PSD Prepares to Host The Headstrong Summit

Between April 28-May 1, Parkland School Division will host The MHCC Headstrong Summit with around 400 PSD students from across the district to increase student understanding of mental health and wellness.  Sponsored in part by the RBC Foundation, ATA Local 10, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, this summit will introduce students to people who have experienced and recovered from mental illness in order to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and addictions.  Our students will have the opportunity to connect with multiple community partners who can support students and families at all stages of their health journey.  We are grateful to the planning committee and Ottawa delegation of student leaders who have prepared our division for this exciting learning opportunity.

MHCC    Thank you to Alberta Parenting for the Future, Alberta Health Services Health Promotion Coordinator, Coordinated Suicide Prevention Program, Freson Bros., Parkland School Division Learning Services Team, Spruce Grove Save On Foods and the Stony Plain Youth Centre.


Follow #MHCCHeadstrong to learn more.

Welcome Back 2014-2015 Health Champions

Why develop the resiliency of youth as a school division? Why lead this work within our communities?

Because…healthier students are better learners and are more likely to experience lifelong success.

Parkland School Division’s Ultimate Goal is to foster student success and well-being.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year. The PSD Youth Resiliency Initiative works in partnership with Alberta Education, Alberta Health, and PSD Learning Services to empower each unique school community to address the complex health issues that face individual learners through the use of a Comprehensive School Health approach (recognized by the World Health Organization).

Through PSD’s partnership with the Alberta Health School’s Wellness Fund, we’ll be increasing the capacity of individual schools to deliver programming and activities that foster success in learning and success in life.

All PSD school communities will be supported by division and provincial supports this year. All PSD school communities will be asked to participate in the implementation of a wellness action plan that focuses on one or more of the three priority areas of comprehensive school health: physical activity/literacy, nutrition, and positive mental health.

Comprehensive School Health is not additional work; it is a way of looking at existing practices using a shared definition of wellness. This approach is only effective in schools where vigilant, dedicated staff model, advise, and support and guide the work of their wellness team. We’re looking forward to an awesome year and regular communication with you.

Here is a calendar of events for this year’s Youth Resiliency Initiative to consider with your site-based administrative team:

ALL Schools Health Champion Dates; 8-12PM @ CFE
September 24
November 18
March 10
May 26

Additional (Release Time Paid) Division-Planning Health Champion Dates;8-3PM @ CFE for Self-Selected Health Champions
September 26
November 21
March 13
May 29

Sign your school up for the Ever Active Healthy Active School Symposium for Student Leaders @ CFE 9-3PM
October 7

Conference: Shaping the Future 2015 @ Delta Lodge Kananaskis
January 22-24

HPEC and PHE Canada National Conference @ Banff
April 30-May 2

Brookwood School Prepares to Reduce Screen Time



Check out the great work that Brookwood School is doing to encourage students, staff, and families to consider reducing their screen time this month.  From the desk of Health Champion Diane LeFebvre…

Turn Off the Tube – Get on the Move!!!! 


Good morning, our next school wide Health and Wellness Theme is Turn Off the Tube – get on the Move. This is a theme focused on helping student and their families reduce the amount of screen time they have each day and get students on the move.

The “Turn Off the Tube” Wellness theme will roll out as follows:

  • Daily announcements for the next month related to the theme
  • A newsletter will be sent home to parents with some ideas on how to reduce screen time.
  • The Health and Wellness Bulletin Board in the front foyer has some ideas for families on alternative activities to screen time to get students on the move
  • As a Wellness Team we are declaring during this next month that Tuesdays become Low Tech Tuesdays whereby non-instructional time be low tech. What we would ask is that on Tuesdays there be no movies during eating time for the students, as well, that DPA time be active time outside or inside without the use of technology such as go-noodle, etc… just for Low Tech Tuesdays.
  • Our student challenge for the month is that for each Tuesday of the theme those students pledge for Tuesdays that they are going to do something active and that they will log those minutes. Pledge sheets for Tuesdays will be coming to you.
  • The pledge sheets will go home on Mondays in the student agendas and will read:



INSTEAD OF                                               I PLEDGE TO TURN OFF THE TUBE AND TO GET ON THE MOVE FOR ­­­                    MINUTES.  BEFORE I GO TO BED TONITE!  I WILL                                                                            for                                            MINUTES. 


