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.

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.

Winter Walk Day at High Park

To celebrate Winter Walk Day, High Park School’s Health Champion, Elizabeth Paterson-Baron, organized an all-school walk which included 460 students, 25 staff members, and about 10 parents. The school leadership team made posters and placed them around the school in addition to making daily announcements leading up to the event highlighting the importance of daily physical activity. The event was publicized in the school newsletter and web site.
Each student participant received an orange mitten from SHAPE Alberta to unite the walkers with students and schools from around the province who walked for 15 minutes or more on February 6th, 2013. At High Park School, their health and wellness action plan includes all school participation in physical activity three times per week. The Winter Walk Day was one of their awesome events! Way to go, team.

Duffield’s 12 Days of Fitness

Yup, you heard it here first, folks! Duffield students and staff celebrated “The 12 Days of Fitness” ran from Dec 1-19 to ensure that everyone remained fit and healthy for the holidays! This challenge began with each Duffield student receiving a “12 Days of Fitness” punch card and the opportunity to engage in a different fitness activities each day during lunch recess. Duffield staff became very involved with the challenge too. They were so involved that the staff began morning announcements singing our theme song called, “The 12 Days of Fitness, my SWAT (Student Wellness Action Team) team gave to me….” with a different teacher adding the new activity of the day.

Once the students finished the activity of the day, the playground supervisor “punched” the student’s punch card, and at the end of the 12 days, students who had completed a punch card were eligible to enter their card into a draw to win a prize.

12 Days of Christmas at Duffield
1 lap around the yard
2 spider climbers
3 chin ups
4 roll overs
5 burpees
6 chicken dances
7 crab walks
8 sit ups
9 mule kicks
10 jumping jacks
11 snow angels
12 push ups

Way to go all of you healthy Duffield Elves!

MCHS Division-wide Invitation to Come Out and Ice Skate!

Memorial Comp’s FNMI Leadership Group is hosting a division-wide skating day with outdoor activities, cookies, and hot chocolate for students in Grades K-9 on December 20th from 11AM-2:30PM at Dog Rump Creek in Stony Plain.  Please open the Google Document to RSVP for this free event that promotes community building and physical activity!