Samantha has been with Cairn Guidance since fall of 2016. She's a regular contributor to our school health blog.Read More
Last month, the Cairn Guidance team spent two days working on our new five year strategic plan. We came up with three big strategic directions, including:
- Positioning for Growth and Sustainability;
- Equipping Educators to Institute School Health; and
- Building a Team Culture of Wellness and Balance.
It's an exciting time to have an exceptional team in place. We are growing in many ways! We've tripled our staff and increased the number of clients we have at any given time from an average of 8 to 14. We have diversified our geographic reach in the United States and the content we are working on has broadened.
With growth, as exciting as it is, comes more hours, increased number of proposal to write, calls, meetings, invoices, and of course, more stress. Because our team prioritized balance and wellness for ourselves, I'm excited to plan what this really means for us internally. How do we take care of ourselves so that we can continue to be present, commit the time and energy to fulfill our mission of creating places of health and well-being where all youth are healthy, connected, educated and achieving their full potential?
Next week, our team will begin to take a deep dive into the Building a Team Culture of Wellness and Balance portion of our strategic plan and set achievable goals and timelines. We'll keep you posted and encourage you to continue to take care of YOU first, even if you have a staff, clients, life partner, spouse or children!
Happy Holidays from the Cairn Guidance Team!
Jess, Liz, and Samantha
The 2015 Bost Health Policy Forum hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky kicked off with a welcome from Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen. She reinforced the importance of economic vitality, livability and strong communities related to the health of Kentuckians. We heard from a variety of health advocates on topics including education, the built environment, worksite wellness and food systems from Andrew Dannenberg from the University of Washington, Vera Oziransky from the Vitality Institute, Mary Gwen Wheeler from 55000 Degrees, and Margo Wootan from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.Read More
For those of you in the right place at the right time, you may be able to attend one of these speaking engagements I'm speaking at or facilitating! Listed in order of occurrence.
1. Leadership Louisville's Best of Leadership Summit, March 17-18
I'm presenting a Ted-style talk during the 3-4:30 breakout session entitled, "Storytellers: A Next Generation Perspective". "Do Something Extraordinary" will focus on the six life lessons I learned on my 4,197 mile solo bicycle journey across the US this past summer and how those lessons related to being a leader in your professional field. Louisville's Mayor Greg Fischer will be speaking on his “Vision for Louisville” and CEO of Chrysalis Ventures, David Jones Jr will be speaking about “Innovating to Improve Education and Healthcare”. The three breakout topics for each time throughout the day are: Leadership, Community and Driving Change. Don't miss it. Register for the upcoming event here!
2. SPARK sponsored Webinar, March 19, 3pm PST/6pm EST
I'm facilitating an hour long webinar for SPARK called, Gearing Up for School Health: Riding the Path to a Comprehensive School Health Program. Anyone can register and be a part of this workshop I'm leading in a couple of weeks! To register and find out more (objectives and description) go here.
3. National AAHPERD/SHAPE Conference in St Louis, MO, April 1
I will be co-facilitating a Let's Move Active Schools, Physical Activity Leader (PAL) training with Judy LoBianco, former PE Administrator of the Year Awardee. By participating in this training, you will become a PAL and have the knowledge and skills to go back to your school or district and implement school-wide change in the areas of PE, physical activity during the school day, before and after school, staff involvement and family and community engagement. To register for this all day pre-conference session, go here.
4. School-site Health Promotion Conference, Sugarloaf Maine, week of June 23
As the keynote speaker during this week's staff wellness conference in Maine, I will be addressing a variety of topics through the lens of my bicycle journey across the US with a focus around employee wellness. More and more schools around the country are addressing the health and well-being of their staff and workplace environments. This not only models good health for students but increases staff attendance and productivity. My 75 minute presentation will be a call to action for the audience, mostly attending in district-level teams of 5-10 people.
There are some other pending events I will be speaking at or facilitating that will be open to the public… potentially in Alaska, Kentucky, Oregon and Maryland. Stay tuned!
OEA Choice Trust hosted their 5th annual Journey to Wellness event in Eugene Oregon yesterday. Over 25 grantees were in attendance. They came together to learn, share and network. The mission of the OEA Choice Trust Wellness Grant Program is to improve the health and well-being of Oregon school employees through grant-making; focusing on empowering and enabling the participants to take responsibility for improvement of their health within a supportive environment.
I mean, how cool that this organization, in partnership with many other organizations is specifically working on the health and well-being of school staff? My dear friend and colleague Inge Aldersebaes is leading the effort for OEA Choice Trust and they are working with school districts that reach from north to south and east to west in Oregon. Grantees include districts that have thousands of students to districts that have one K-12 building in their community. Representatives from these schools and districts were present to celebrate and share stories, learn from content experts and get invigorated for this school year.
Four break-outs occurred in the morning and I facilitated one. A survey was sent to grantees asking them what topics they'd like to hear more about and discuss. The four topics included: Engaging and Motivating Employees, Partnering with your Health Plan, Communication for Engagement and Creating Sustainable Employee Wellness Programs.
The breakout I was asked to facilitate was around sustainability; how do we create sustainable school employee health programs? I started by laying the foundation of the topic by talking about the history of Coordinated School Health and the importance of sending consistent messages in a school setting. I used tobacco as an example of how far we've come over the years. I talked about the importance of collaboration versus silos. As a group we reiterated making the case for employee wellness, including cost, strong workforce & community, efficiency, safety, role modeling, consistent messages and the academic performance of students. I addressed the oh-so-popular staff wellness program without creating sustainable change... meaning systems change at a school that creates a 'culture of health'.
I shared what I know are the best practice around sustainable school health programs:
- Developing a School Health Advisory Council
- Gaining Administrator buy-in
- Using a Needs Assessment Tool (like CDC's School Health Index or Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Inventory)
- Aligning school health programs, policies and practices to require education initiatives at the federal, state and local level
I talked about the research behind systems change... it takes time, you need strong leadership, how to address resistance and it's about building relationships and trust.
I shared the Directors of Health Promotion and Education elements of a comprehensive school employee wellness program and shared these websites:
CO Legacy - http://colegacy.org/workplace-wellness/
Kaiser- Thriving Schools- http://thrivingschools.kaiserpermanente.org/
Wellness Council of America- many tools and resources around creating well-workplaces- http://welcoa.org/wellworkplace/
Humana Vitality- a wellness and rewards program https://www.humana.com/vitality/
Finally, I had all my participants discuss what their schools/districts are doing around employee health in the following areas:
- Veteran and military families
- Employee wellness
- Benefits and Health Insurance
- Built Environment
- Talent Management
- Family Friendly workplace
Kudos to OEA Choice Trust and their partners! I hope to make their School Employee Wellness (SEW) Conference March 23-25, 2014 in Bend. Anyone is invited to attend. For more information, click here.