive School Health?  Please enjoy a crash course on the change philosophy by visiting:

Alberta Health Services

Videos on CSH from the Wellness Fund

Health Champions Professional Development Dates:
Please plan immediately for a September/October planning and assessment meeting--Welcome everyone to the wellness team; Conduct the JCSH Foundational Module with your school-based team and begin a school wellness action plan for 2015-2016.

-Please invite a few instrumental people from your school community to form your 2015-2016 wellness team.  This team should be willing to meet regularly during or after school as per the direction of your principal(s) to review your action plan and reflect on your progress and impact.

For the very first meeting (September or October), we will need about 60-90 minutes of time with this group.  I would love to join you for this first meeting, so please invite me via Google Calendar to join this initial discussion and assessment.  I am happy to support or lead the first meeting if you are new to this role.

Your wellness team should consist of health champion(s), administration, parent(s), student(s), community partner(s), public health nurse or health promotion coordinator.

January 28-30, 2016 

Shaping the Future Conference: This is an optional, but highly recommended professional development opportunity for all health champions and wellness teams.  Please consider making a presentation to showcase some of the exciting wellness activities and programs you’re involved with at your school.  There is currently no funding to support registration, but I will keep you posted if this changes.

All Health Champions PD

February 9, 2016

April 5, 2016

June 7, 2016 

Centre for Education Stony Plain



Student Wellness Action Team Training Date: 

November 24, 2015

Healthy Active School Symposium (HASS)

Do you want to train or work with your own School Wellness Action Team (SWAT)?  This FREE full-day training is the perfect opportunity to allow students to co-design your school’s Wellness Action Plan and take a leading role in delivering on many of the objectives for this year.  Your substitute and travel cost are covered by Ever Active Schools.  The event is held at the Centre for Education and you must pack a lunch for this action-packed day of healthy eating, active living, and positive mental health planning and presentations.  Do you have something that you want to share from your school?  Contact me today and we’ll begin planning your school’s presentation at this event.

Save on Foods Rainbow Connection Produce Program 

February 9-April 19


Cost per school–$500 for enrollment of 200 or less students and $1000 for 201-500 students

Fruit is delivered once per week by Parkland School Division’s district delivery service–Peter Evans

Headstrong Summit: Positive Mental Health for Grade 9 PSD Students: Contact William Sykes at Greystone for more information on this year’s student-led and student-run anti-stigma event.

April 25-29

PLAY Parkland Activities and Professional Development 2015-2016

PLAY Parkland Logo - Large (3)

October 9th, 2014

Calling all French Teachers–

La Fédération du sport francophone de l’Alberta is hosting a 3 hour physical literacy workshop in French on October 9th. Cost: $ 65. Contact the FSFA for more information info@lafsfa.ca.

October 14th, 2015

Purposeful Play for Grades K-1 and Early Childhood Educators

Play in the early years provides the foundation for healthy, active living. In fact, early gross motor ability is associated with cognitive, social and emotional development. Purposefully choosing activities and creating opportunities that encourage play and develop physical literacy establishes the basis for life-long participation.

This interACTIVE session will focus on teaching fundamental movement skills and creating an environment that supports confidence and fun. You will also leave with the knowledge of resources and tools to add more play into your programs.


December 8-10 PLAY Parkland and PLAY GREAT:

Community Building and Physical Literacy–Phase II with Dr. Dean Kriellaars, TransAlta Tri-Leisure Centre, Ever Active Schools, Tracy Lockwood, and Be Fit for Life Provincial Fitness Unit

***This professional development will be made available using our PSD PD Sessions on the Chalkboard

January 28-30-Shaping the Future Conference

March 11th, 2016-PSD Winter Try-Athlon at YWCA YoWoChAs (Skating, Skiing, Archery)  Teams or Individuals invited to join the first annual event!  Please email me if you’re willing to sit on the monthly planning committee.

May 12, 2016-Health and Physical Education Council Conference

June 10, 2016-2nd Annual PSD Try-Me Try-athlon at the Stony Plain Outdoor Pool (Ages 6 and Up)  Teams or Individuals invited to join the first annual event!  Please email me if you’re willing to sit on the monthly planning committee.


