Transitioning from a 4,197 mile bicycle ride across the United States back into work has proven easy and difficult at the same time. I'm still exhausted, but I love what I do so much that I'm considerably motivated for my daily conference calls, check-ins and preparations for upcoming events and meetings.
For those of you new to my school health blog, my business name, Cairn comes from the term used for a pile of rocks that lead or guide the way on a hiking trail. Since 2006, my consulting business has worked all over the country supporting school issues that encourage healthier places for both students and staff.
I enjoyed facilitating a small group discussion last week in New York City for Clinton Health Matters Initiative on Employee Effectiveness and Wellness. I guided a small group of 6 people from Fortune 500 Companies through a discussion around their successes and challenges in the areas of employee wellness, family friendly workplaces, the built environment, core business alignment, talent management, veterans and military families, and benefits and health insurance. Not only were these companies and organizations incredibly engaged in the discussion, but some were interested in continuing to collaborate and make formal commitments in the future. I love playing (even if very small) a part of brokering relationships and meaningful work.
Today I worked on 5 upcoming presentations. My first three presentations will occur in Myrtle Beach at the American School Health Association Conference (ASHA) October 9-12. Jamie Sparks from Kentucky and I are co-facilitating the Systems Thinking Systems Changing Simulation as a pre-conference on October 9 from 8am to noon. When implementing school health programs, schools and districts are implementing systems change. Understanding fully how change occurs within a school or district is essential to developing programs that are sustainable and effective. Many times people forget some of the key components to systems change, for example how building relationships in a community is imperative and that leadership support is essential. The simulation we will be facilitation is a knowledge and skill-building activity based in a district setting that pushes individuals to understand best practices and the research around systems change. I am also presenting a 30 minute workshop on an action research project I did with students from 3 high schools in Oregon over the course of a school year and in partnership with a county health department. The project builds youth's skills around advocacy, communication and collaboration around a school health project based on need. And my final hour presentation at ASHA will be around developing and sustaining a statewide health and PE cadre of trainers. Topic covered will be recruiting trainers, funding sources, sustaining high level professional development for the trainers, payment/reimbursement for trainers, training workshops offered, fidelity, role of the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT), and best practices.
Another presentation I started brainstorming for today was for OEA Choice Trust. On October 24, OEA Choice Trust is holding their annual Journey to Wellness Conference for their grantees. My role as a content expert is to introduce and facilitate a discussion around Creating Sustainable Healthy School Environments for Staff. I'm looking forward to this event and reconnecting with colleagues in Eugene Oregon!
Finally, I developed an agenda for a training event I am facilitating in Visalia CA on Nov 1. The Tulare County Office of Education has requested a trainer to facilitate a half day on CDC's School Health Guidelines and a half day on CDC's School Health Index Tool. I am CDC Training Tools for Healthy Schools trainer assigned to these workshops. I finalized the objectives for the day and I'm looking forward to spending time with educators in northern California beginning of November.
As I get back into work from almost 4 months off, I feel fortunate that I do something I love with people all over the country I adore. I hope to collaborate with many of you out there over the next school year and beyond! Let's work together to create healthy environments so our kids can learn, thrive and play!
I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter at @cairnguidance