FCPS Wellness Newsletter Winter 2019/2020

FCPS Wellness Newsletter 1 week 3 days ago

Winter 2019/2020


FCPS Wellness Newsletter Wellness Teams

By now, each school should have formed a wellness team and begun to assess their school’s strengths and weaknesses with relation to staff and student wellness. (Regulation 2100 and Policy 2100 are great resources to use when setting goals for strategic improvement.)

Once you have set your goals for the year, begin to plan activities that encourage students and staff to lead a healthier lifestyle. Wellness team reps are encouraged to build collaborative and effective partnerships with families and community members. This partnership will allow wellness teams to plan and support the shared responsibility of creating and promoting healthy school environments and fostering consistent health and wellness messages between the home and school environment.

The information contained in this newsletter will help you plan activities and programs for your school and provide wellness and nutrition information that can be shared with your school community. Additionally, schools may access their wellness reports and the division level executive summary on FCPS Wellness Reporting webpage at https://www.fcps.edu/node/36633.

Please be sure to contact your school Contacts Liaison for any changes to the Wellness Team Reps or Liaisons. 

Wellness Team Resources

The following websites will provide you with guidance on establishing a Wellness Team, setting goals, and planning activities:

Wellness Activities Ideas

Host “Healthy and Active Classroom Celebrations” by incorporating healthier snacks and physical activity into your special events. Action for Healthy Kids—Healthy Classroom will provide you with heart healthy recipes, food art snack ideas, along with coloring sheets and many more activities.

Brain Breaks can be very helpful in the classroom. Teachers can integrate movement-based activities in their classrooms to energize a group after lunch or to calm and relax a class before a test. Go Noodle has a lot of fun videos to get your students moving in a small amount of space.

Encourage staff wellness by hosting contests and challenges specifically for the staff, such as a 10,000 step challenge to motivate staff to walk more. Perhaps a Hydration Promotion to encourage the staff to drink more water. Healthy School Zone has a lot of great ideas for Staff Wellness.

American Heart Month—February is American Heart Month. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Encourage your students, staff and families to live a heart healthy life--

  • Coordinate a day where the entire school wears red to promote a healthy heart
  • Feature healthy eating and physical activity tips in your school newsletter
  • Teach students, staff and families how to manage stress
  • Offer CPR/AED training to staff and older students

For more information see the following links:

Action for Healthy Kids—Celebrate Heart Health Month

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Just a Little Heart Attack

Wellness Education Ideas

Toy Safety Tips: Toys and games can be a lot of fun for kids as well as adults; however, it is important to make sure the toys and games are safe and appropriate for your child. According to SafeKids.org, 262,300 children in the United States were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2011. More than one third of toy related injuries were for children age 4 and under. It is important to remind families about toy safety. Here are some Toy Safety Tips that can be shared with your parents.

Nutrition Information: Eating a balanced diet is very important in the overall well-being of children as well as adults. The following links will provide you with nutrition education resources for your students as well as their families:

Dairy Council of California

Fruits and Veggies More Matters

USDA--My Plate

Exercise Information: Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Not only does physical activity build strong bones and muscles, it can also help prevent heart disease, cancer and stroke. Here are some resources to help your school and community lead a more active lifestyle:

Let’s Move—Make Physical Activity a Part of Your Family’s Routine

Eat Right—Family Exercise Ideas for Every Season

Hats Off!

Bailey's Upper Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences students and teachers kicked off the worldwide Dance for Kindness event. Worldwide choreographer for the event and Bailey's Upper ES Dance and Movement teacher Becky Epstein led the dancers through expressions of kindness which helped students embody the message.

Canterbury Woods Elementary School sponsored a Turkey Trot Fun Run. The SCA sponsored this event to raise funds for the purchase and installation of water bottle filling stations. These stations will be used by staff and students alike. Throughout the year, the Canterbury Woods Elementary School Environmental Club will promote the use of refillable water bottles and raise awareness about the positive impact students and staff can have on the environment.

Employee Health and Wellness News

2019 Employee Wellness Liaison Professional Development

On November 4th, Employee Wellness Liaisons had the opportunity to attend a professional development course hosted by Employee Wellness in partnership with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. During the session, participants had the opportunity to meet and network with other wellness liaisons, learned how to encourage participation and garner leadership support, and received turnkey wellness program ideas. Employee Wellness staff also provided an overview of free wellness resources that can be utilized to continue building a culture of wellness at schools/sites.


