5 minute Activities!!!

Create a food rainbow! The more colorful our fruits and veggies, the more nutritious. Have students try for three colors during lunch!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

7 Steps to Supporting Employee Wellness

Taking care of all our staff is not an extra "want to do" but a critical "need to do".  Working in education is a tough job and often lead to compassion fatigue.  Take a few minutes to take care of yourself and a colleague today!


7 Ways to Make Teaching a More Sustainable Profession

Tips for school leaders seeking to foster an environment that supports, engages, and motivates teachers.
January 15, 2020
Years ago, a new teacher I was mentoring up and left the profession after two years. 
She was brilliant, enthusiastic, and well-loved by colleagues, students, and families, 
and she inspired me to write the book Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus.

With each day that I work with teachers, I am more convinced that it is vital to the future of public education that we make teaching a more sustainable, humane profession.

Research tells us that fostering strong relationships and giving students voice and agency as well as opportunities for active learning are necessary to engage and motivate them. But aren’t these important for teachers, too? We know that students feel the stress teachers bring to their jobs. Therefore, protecting the professionalism and wellness of teachers will ultimately benefit students, too.

We need schools to be more humane—for the sake of students and teachers. How can school leaders work to make this happen?

1. Protect basic needsKeep Maslow in mind. How can teachers think about deep and powerful pedagogy if their basic needs are not met? Leaders can build emotionally and physically safe schools by making sure the basics are covered. Schedule time for teachers to use the bathroom, and designate at least one of those bathrooms adults only and gender neutral. Make sure new mothers have a safe and private place to pump. And make sure your teachers’ room has creature comforts like hot coffee and a comfy chair or two.

2. Build belonging: In supportive and strong school environments, teachers feel connected to each other and work as a team. And we know that when teachers collaborate, students benefitEducational leaders can build a sense of belonging in multiple ways: You might begin every staff meeting with a time for personal connections or a celebration of accomplishments, or set up group norms that foster a safe and supportive culture. End every staff meeting with gratitude and on time.

3. Build a supportive culture: Principals, coaches, and school leaders: You are in the business of raising morale in a profession that often squelches it. Address teachers’ mental, emotional, and professional needs. You can do this by demonstrating that you’re listening to—and acting on—teachers’ feedback. When you notice your teachers need support, a break, or some encouragement, provide it. (And this goes for teachers, too: Seek out ways to support your colleagues. Writing a note, covering recess duty, or just lending an ear could make all the difference in the life of another educator.)

4. Create space for reflection and joy: This is the hardest one. We are often starved for time in schools, and the stress that comes from this rubs off on students. Every time I make an agenda, I craft it, plan it—then leave it for a while. When I come back to it, I usually realize it’s too full—there’s no space for teachers to reflect, make meaning, or connect. Plan these moments into meetings or agendas so teachers don’t feel as though they’re just hopping on yet another treadmill.

5. Build trust: When I visited several schools in New Zealand, I was struck by the ways in which the school cultures I observed seemed to be defined by high levels of trust—among teachers, between teachers and students, and between teachers and administrators. In my experience, this is vastly different than in most American schools. In New Zealand, educators I met were given freedom to pick the focus of their professional development and choose their educational materials. They spent time connecting with each other every day. School leaders can build trust by following up and following through. They can also provide educators with choices for PD, promote teacher leadership, and ask for feedback regularly.

6. Show vulnerability: Many people—especially men—are taught from a young age to hide their feelings. But educators can’t create effective learning communities without demonstrating vulnerability—research shows that there is a strong link between vulnerability and cooperationAnd vulnerability is contagious: If folks hear you being vulnerable, they will learn that it is safe for them to be as well. As an educational leader, model a transparent practice of leading, getting feedback, learning, and trying again so that you provide a clear path forward for teachers to do the same.

7. Model wellness: Teaching requires a great deal of emotional labor, and teachers’ stress levels are often at the same level as emergency room doctors’ and nurses’. Encourage teachers to take breaks from work and to set boundaries—and do so yourself as well. You might take a quick walk outside during the day or not answer emails after 6 p.m., or you could work, meditate, or have quiet time every morning before school. Consider who on your staff might be experiencing significant stressors, and make it clear to them that you value their wellness and would like to help them develop a strategy to cope.

In this challenging profession, humane environments that allow teachers to grow professionally and personally are essential so they can do the vital work with students that brought them to teaching in the first place.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wellness Policy Reminders

Hello Centennial,

The Working on Wellness (WOW) Committee wants to remind us all of the Wellness Policy we have adopted to help support healthy eating and active living for staff and students across our district. 