                                      COMPLETED                MINUTES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.




Parents will return the pledge form signed with the number of minutes of physical activity. Student can include their soccer or baseball practices, etc….

  • We are going to challenge our students to reach 80 000 minutes of physical activity over the month of this theme. This total is based on each student doing 30 minutes of activity. We know some will do more and some less, so we think this total is achievable.
  • We are going to ask you to total your students’ number of minutes from their weekly pledges and email them to Jennifer Forsyth who will total the minutes for the school. We will have a school thermometer to show the running total.
  • A classroom thermometer has been prepared for each class so you can keep track of your class minutes. You may want to set a classroom goal. If you like.
  • If the students reach their total of 80 000 minutes, they will earn an extra 15 min recess.
  • Our staff challenge is that each Tuesday, staff log their minutes of physical activity as well. The total we are challenging staff to beat is 6000 minutes of physical activity. This is based on 30 minutes of activity as well. We know some staff will do more and some less, so we feel this is achievable. We will show staff total on a whole staff thermometer as well.
  • Our first Low Tech Tuesday will be April 29th. We will get pledge sheets to you for your students’ agendas this week in preparation for next Tuesday.

Sounds like a great month, Brookwood!  Way to go.


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.

Healthy Start to the Day at Entwistle School

Entwistle Healthy Breakfast

Thanks to the creative support of the Entwistle parent community including school council and fund raising bodies, students and their families are able to enjoy a healthy breakfast monthly in the school gym. This event is complemented by in-school activities that promote the importance of eating a healthy breakfast.

Entwistle School Healthy Breakfast

Entwistle Student Leaders Created Posters to Demonstrate the Importance of Eating Breakfast.

Health Champions Tara-Mae Burvill and June St. Goddard explain that this program is truly a partnership between the stakeholders of the community. A special thank you goes out to Entwistle parent, lead chef and business owner, Suzanne Weir, for her unique contribution to this healthy school activity.   January 2014 025

Forest Green’s Garden Club Serves Up Smoothies

From the desk of Forest Green Health Champion Lesley Cameron…

Forest Green Grow Tower Forest Green Smoothies Green Smoothy

We are very fortunate to have two garden towers in our school.  We are growing all kinds of delicious green vegetables and herbs, including broccoli, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, basil, peppers, and tomatoes.  Our Garden Club meets weekly to take care of the towers, including checking pH levels, adding water, and trimming the roots.  Students at Forest Green were very fortunate to sample a green smoothie with harvested vegetables from the garden towers, along with some delicious fruits!  It was great for students to learn about smoothies and how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily life.  Big thanks to Miss Aronyk, Mrs. Sarauer, and our amazing Garden Club leaders for their leadership in this initiative!  The green smoothies were DELICIOUS!

Hats off to the Forest Green Garden Club Smoothy-Making Team!

Brookwood Justice League Encourages Social Change

Thanks to the leadership of teacher Donna Ainsle-O’Conner and others at Brookwood School, students are learning early on what it means to be a global citizen.  The Justice League is a group that is open to all students at Brookwood School and currently has over 90 members in Grades 1-4.  Mrs. Ainsle-O’Conner states in this video that the club has been set up to give students hands-on learning experiences that show them how they can change the world.


From the local food bank to Free the Children’s We Are Silent fundraisers, students are being given the opportunity to learn about issues of injustice taking place around the world. Vice Principal Diane LeFebvre stated that this group is impacting the entire school community through its activities and teaching children about empathy, compassion, and civic engagement. Through this club, Brookwood School is truly a place “where the world opens up” as Parkland School Division proudly states.