Fairfax County Health Department News

Breakup with Stress and Vaping

In our kids’ busy lives, it is very easy to forget the importance of managing stress and finding healthy coping strategies to find balance. There are several simple strategies that you and your kids can use to help manage stress:

  • Promote self-care. Take a walk. Spend a minute focusing on your breathing. Listen to music. Talk to a friend. Laugh.
  • Put down the screens. Disconnect for a little while and reconnect with those around you.

Check out the Health Department/FCPS Facebook Live segment on Stress:


Rates of teen vaping are rising nationwide, and Fairfax County teens are no exception. According to the 2018 Fairfax County Youth Survey, 29.4 percent 12th graders had used a vape product in the last month and 39.3 percent had used a vaping product in their lifetime. There are several things that parents can do to help their children make the right decisions when it comes to vaping:

  • Ask your kids about vaping products. It is never too early to start the conversation. For older kids, let them tell you about what’s going on.
  • Get the facts. SmokeFreeTeen.gov and The Real Cost are great resources for parents and kids.

Check out the Health Department/FCPS Facebook Live segment on Vaping:


or on YouTube here:https://youtu.be/wNmOHB6a6MU

Some kids who suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression, may choose to self-medicate by vaping nicotine which may lead to other drug use in the future. Help your kids make healthy choices by breaking up with stress and vaping!


Food and Nutrition Services News

The Office of Food and Nutrition Services remains committed to serving students fresh and local food as we continue to grow our Salad Bar program. FNS currently has 90 salad bars with 21 more being implemented this school year. By the end of the 2019-2020 school year FNS will have salad bars in 111 Elementary Schools! Our salad bars not only dish up a variety of nutritious and delicious options daily but serve as a great teaching model for students. Through the salad bars elementary school students are given the opportunity to engage in healthy eating practices and reinforce positive behaviors with the anticipation that students will continue to build upon these habits as they continue to grow and learn for years to come! Interested in learning more? Please visit: http://get2green.fcps.edu/SaladBar.html for more information including this year’s Salad Bar Implementation Schedule!

Health and Physical Education News

Health for the Holidays

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

Eat Healthy

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, they help lower the risk for certain diseases.
  • Slowing down during meals sends a signal to our brain telling us we're full which can help maintain portion control.

Stay Active

  • Try taking a walk before or after dinner.
  • Adults should strive for 2.5 hours of exercise per week.
  • Kids and teens should be active for at least 1 hour per day.


  • Our bodies need to refuel at night so try to stick to your typical sleep schedule.

Wash Hands

  • Protect yourself during flu season by washing your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.

Bundle Up

  • Keep yourself warm and dry by wearing appropriate outdoor clothing such as multiple light layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.

Take a Break

  • If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed make time for yourself by giving yourself a break, finding support, connecting socially, and getting plenty of sleep.

Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe

  • Fasten those seatbelts and use safety seats for children based on their height, weight, and age.
  • Practice fire safety plans. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. 

Adapted from: CDC https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html and https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-holiday

Mental Health News


FCPS has partnered with the Fairfax County Health Department to produce a Facebook Live segment on vaping. Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Marty Joyner and School Public Health Nurse Kristy Vitter provided excellent information that is both timely and helpful for parents. Filmed at West Springfield, HS, the video also features Bharat Kalra, a high school student from Marshall. Please see the links to the video in the FCHD News section above.

Additional resources to help kids stay vape-free can be found on the Health Department’s School Health Promotion Toolkit page:


And on FCPS’s page: Vaping: What Students Should Know

2018-19 Fairfax County Youth Survey results are available on-line. The Fairfax County Youth Survey is a comprehensive, anonymous and voluntary survey given each year to students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 that examines behaviors, experiences and other factors that influence the health and well-being of Fairfax County’s youth. The survey also identifies ways that families, schools, and community members can foster resilience in our youth. There is a highlight video and a number of additional resources including an interactive data explorer tool also available.

News from the Office of Safety and Security

Please see the following website for Holiday Safety Tips that will help keep yourself and your family safe this year: https://www.esfi.org/resource/top-10-holiday-safety-tips-337




Make Today Amazing!