52105210 Posters and Information –I will also print these at district office and send you them upon request!

Physical Literacy

Nutrition and Gardening 

Mental Capital and Health Resources 

Healthy Minds, Healthy Children Resources and Free Online PD Sessions

HEALTHY FUNDRAISERS and Fundraiser Resources

Apple Schools Monthly Health Campaigns with healthy student announcements

STF 2014-Student Leadership and Health

This year, Parkland School Division sent over 20 PSD staff to the Shaping the Future Conference in Kananaskis, Alberta, to learn more about how we can collectively create healthy school communities.  Some of the highlights were captured by health champions from Woodhaven, Graminia, and Forest Green Schools.  In addition, here’s a link to many of the other presentations in case you weren’t able to join us.

Some presenters, including Leanne Schram-White of Duffield and Ashley Fox from Be Fit for Life, stressed the importance of engaging your students in this work.  Cardston Elementary Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Schrow, encourages her students to think about how and why health is important to various aspects of their lives.

Fundamental Movement Skills and Activities – Parents and Teachers

Active for Life is the place where parents go to learn about activities for kids. Physical education leads to physical literacy, which is critical for child development. Physical literacy also gives active kids the best chance to someday compete in high-performance sport. Kids activities are organized here by age and gender, so parents can find fun and engaging ways of making sure their children get the recommended daily amount of physical activity. Activities for toddlers are aimed at the development of fundamental movement skills, while activities for children build on the fundamentals to establish more complex sport skills that can be used to play any number of sports and activities. Exercises for kids enhance their physical development. In the early stages of child growth, early childhood development is dependent on appropriate exercises for children. Because kids play is good for kids health.

Check out these activities!

AHS Health Talk Newsletter for Parents and Teachers

Research tells us that the connection between being healthy and learning outcomes is very strong.
The Health TALK newsletter is brought to you by the professional health care staff from Alberta Health Services Edmonton zone to provide both parents and teachers with current health information and resources to support student’s learning.
If you would like more information on how to get in contact with your school’s area health practitioners, please contact Matthew Mitschke, our Parkland area Health Promotion Coordinator at 780-735-3338.


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.

NPR Special Series for Families–On the Run…

National Public Radio has created a special series devoted to the health and wellness of families called, “On the Run: How Families Struggle to Eat Well and Exercise.” 

Included in this series are a number of stories that outline the struggles today’s families face when trying to balance and juggle parenting, jobs, and healthy choices.  Please check them out and then feel free to share any of the following stories with families or to have a conversation with your wellness team, classrooms, or school council.

Family Dinner: Treasured Tradition or Bygone Ideal

In Many Families, Exercise Is By Appointment Only

Rose-Colored Glasses and the Obesity Epidemic

Selling Your Kids on Veggies

How Did Our Brains Evolve to Equate Food with Love?

Sacrificing Sleep and Teens

Do You Really Know What Your Kids Are Eating?

Gauging Childhood Obesity: A Unique Poll

“”Once we do everything, there is absolutely no time to go outside and take a walk or get any exercise. It’s simply come in, eat, sit down, do homework, go to bed.”

– Paige Pavlik, Parent

Addictions and Mental Health Resources

Today’s Divisional Health Champion meeting covered the diverse ways that we can include positive mental health into the culture and climate of our school environments. Thank you to Alberta Health Services’ Leslie Webb, Matthew Mitschke, and Judy Newman for sharing some of great Alberta Health Services resources that are available to teachers and schools.

Click here for additional resources and teaching and learning supports.


Get READY! March is Nutrition Month…

March is Nutrition Month. To support nutrition activities in your schools, the 2013 Nutrition Month Manual from Alberta Health Services has now arrived! This year’s theme: “Choosing & Preparing Food for a Healthier You!”. Feel free to circulate to your contacts. Inside, you will find:
1. Suggested Handouts and Websites
2. School Newsletter
3. K-9 Lesson Plans (Health & Life Skills Curriculum Outcomes identified)
4. Nutrition Month PA Announcements.

Don’t forget to check out the AHS School Nutrition Website: www.albertahealthservices.ca/2925.asp.


Contact Matthew Mitschke at matthew.mitschke@albertahealthservices.ca with additional questions.