Mindful Mondays at Stony Plain Central School

Last week I had the opportunity to begin my Monday morning with the students of Stony Plain Central School.  Students in Grades K-6 were brought into the gym to begin their morning with teacher and yoga instructor, Jill Worthington.  I was a bit nervous for her looking out at the sea of energy in the school gym.  There were so many busy little bodies and naturally, the kids were excited to see and chat with their friends.  How was she going to teach yoga to an entire gym of children and youth?

As soon as she turned on the music, she proceeded to move her index finger to her lips to show the children that it was time to focus inwards.  The kids responded really well and began to move into chair pose and then circling their arms to stand up again.  The entire yoga series was very thoughtful and really engaging for the children.  Hundreds of students moved from standing positions to floor positions without any teacher instruction and their free, unique expression of yoga postures was simply brilliant to watch from the back of the gym.

This year, Health Champion Miranda Niebergall has coordinated with administrators so that the school community can gather together each morning to begin their day with physical activity.   Here’s principal Archie Lillico explaining the changes he’s seeing in the school environment because of this simple change:

Thank you to everyone at Stony Plain Central for mindfully moving daily physical activity into the culture of Stony Plain Central’s school community.


Health Champion Experiment: Carrot Sticks Instead of Gummy Bears?

From the desk of Graminia School Health Champion Morgan Saunders…

Students in 5B record their agenda messages every day as part of my communication circle involving the students, their parents, and me.  Students who can prove they shared their agenda message with their parents (by obtaining a signature), get to choose a reward.  In the past, I offered a sticker or a small candy (a gummy bear or two) and sometimes a small granola bar.  After the Health Champions meeting, I was wondering how it would be received if I offered a healthy option alongside the sticker.  Last Tuesday morning, 19 out of 21 students present chose a mini carrot over a sticker.  On Thursday, October 10, 22 out of 24 students chose the carrot option.  Some even asked for a second or third carrot!  Since today is Friday and the kick off to a long weekend, I brought back the gummy bears as a treat.  I was surprised to find that I had students asking for a carrot instead!

Partnerships at Work in Parkland School Division

Every Thursday, Spruce Grove Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Jessie Smith, gets down on the floor of Greystone Middle School to engage in activities with students through the After the Bell program.  This FCSS-supported program is one of many community partnerships that exist at Greystone Middle School and reflects a growing trend between Parkland’s schools and community partners to support children and youth before, during, and after school with their social-emotional, physical, and academic needs.  On this particular day, over 15 students were in attendance working in small groups to design a parachute that would stay afloat longer than its competitors.

In addition to FCSS, both Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Edmonton and Parkland Area Young Life have been actively involved in creating positive culture at Greystone.  This year BBBS coordinator Angele Medeiros worked with Brookwood Elementary School Grade 4 students to create an in-school mentoring program with Grade 9 students at Greystone.  Both schools have identified that this mentoring program will help ease the transition between elementary school to middle school for students while strengthening the leadership skills of the older students.  Assistant Principal Tracy Lachman commented that, “this program has been such a great success for both schools.”  

Baking cookies in the Foods Lab at Greystone through the BBBS of Edmonton In-School Mentoring Program….

Parkland Area Young Life volunteers have been active at both Greystone and Parkland Village School this year.  Thanks to the work of area directors Chris Vanden Brink and Tracey Flynn, young volunteers began distributing hot chocolate to students weekly at Greystone on cold winter mornings.  This relationship with the school developed into support for both the breakfast program and lunchtime intramurals.  The volunteers have been helpful in shaping positive school culture during these unstructured times for students.   This isn’t the only school that Young Life has supported. The group has been facilitating a homework club for Parkland Village School with the support of the Evolve project.  Currently, Young Life is recruiting more volunteers to help meet the volunteer needs of other schools within Parkland School Division. If you are a young adult and would like to learn more about how to volunteer with Young LIfe, please contact Tracy Flynn at 780 910 3014.

Thank you to these and many, many other area partners who contribute in meaningful ways to our students and school communities.