FCPS Wellness Newsletter--Fall 2019 Edition

FCPS Wellness Newsletter 3 months 2 weeks ago

Fall 2019


In compliance with requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), the Fairfax County School Board has established a wellness policy (2100) for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) that promotes the health and well-being of students and staff. The components of the local wellness regulation include physical education; physical activity; health education; health services; healthy and safe school environment; counseling, psychological, and social services; health promotion for staff members; family and community involvement; food and nutrition (general); nutrition education, promotion, and food marketing; and nutrition guidelines that influence student and staff health and wellness.

As part of the requirements of Regulation 2100, schools shall develop and establish a wellness committee to implement activities that support the wellness policy. Schools are encouraged to invite and include staff, parents and/or guardians, community members, students, and the school public health nurse to be a part of the school’s wellness committee.

All schools are asked to identify two school based Wellness Team Representatives and one Staff Wellness Liaison. Each school should update this information in the Contacts Database.

Roles of Wellness Team Members

Teacher and students dribbling basketballs

  • Plan and Implement activities that support the Wellness Policy and help to improve student and staff health and wellness
  • Invite and encourage staff, students, parents and/or guardians, and members of the community to participate
  • Serve as a liaison in school communities to share student and staff wellness information
  • Provide support, as requested by the principal, for school based wellness reporting
  • Provide Wellness Team contact updates to the Contacts Liaison for your school. 
Wellness Team Resources

Do you need some help getting started with your Wellness Committee? The following links will provide you with information and resources to help you along the way:

The FCPS Wellness Policy (P2100) and the FCPS Wellness Regulation (R2100) can be viewed on the policies and regulations page located here: https://www.fcps.edu/policies-and-regulations

Action for Healthy Kids—Game On

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Wellness Policies

CDC—Local School Wellness Policy

Fuel Up to Play 60

Hallways to Health

USDA—Tools for Schools

2018-2019 Wellness Reporting Now Available

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHJFKA) requires each local education agency (LEA) that participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) to develop a Local Wellness Policy (LWP) that meets the newly expanded requirements outlined in the final rule of the HHFKA, as well as provisions related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting the progress.

FCPS schools completed wellness reporting via survey in May 2019. Individual school reports and the division level executive summary are now available on the FCPS Wellness Reporting webpage at https://www.fcps.edu/node/36633

Ideas for School Wellness Activities and Information

Team Nutrition has a variety of back to school health and wellness ideas and resources. Some examples include:

  • MyPlate handouts, posters, bingo cards  and  recipes
  • Taste test ballots
  • School garden resources
  • Family fun night resources

Team Nutrition also has a free Popular Events Idea Booklet with ideas for 20 themed events, both large and small. The booklet includes handouts, templates and other free resources to support these events.

Healthy and Active Fall Celebrations

Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving is a great time to remind your school community about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why not plan a Turkey Trot, a Pumpkin Run, or even a Pie Burner Run for your students and their families? Maybe you want to have a simple but healthy classroom celebration. Here are some tips to help plan a healthy and active Fall celebration:

Fun and Healthy Thanksgiving Treats for Kids

Healthier Generation-How to Host a Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot Ideas for your School

Hats Off!

Students walking to school

International Walk to School Day

Hats Off to the many schools who participated in this year’s International Walk/Bike to School Day on October 2nd. Each year, students and staff in over 40 countries participate in this global event which promotes physical activity and helps to reduce traffic congestion and pollution near schools. This event has also inspired safer routes to schools. Please see the following websites for more information:

Walk & Bike to School Day

Safe Routes to School


Your Health Matters

Hats Off to Liberty Middle School for beginning a new program titled “Your Health Matters.” This program promotes a healthy lifestyle by providing information in the morning announcements and through their News You Choose Newsletter. So far this year, Liberty Middle School students and staff have learned about healthy eating (myplate.gov), processed foods, and the importance of water for your body. What a great way to provide information to the school community!


Family Nutrition Program

Hats Off to Rose Hill Elementary School  and the Virginia Cooperative Extension for offering a free Family Nutrition Program. This program guides the participants to make healthy choices, practice new food preparation skills, save money at the grocery store and discover ways to become more active. This is a wonderful way to learn how to eat smart and move more.


Would you like to share how your school is encouraging staff and student wellness? Please send a short description of your program or activity to Teresa Gallahan @ tlgallahan@fcps.edu

Employee Health and Wellness News  

Thriving Schools Minigrant Projects

In the fall of 2018, schools had the opportunity to earn a $2,500 grant through the Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools Minigrant Program. The competitive grant was awarded to 20 schools within FCPS to and funds were used to promote teacher/staff health and wellness. Winning schools implemented their proposed projects in the spring of 2019. Projects included staff break room makeovers, installing water bottle refilling stations, and purchasing fitness and food preparation materials for staff use.

