For years, I've attended the Oregon chapter of this same organization. It's the professional organization for educators and faculty in school health education, physical education, recreation and dance. It was my first year attending the KAHPERD conference and I was impressed. Sunday kicked off with a free pre-training (about 60 in attendance!) on the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. It is a free program developed to ensure what happens before, during and after the fitness assessment is beneficial for students and teachers and leads to youth who are active for life.Read More
I took full advantage of being back in Portland for the third time in 3 months, this time at the American School Health Association Conference. Being that I just moved from there to Kentucky less than a year ago, there were plenty of people to connect with, but I focused on my own professional development and networking while in downtown Portland.Read More
A fabulous panel of experts from a variety of backgrounds in obesity work and from across the US opened the 8th Annual Southern Obesity Summit in Louisville, Kentucky last night. Dr. Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health set the stage by sharing what’s happening in Kentucky, both from data and programmatic perspectives, as well as statewide goals to make our state a safer, healthier place to live, play and work.Read More
I'm here in Washington DC for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) annual convening. When I moved to Kentucky, I kept my ears and eyes out for local and state work to become more familiar with my new state. So much of my work takes me all over the country on a regular basis, but doing good in my backyard is incredibly important to me.
A very part-time position with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky was posted and I applied. Since March, I have been a project officer for the Foundation's 6 sub grantees of the SIF. Their projects have been steadily wrapping up, coming to completion at the end of September. I will finish my work with the Foundation at the end of December after all the final reporting is in.
Upon arrival in DC, I randomly texted the VP of Marketing at Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA), Kevin McCartney, a friend and colleague I've met through the Clinton Health Matters Initiative since I saw BGCA Atlanta Charter will be in attendance at the SIF convening. It turns out Kevin was in town for the Youth of Year (YOY) Gala for BGCA. He asked if I had any interest in attending the Congressional Breakfast for YOY the next morning. I was in! My day started with a last minute invite… and one that, as a female was incredibly empowering. It turns out that all 6 nominees were girls/women. Great to see many Senators and Representatives from all over the US in attendance supporting out of school time!
In the afternoon, the SIF convening started with a welcome, panel of women (YAH!) whose lives have been impacted by this work, announcement of new grantees and keynote by Jim Shelton, Deputy Secretary at the US Department of Education. Jim's keynote was more focused on this audience (and rightfully so) than what I might have wanted to hear from the US Department of Education. From my perspective, he contradicted himself, by saying, "It's not just the evidence, but the stories that are important…" But, I wonder, why does Department of Education focus on test scores versus authentic student growth, skills development and learning? That's my educator lens coming out….
I scooted out for a 5 mile run after the days events, but before the evening reception. One of my favorite ways to create balance for myself while on the road is getting out for a run and see the sites. Especially after a long day of meetings without much movement.
We were invited to a reception at the National Geographic Museum, literally in an exhibit called Spinosaurus. Wine, egg rolls, crab cakes and dinosaurs… pretty awesome.
Fred Dust, a Partner at IDEO was the reception speaker and shared innovative ideas including practicing bravery, professional plagiarism (stealing ideas and making them your own), listening and observing with intention. He was engaging, funny and spot on with the intended audience, something I appreciate.
Great beginning to the SIF Convening! Feeling fortunate that I was able to participate and meet so many wonderful people representing fabulous organizations!
Here is an update about what Cairn Guidance has been up to recently. We are so excited to be working in school health, community health and within the content areas of: tele-medicine, after-school programming for youth, school health policies, facilitation, keynoting, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streets, sustainability, curriculum, systems thinking, suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and obesity prevention!
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky- Jess is a part time project officer for the Foundation, overseeing sub-grantee projects around Kentucky. These projects are funded through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and focus on a variety of community health issues. Through the Foundation, Jess was invited to the White House this upcoming Friday for a SIF reception displaying some of the innovative projects being implemented around the country. She is honored to have been invited to participate in this great event!
Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS)- We have just completed a review of PGCPS District Wellness Policy and all other related school health policies, including Bullying/Harassment, Crisis, Recess, Competitive Foods and HIV policies. We are also helping to facilitate a Health and Wellness Team Conference on September 27 for over 100 participants across their school system, representing school nurses, health education teachers, physical education teachers, cafeteria managers and school administrators. I will be keynoting the day to energize participants and helping facilitate school health related information, best practices and sustainability of their school health work. Both the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and ASCD will be present to help support the district’s commitment to being “Great By Choice” and choosing to invest more in health promotion, disease prevention, quality health care while in school for their students, health screenings for their staff and increased family engagement in school health and wellness committees in order to improve academic achievement for ALL students attending their public schools.
