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

Prepare for National Non-Smoking Week January 18-24

WhatsyourReasonNational Non-Smoking Week 2015

In celebration of National Non-Smoking Week – January 18-24, 2015 – Alberta Health Services’ Tobacco Reduction Program (TRP) is providing several resources to raise awareness and promote action amongst staff, the public, community stakeholders and local media.

Continuing to build on the theme “Majority Do,” which was designed and developed by the TRP in 2012, the focus of the week will be on smoke-free homes and vehicles. The majority of Albertans do choose smoke-free environments , but for those that don’t there are some very real health risks and consequences, particularly for children and pets.

By focusing on environmental tobacco smoke, the TRP is working to support the goals of the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy, and improve the health of all Albertans. This approach also supports the ban on smoking in vehicles when minors are present, which came into effect in November under the provincial Tobacco Reduction Amendment Act.

The TRP is pleased to provide some resource materials to support your efforts:

Staff Field Kit (attached)
• This kit will include guidelines for media engagement during events (in accordance with the AHS Communications Policy), key messaging and examples of the social media promotion that will be taking place throughout the week as well.
* If you are planning an activity or taking part in an event around NNSW, please contact AHS Communications with the details, as these events will be captured in Public Service Announcements sent out in the Zones prior to NNSW.

Smoke-Free Home and Smoke-Free Spaces Decals (image attached)
• These decals can be placed on vehicle and home windows to declare and celebrate them as smoke-free spaces.
• Leveraging the existing AlbertaQuits social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), the TRP will use the decals in a series of images with different families and individuals that will showcase reasons for having a smoke-free home or vehicle, and also encourage others to take action. Public who wish to share their smoke-free status with others will be able to do so through engagement with the social media accounts.

Smoke-Free Home and Smoke-Free Spaces Posters
• Using the same images as the decals, these posters provide an opportunity to promote and educate about the importance of smoke-free spaces.
• The same images and messaging will also be used in a number of social media posts, providing health information on second-hand smoke exposure and encouraging people to become, or remain, smoke-free.
• These posters will be send out as PDF’s early in January


Let’s Talk About Second-Hand and Third-Hand Smoke – Information Sheet (attached)
• This information sheet can be used as a reference for providing information and presentations during National Non-Smoking Week. It provides information on the types of environmental tobacco smoke and the health effects of exposure.

AlbertaQuits Services Magnet
• This handy magnet can be given out to patients/clients as a reminder of the excellent cessation support resources available to them: online, phone, text or groups. This item will be added to the on-line catalog in early January.

These resources can be used for health fairs/displays, Well Child clinics, car seat inspection clinics, counselling sessions, etc. They are available to order through the AlbertaQuits.ca on-line catalogue at: http://www.albertaquits.ca/helping-others-quit/healthcare-providers/tools-and-resources/order-online.php.


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

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!

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.

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: