Tagged “School Staff Wellness”

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Giveaway: Win a Free Copy of The Well-Balanced Teacher

What was one thing you wished you'd known when you started teaching? Share your comments below and we'll pick three responders at random to receive a free copy of Mike Anderson's book The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out. Winners will be announced Wednesday, March 2, at 5 p.m. ET!

Read the author's ideas on healthy behavior patterns for teachers about to start the school year and listen to the Whole Child Podcast in which he shares how teachers can care for themselves so that they are happier, healthier, and more effective.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


School Trains Sixth Graders in CPR: A Massachusetts school spent the last two days before winter break training 6th-grade students in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the Heimlich Maneuver, and other life-saving techniques. The curriculum, usually taught in 9th grade, has been simplified to train more individuals. "This is a new and innovative program that we hope will really catch on in other surrounding communities," a lieutenant with the fire department said.

Developing Emotional Resiliency Could Benefit Stressed Teachers: Teaching is a stressful profession and the retention rate—especially in struggling schools—often is low, says a school-improvement coach. Elena Aguilar writes that teachers would benefit from developing emotional resilience—knowing when to let go and how to adapt to stressful situations. She recommends that building these emotional skills be incorporated into teachers' professional development and cites research that shows mentoring and collaborating could help, too.

Why Do We Need Physical Education in Schools? Healthy School Communities Director Sean Slade illustrates the two sides of the debate in his blog post on the Whole Child website. Although research shows that healthier students learn better, there are others out there who seem to believe PE and recess are a waste of classroom time. Go to ASCD EDge and tell us how you defend the role of physical education and physical activity in your school.


Mental Health Resources for Schools: The Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA provides a free online toolkit, Practitioner and Professional Development: Virtual Toolbox for Mental Health in Schools, that reflects on the role of mental health in the well-being of students for school personnel involved in preservice and inservice professional development.

Take Action

Get Nutrition Education in Your Classrooms: Attend this free 45-minute webinar on Wednesday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m. pacific time, 6:00 p.m., eastern time, from SPARK, a whole child partner, to learn how you can integrate nutrition education into other core subject areas like math, science, language arts, and physical education. Register now!

Get Into It and Fight Childhood Obesity: Special Olympics and Youth Service America is offering Get Into It grants. The purpose is to bring together students of all abilities to fight childhood obesity in their schools and communities. The Get Into It curriculum helps to develop a service-learning program that gives youth the opportunity to make a change by creating and implementing local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. Maximum award: $1,000. Eligibility: U.S.-based teams that include a teacher and a unified pair of students (one with and one without an intellectual disability). Deadline: January 19, 2011.

Excellence in Summer Learning Award: Whole child partner the National Summer Learning Association will be awarding its Excellence in Summer Learning Award to an outstanding summer program that "demonstrates excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting positive development for young people between kindergarten and 12th grade." Award winners will receive national recognition, increased press opportunities, conference presentations and complimentary registrations, professional development opportunities for staff, and increased publishing opportunities. Public or private organizations or agencies (schools, community-based organizations, libraries, universities, faith-based organizations, etc.) serving young people between the ages of kindergarten and 12th grade over the summer months are eligible to apply. Deadline: February 11, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Survey: Only 23 Percent Want Feds to Set Child Nutrition Standards: A Rasmussen Reports survey of U.S. adults found that 23 percent said the federal government should set nutritional standards for public schools, while 31 percent said they want parent-teacher groups to do it and 17 percent said it should be left to state governments. Data showed that 53 percent of adults said they followed reports about the childhood-nutrition law at least somewhat closely.

More States Are Allowing PE Waivers or Substitutions: The number of states that allow students to substitute extracurricular activities or otherwise opt out of physical education has increased since 2006 from 27 to 32, data show. One physical education professor says a push for students to take more academic courses and districts' efforts to save money are behind the trend, which occurs amid greater worry about childhood obesity.

Better Grades May Mean Better Health: Findings from a study published in the December Journal of Health and Social Behavior support already existing evidence that links higher student achievement with long-term health. The study shows that not only is there a correlation between greater educational attainment and physical well-being, but also that a higher level of academic performance proved to be a significant factor as well. Read more.


Promising District Practices: Are you looking for strategies that schools and districts across the United States are using to effectively address school health? The National School Boards Association's (NSBA) Promising District Practices website shares success stories addressing a wide range of school health–related policies and practices in a practical and easily accessible way.

Enhancing Student Learning by Supporting a Coordinated Approach to Health: Whole Child Partners NSBA and the American School Health Association (ASHA), with ASHA's Council for Administrative Support for School Health, have developed parallel documents to help school boards and administrators enhance student learning by supporting a coordinated approach to health. The documents can be used to communicate how school board and administrator support for a coordinated approach to health contributes to academic achievement and why and how school leaders should have a coordinated approach to the health of students.

Youth Substance Use Interventions: Where Do They Fit Into a School's Mission? This report addresses differences between use and abuse and briefly summarizes some major issues and data relevant to substance use and treatment of abuse and dependency. It also highlights the importance of adopting a broad perspective in understanding the causes of substance problems seen at schools.

Take Action

Reducing Risk Behaviors by Promoting Positive Youth Development: The National Institutes of Health is offering grants to institutions and organizations that "propose to enhance our understanding of effective positive youth development programs and the mechanisms responsible for positive health and developmental outcomes." Award amounts vary and eligible applicants are public or state controlled or private institutions of higher education; nonprofit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) IRS status; for-profit organizations; and various other organizations, including non-U.S. entities. Deadline: February 5, 2011.

School Employee Wellness Awards Program: The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE)is now accepting applications for the 2010–11 School Employee Wellness Awards Program that recognizes schools and school districts that implement school employee wellness programs. Monetary awards will be granted in the amounts of $250 (bronze), $500 (silver), and $1,000 (gold) to be reinvested in their employee wellness programs. Review an archived webinar from DHPE that further explains the grant application process. Application materials must be postmarked by February 1, 2011.

Get Green With Planet Connect: Interested in integrating environmental health awareness into your school? Planet Connect announces the 2011 Get Green Video Contest. In partnership with the Leaders of Environmental Action Films, the Get Green Video Contest is asking U.S. high school students to make a 30–120 second video that shows how everyday actions impact the ocean. Deadline: February 23, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Klea Scharberg

Free Webinar: The Well-Balanced Teacher

Join Mike Anderson, author of The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out, for a free webinar on on staying healthy and well-balanced as a teacher. A former elementary school teacher, Anderson now works to strengthen on-site professional development for schools that are working with the Responsive Classroom approach.

Tuesday, September 29, 2010, 3:00 p.m. ET
Register now!

Good teaching requires immense amounts of positive energy. Most teachers begin the year energized and ready to tackle all of the challenges that come with a normal year. Then, as the year goes on, it's easy to feel all of that positive energy slipping away. This webinar will explore how teachers can

  • Stay energized and healthy over the course of a grueling year
  • Create healthy habits that enable us to eat well, find time to exercise, connect well with colleagues, and maintain a healthy work-life balance
  • Set priorities so that we know we're being effective and staying engaged in the profession

Connect with Anderson on his website and on Facebook. Take your learning further with his recent guest post on the Whole Child Blog and participation in a panel discussion on the August episode of the Whole Child Podcast.

Explore forthcoming and archived ASCD webinars.

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

My Wellness Hypocrisy

Bridgette Wagoner, director of Educational Services for Waverly-Shell Rock Schools and former interim director of the Whole Child Award-winning Price Laboratory School, reflects on the process of creating a shared culture of wellness in her district while taking an honest look at her own wellness in "My Wellness Hypocrisy" on her blog Creating a Passion for Learning.

As August comes to a close and we conclude our focus on school staff wellness, Wagoner's reflections are a refreshing reminder that our own health and well-being contributes to our community's culture of wellness. Our struggles and victories are part of the process of creating a more healthy, balanced approach to living, learning, teaching, and leading.

I met with the chairs of my district's Wellness Committee yesterday, and ever since I have been thinking about what I can do as a school leader to support a healthy school community. Unfortunately, I have come to the stark realization that I am part of the problem. I'll grab my scarlet H, plaster it on my chest, and get real about my own wellness hypocrisy.

See, I am the person who had to hedge an excuse for a box of decadent cake balls from the local Bosnian bakery sitting on my desk when a reporter came to talk to me about healthy school meals.

I am the person who brought sinfully sweet gourmet cupcakes to celebrate a colleague's birthday last week. I enjoyed every crumb and didn’t even think about tagging a "sometimes food" disclaimer.

I am the person who lived two blocks from work for six years…and drove there every day, all the while advocating for physical education and health literacy.

Like all seismic cultural shifts, creating a distinct and shared culture of wellness in our district relies on individual people making individual decisions day in and day out to act in accordance with our professed beliefs. Once our "walk" matches our "talk" we have successfully shifted the culture.

So today—and every day after—I will take deliberate steps to match my walk with my talk. Now that I've donned my scarlet H, you can all hold me accountable as I strive to model a life of wellness. I also urge each of you to think about the decisions you can make today to model a healthy lifestyle for your colleagues and your students. 

Share your "wellness hypocrisy." What deliberate steps are you taking to walk your talk this year?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

School Health Council Creates Friendly Competition to Promote School Staff Wellness

Post submitted by James S. Roberts, Ed.D., superintendent, Batesville (Ind.) Community School Corporation

For the past four years, the Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) has partnered with the American Cancer Society to conduct a 10-week Active for Life fitness challenge. Through this challenge, all staff members are encouraged to engage in some sort of physical activity for 30 minutes per day for at least five days per week.

To add motivation, a building competition is held within BCSC pitting all four school buildings and the Administration Building against one another! Records are kept detailing each employee’s activity and the building’s relationship to the goal set. The winning building is the one that has the highest ratio of participation rate to rate of goal accomplishment.

Batesville Middle School was a first-time winner during the 2009–10 school year, following back-to-back wins by Batesville Primary School in 2006–07 and 2007–08 and a win by Batesville Intermediate School in 2008–09. A traveling trophy is awarded to the winning building. Each individual meeting his or her goal, regardless of building, is presented with a commemorative T-shirt.

This year, we will expand our physical activity challenge to encompass most of the nine months of the school year and culminate with participation in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon held in May.  The Mini Marathon annually has nearly 35,000 participants and is affiliated with the world-famous Indianapolis 500.

In September, project manager Andy Allen, associate principal at Batesville High School, will start setting up training teams and registering individuals for the Mini Marathon. Staff members will have the opportunity to run or walk the full 13.1 miles OR run or walk the 5K that is also a part of the day's festivities.

We hope to involve the greater community in this effort in a variety of ways, as invitations to join us have been extended to area businesses and students and their families will be asked to participate. Additionally, we hope to get the Batesville High School band and cheerleaders engaged by stationing them along the course to cheer on our Batesville runners and walkers. As our organizational efforts hit high gear with this ambitious challenge, I will be sure to update you on our progress.

What kind of events would you like to create in your school and community that would promote school staff wellness and a positive school climate?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Getting Creative with School Staff Wellness

Post submitted by Ronda Rumig, educator, Halton District School Board, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Over the last two years, I have been privileged to work with a group of colleagues at Iroquois Ridge High School (a Healthy School Communities site) who all agreed that staff wellness was an important aspect of a healthy school community. We focused our efforts in a couple of areas: physical/emotional wellness and relationship building.

We increased opportunities for staff to come together in a variety of ways through exercise, social activities, and healthy eating. Some of our initiatives took place during staff development time and others during lunch or after school. Here are some of the activities that were most memorable to me.

  1. Exercise Activities: Staff were given the first hour of a professional development (PD) day to take part in one of many activities, including archery, yoga, table tennis, indoor soccer, an outdoor walk, and badminton. Our aim was to provide many different levels of activity and to include many different interests.
  2. Photo Scavenger Hunt: Staff were divided into teams and asked to bring in one digital camera per team. Each team was given 60 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt, which required them to visit different areas within the school and our immediate community outside of the school and take pictures at each stop. Teams were given points for a variety of categories, such as team with the most points, first team to finish, and most creative group photo.
  3. Team Games: We opened one PD day with a team game session. Staff were divided into teams and completed a circuit of games. The games included activities such as scooterboard races, riddle-solving, keeping several beach balls in the air, and using newspapers and limited amounts of tape to build the tallest free-standing building.
  4. Healthy Snacks: We provided staff with healthy snacks in the staffroom during exam days when they would be spending many hours grading. This is a one way to provide staff with not only healthy nutrition, but also some time to unwind and socialize with other staff members.
  5. Staff-Led Walks: We provided staff with a personal pedometer and invited them to take part in several walks offered throughout the day for a few weeks. We counted our steps and logged them toward a community initiative where trees would be planted for every 10,000 steps taken.
  6. Recipe Fridays: For several months, staff shared healthy recipes every Friday in an attempt to introduce each other to new and healthy ingredients.
  7. Bracelet Making: One PD day we joined our efforts as a staff to make several hemp bracelets to be sold to raise money for the school we were building in Haiti. This was an excellent opportunity to build relationships and do something to help our global community.
ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Be a Well-Balanced Teacher: Tips for the New School Year

Post submitted by Mike Anderson, author of the forthcoming book The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out, and guest on this month's Whole Child Podcast

The school year is about to start! It's an exciting time of year, but it's also pretty hectic. There's the physical space to set up, lessons and units to prepare, students and families to get to know, and meetings to attend. All too often, we teachers find ourselves swamped with work right at the beginning of the year, and in a desperate attempt to start the year positively, we immediately move into overdrive, trying to do too much in too little time.

Before we know it, it's the middle of the year, we're still not caught up (we never really do, right?), and we've fallen into unhealthy patterns as we've tried to meet the impossible demands of our profession. I remember one year I got into the habit of stopping at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's on the way to school every morning as I tried to get to school quickly to get extra work done. Six months and 25 pounds later, I had a hard habit to break!

We will all develop habits and patterns of behavior as a new school year begins. If we're proactive and thoughtful, we can get ourselves "stuck" in patterns of healthy behavior before bad habits emerge. Here are a few to consider:

  • Make exercise a part of your getting-to-school routine in the morning. Bring your school clothes to the gym or the pool, work out, and then shower and head right to school.
  • Plan healthy snacks to eat at school every day. Make Sunday evening your time to prepare and pack good snacks for the week.
  • Pick one day a week to connect with positive colleagues. Maybe it's Wednesday mornings for breakfast at a local diner. It could be Friday afternoon for happy hour. It might be Tuesday mornings at school for a fun book group. Set something up, invite positive colleagues, and then stick to it!
  • Pick a day a week to do some journaling. A few minutes to write down reflections from the week can help you detect patterns and trends in your students and your teaching that can help improve your practice.

What are some other ideas you have? What are some healthy patterns you'd like to establish this year? What will those habits look like? Share your ideas!

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

The Whole Child Needs a Whole Teacher

Download Podcast Now [Right-Click to Save]

With August just around the corner, educators, students, and parents are all beginning to gear up for the year ahead. Just as students return to school with a range of emotions, so too do educators. Some may be looking forward to returning to school; others may be a little bit apprehensive about how they'll meet so many challenges throughout the year.

Educators who start off the year with energy and enthusiasm often find that it fades gradually or dramatically. Teaching is one of the more stressful professions, and it can be one of the most rewarding when educators are able to strike a balance and schools create the conditions that allow them to thrive.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, learn how educators and schools can work to create the conditions that allow teachers, and subsequently students, to thrive. You'll hear from

Educators, are you struggling to manage stress, meet your basic needs, and find time for your own learning and development? What strategies have helped you to maintain your enthusiasm and balance between work and life?

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