American School Health Association (ASHA)- ASHA is in Portland Oct 9-11! Jess will be facilitating the first-timer’s session at ASHA this year, on Friday morning. She is also presenting a workshop on “Creating Lasting School Health Programs,” focused on how to create sustainable school health initiatives.
Alaska Department of Education- Jess will be traveling up to Anchorage in October to facilitate the Systems Thinking; Systems Changing Simulation for districts in Alaska working on chronic disease and school health, some CDC 1305/Quad Grant-selected districts. Jess is excited that this trip falls right after ASHA’s conference in Portland and will allow a couple of days in Seward AK to ‘play’!
Alta Planning/Grand Rapids MI Transportation Project- Cairn Guidance is working with Alta Planning to create a safer, healthier city. We are working on a project funded by the transportation to create a more bicycle/pedestrian friendly city. Cairn’s role will be to create adult-learning modules to promote safe bicycling and walking around the city, during all times throughout the year. We are mentioned in this article on the project.
EVEN- EVEN is an initiative Cairn is helping launch around mental health. The project includes a High School suicide prevention project and will be expanding to address mental health within communities, specifically military and their families, K-12 schools and in work settings addressing employee wellness. More to come on this project!
HYPE Project- Eat Smart, Move More South Carolina partnered with the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to create the Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project. It was created through funding from the Federal Community Transformation Grant Program as a part of the Healthy South Carolina Initiative.
The purpose of the HYPE Project is to motivate and engage youth in policy, systems, and environmental obesity change efforts throughout South Carolina. The HYPE Project will build the skills of youth so that they can become a greater voice in their communities. The HYPE Project activities focus on healthy eating and active living; however, youth are encouraged to use the skills they learn to be lifelong champions of positive change.
Cairn Guidance is reviewing HYPE’s student and facilitator guides in order to strengthen the program. Using their pilot and evaluation feedback and reviewing the program through the lens of the Health Education Analysis Tool, we will provide additions and revisions as needed.
Southern Obesity Summit- Jess will be keynoting this conference on Tuesday, October 7 in Louisville. Her “Do Something Extraordinary” keynote will motivate and energize participants to continue to fight obesity in their communities and set personal wellness goals to take care of their own health.
I'm here! It's gorgeous. 4 months ago when Susan Berry at the Maine Department of Education contacted me about working with them again at the end of June at Sugarloaf Resort, how could I say no? I arrived at 2pm today, took a hike part way up a ski mountain I haven't been to since high school. No joke, this place is in the middle of Maine. It took about 4.5 hours to drive here from Boston this morning. The weather is perfect and it's nice to be here a little early.
Since I'm here for the entire 3-day conference, Susan and I worked together to determine a few opportunities for me to participate in the conference. This conference has been held for 29 years (!) and focuses on school employee wellness. So, tomorrow is the first day and I'll be facilitating the opening energizer to get school teams acquainted and another activity to get the entire group of participants engaged in the topics of the week, including personal wellness, school site wellness and partnership development. Wednesday I will be the opening keynote for the day and Thursday I'll be facilitating a workshop called, "Honing your Stairway Speech" which allows participants opportunities to practice advocacy skills around school health issues. I hope to get some networking time in while kayaking, hiking and enjoying the amazing views from beautiful Maine!
Yesterday, LMAS held it's first-ever LMAS PAL training at a national conference. Judy LoBianco and I facilitated the full-day event and had the opportunity to work with 40 fabulous new PALs from around the country and even the world!
The goal of the training is to bring participants through a process in which they gain knowledge and skills to go home and implement a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. It's actually not a program, but a philosophy or way of incorporating a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity throughout a school day. The core of this work is quality physical education programs, taught by a certified physical education teacher who receives on-going professional development (ideal!). But, reality is that most students do not get 60 minutes of physical education a day. So, how do we incorporate physical activity throughout the day? Before and after-school programs, like walk and bike to school, open gym opportunities. We can promote physical activity during recess including incentives for walking or running laps for students. We can incorporate physical activity within the classroom- any classroom, any subject. For example, yesterday I encouraged participants to get up and make shapes and obtuse and acute angles with their bodies. Why not incorporate math and movement? With all those opportunities to include physical activity throughout the day, it should be no problem for every school in America to provide 60 minutes of physical activity (PA) throughout the day for their students.
So, why do it? Well, obviously the obesity epidemic is on everyone's mind. But, there are a lot more benefits to implementing PA programs. Walking and biking to school means less vehicles on school grounds, which may mean less accidents and can result in better air quality that decreases asthma triggers and increases attendance (asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism related to chronic disease in many state). Walking and biking is also better for the environment and creates safer communities when youth are out and about. That is one example and realizing not every school is walk and bike accessible, there are 100s of other ways to incorporate PA throughout the day. The research on what PA does for the brain is there. It jumpstarts it again! It may lead to higher test scores and academic achievement. PA leads to increased motivation, alertness and attention.
Jump on board! Learn about how you can get in involved in increasing PA for your students (and, I'd include staff in that as well!) by going here!
As a business owner and someone completely immersed in the school health field, I find myself straddling two incredibly different worlds. K-12 schools are a completely different beast as compared to the business community, but both are incredibly important to the work I do.
Nine years ago, as I found myself starting a business with a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I realized I had a lot to learn in order to run a business. And, over the years I've learned an incredible amount about running a business, leadership, managing people and growing with intention. Nine years later, I've sustained a business in a world where most schools still don't prioritize the health and well-being of their students. But, I'd say we are making progress.
I attended an event by Leadership Louisville, an organization I heard about within my first week moving to the city. Yesterday's event was the first ever Best of Leadership Summit. It fulfilled my needs in many ways. Surprising to me, the event addressed both the education and business fields. Education came up in most of the presentations I viewed. I guess it's difficult to talk about our vision for Louisville and a thriving community without addressing education. I was thrilled to be introduced (by Mayor Fischer) to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donna Hargens and have an opportunity to not only share what I do and what I can bring to her school community but also advocated that healthy kids learn better. She said, "I agree." I commended her support of the JCPS Health Committee that I sit on and I'm happy to see that a value under the district's mission statement includes, 'partnerships among schools, families, and community are important for the health and well being of our students'.
I had the opportunity to present "Do Something Extraordinary", a presentation around my 4,197 mile solo bicycle journey across the US this past summer and lessons learned that relate to being a strong leader. It appeared to be well received and many seemed inspired by what I said.
I left feeling inspired by leaders, educators and champions that live locally. I gained knowledge of what is going on in my new community (and why) and met amazing people from all different organizations, government agencies and businesses. From the technology world to media to venture capitalists to politicians. I ran into people I've met over my 5 months here, allowing that feeling of community I so want to be a part of my life. I commend Leadership Louisville for a fabulous event AND creating opportunities in a one-day conference for networking by scheduling 30 minute breaks throughout the day. What an idea! Bravo!
One of the most rewarding parts of the day was the post- celebratory/continuing the conversation meet up after the event at Sidebar with 6 of us. We had deep, meaningful conversations, literal handshakes across fries and drinks to collaborate on events, programs and local opportunities. A promise for UofL basketball game invitations next season and scheming on how to make this a stronger community; "The Best' as Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says!
I am asked often, how, eleven years ago, at 27 years old, I came to oversee K-12 Health Education at the Oregon Department of Education. And now at age 38, I am a national school health consultant with current/pending Department of Education clients in Alaska, Missouri, Connecticut, Maine and organizations such as Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado Legacy Foundation, Kentucky Youth Health Network and Let's Move Active Schools.
I attribute my success to many things. Internally, it comes from determination and passion for the work. I am obviously skilled at what I do around adult learning- facilitation/speaking/training, curriculum and program development, networking, building partnerships and collaborating.
My business skills? They are decent. That brings me to, Who's on my team?, something I will be talking about tomorrow at the Leadership Louisville's Best of Summit. Who inspires you? Supports you in your profession? 9 years ago I found myself starting a school health consulting business with little to no business background. I hired a fabulous business coach, MJ Petroni from Causeit, Inc. who is still my advisor and mentor today. Others on my team include my accountant, financial advisor Koko Hunt and professional mentors like Gary English, Ginny Ehrlich, Susan Telljohann and John Henry-Ledwith. People I can confide in to ask their opinion about ethics, content, processes. Creating a strong team will help you be successful in your work.
Continuing education is another driver/support. Since I was an undergraduate student at Ithaca College I attended statewide professional conferences. I still attend at least two national conferences a year. I not only go to network and gain more skills and knowledge within the field of school health, but I submit proposals and share experiences, my expertise, projects and programs. People view me as a strong, passionate leader and from that, I build relationships and partnerships and collaboration opportunities. Sometimes it leads to new work.
I read my professional journals and reach out to those that are strangers but have a similar passion to mine. I have coffee dates like they are going out of style. I do pro-bono projects often. I give back. I blog and process what I'm doing. I share documents and things I've developed with others to adapt and use.
Who can push you forward, even out of your comfort zone so growth occurs. Consider who's team you are on. Who do you inspire? Who are you are mentor to? Are you proud of your work? Are you a role model in your personal and professional life? What can you work on to walk the talk?
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!