There is one thing we all know: Healthy Students (and Staff) Learn Better!!

Wellness Policy Cheat Sheet for a quick overview
Wellness Policy
Wellness Policy AR (more specifics on how we will implement the policy)

We often hear questions around the SMART Snacks rules for any foods served outside the cafeteria meals time. Here are some resources to help you better understand the rule as well as ideas that are either healthy snacks or non-food ideas.

SMART Snacks rule
Ideas for healthy snacks
Healthy Celebration Ideas

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

WOW February Wellness Challenge Wrap-Up!

The Working On Wellness (WOW) Employee Wellness Committee completed the February Wellness Challenge with 38% of our of staff participating turning in 695 cards over the month!!
Congratulations to ITC! They had 100% participation and win the Wellest Award trophy! Meadows came in second with 74% participation!!!  To reward our winner they will be getting a chair massage day provided by Balanced Health and Injury Clinic. 

The winners of the district-wide drawing are Emily Trosino, a 5th grade teacher at Parklane, won a massage gift certificate to Balance Health Clinic and June Sawtelle, a Parklane Assistant, won a Fitbit!!

Watch the video of the drawing happen!!

Thank you to everyone that participated!  Continue to take care of yourself as we head into summer. We all get stressed and tired some days so let’s support each other everyday!

Annual 2018-19 Wellness Policy Assessment

Presented on March 13th, 2019 to the School Board

The Wellness Committee (WC) assesses how we are implementing the Wellness Policy annually and reports back to the school board our successes and ideas for better implementation. We create both a handout and a presentation to share with the school board. 

The Wellness Committee and the WOW (Working on Wellness COmmittee) will be merging to better focus on a holistic wellness model created by ASCD and CDC called Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community (WSCC).  We will be using the CDC's School Health Index tool to better assess how well our schools support wellness in all areas.  We will begin by assess Healthy Eating, Physical Education & Activity, and Health Services. 

Our first meeting will be on May 29th at 4pm in the District Office Board room.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wellness Policy Assessment and School Board Report

Creating a school environment that supports all of our wellness is critical to creating an academic setting where we can learn and thrive together.  Check out the great impact that our wellness work has done over this year!!

 Annual School Board Wellness Policy Assessment and Report: 

School Board Report March 21, 2018

Prezi Presentation

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Annual Wellness Policy Assessment

The Wellness Committee conducted their annual assessment of the wellness policy across Centennial to the School Board on March 8th.  Centennial schools have been supporting student and staff wellness in so many amazing ways! To list just a few:

  • The positive impacts of full time PE at all Elementary schools
  • Taking movement breaks for both staff and students to play, walk, and talk together.
  • $1500 Grant awards from NW Health Foundation/LEt's Move Active Schools for View, Wood, OE, & PL and $3000 for Meadows!!
  • Parklane came in First Place for the October Fire Up Your Feet Challenge winning $2500
  • CMS came in third in the Fire Up Your Feet Challenge winning $1000
  • CHS has brand new cafeteria serving bars that allow ALL students to get a full salad and to move through the line quickly.
  • Over 12,000 Farm to School Meals have been served for lunch that feature a main entree of a locally sourced meat and local fruits and veggies!!
We also found a few areas that Centennial needs to focus on for the upcoming school year to better support our students and staff.  
  • Always offer a health food option during a classroom celebration. Pizza parties are great but put out a bowl of carrots or apples to give another option (or maybe just have extra recess!)
  • A K-6th grade Health Curriculum
  • Resources for staff to better understand working with trauma informed practices
  • Supporting our hard-working staff with at-work wellness opportunites from the WOW committee!
Thank you Centennial for all that you do everyday!

See the full presentation with the assessments here:  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Healthy Cooking Class with Liz Koetje

Homemade Protein Powder and Homemade Larabars!

Liz Koetje taught a groups of us how to make low-cost, nutritionally packed, easy protein powder to sprinkle on your smoothie, oatmeal, eggs, rice, cereal, whatever for an extra boost of protein an nutrition.  We are all so busy all day that being able to have  a quick, nutritious boost is important as we head into flu-season!

I wanted to share some awesome pictures and the handouts that Liz created for us!  Keep on eye out for out Wellness Wednesday workshops, the first Wednesday of every month for new classes!