Bren Mar Park Elementary School Remodeled Break Room

Colin Powell Elementary School Remodeled Break Room

Key Center School Fitness Equipment

Glasgow Middle School Food Preparation Equipment

Food and Nutrition Services News

The Office of Food and Nutrition Services welcomes back all students to an exciting new school year! For faster processing time, families are encouraged to reapply for Free and Reduced-Price Meals online at https://www.myschoolapps.com/Application by October 8, 2019. If you wish to use a paper application, please contact your school’s main office or the Food and Nutrition Office at (703) 813-4800.

FNS is committed to providing all students healthy and nutritious meals throughout the year. Families can view FCPS school menus with photos, nutrition facts and allergen information (as applicable) by visiting the NutriSlice website at https://fcps.nutrislice.com/menu. NutriSlice is also available as a free app families can download onto their smart phone. Using NutriSlice allows families and students to plan for their school day ahead of time. If your student plans to purchase any menu items don’t forget to reload money onto your student’s cafeteria account using your www.MySchoolBucks.com account.

Fairfax County Health Department News

Flu season is around the corner! Now’s the time to get your flu shot! They best way to prevent the flu is to vaccinate against the virus every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu causes more hospital visits among young children than all other preventable diseases. The flu vaccine is recommended for any child ages 6 months and older as well as adults – especially those who work with high risk individuals or people who suffer from chronic illnesses.


Vaccinations are available at your local pharmacy, doctor’s office, health clinics or the Fairfax County Health Department: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/flu/fight-flu. And remember, along with your flu shot there are several other ways you can protect yourself this season:

  1. Wash your hands often.
  2. Protect yourself from those who may be sick.
  3. Get plenty of rest.
  4. Cover your cough.
  5. Stay home whenever you are ill.

Although the timing of flu season is unpredictable, seasonal flu activity typically begins in October and can last until May. It is recommended that you take action sooner rather than later to fight this serious, yet preventable disease.

Lastly, the CDC provides additional resources that will help you maintain optimal health this year. Be sure to check out the video below and learn more about how you can #FightFlu (Source: CDC).

Flu Can Be Very Serious

Health and Physical Education News

Hollin Meadows Elementary School has a traffic garden on their blacktop. What is a traffic garden?


A traffic garden is a series of lines and markings that allow students to practice their bike safety skills on a simulated road interacting with other bicyclists and the traffic signs. Pictured below is Hollin Meadow’s principal, Jon Gates, a champion of bike programs. The FCPS Safe Routes to School program provides opportunities for students to gain bike skills and bike and pedestrian safety knowledge. Another component of the program is promoting active transportation and physical activity. International Walk to School Day in October and Bike to School Day in May are two events that students, parents, and community members can engage in to support active transportation and increasing physical activity.


One quarter of all trips in the U.S. are 1 mile or less, and yet most of these trips are taken by car. Increasing walking and biking reduces traffic congestion and the cost of road maintenance. A one-mile walk takes less than 20 minutes. For the physical health and wellbeing of students, parents, families, and the community, consider opportunities to enjoy the fall weather by walking or biking to school, work, and places in your neighborhood. Active transportation increases activity levels, lowers stress, reduces air pollution, and reduces those long Kiss and Ride lines. Help ensure a healthy community – put down the car keys and walk, bike, or use another mode of active transportation.


Mental Health News

Please join us for FCPS' 6th Annual Mental Health and Wellness Conference! The event will be held:


Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019

Time: 8:00 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m.:  FCPS Mental Health and Wellness                    Conference            

           12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.:  Inova's Act on Addiction Summit

Place: Fairfax High School

We are proud to partner with Inova and Kaiser Permanente on this year’s conference. The morning will focus on social and emotional learning, with a keynote address given by Dr. Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. A special session for high school students, the Our Minds Matter Teen Summit, will take place in the morning as well. Inova will be presenting the Act on Addiction Summit, which will be held from 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Breakout sessions, exhibit tables, and resources will be available to all attendees throughout the day.


FCPS and the Fairfax County Health Department have created a PSA on student stress. Learn about stress, resources, and healthy ways students can manage their reactions from a public health nurse, school psychologist and students from McLean HS.


News from the Office of Safety

Halloween Events: Make It Fun, Keep It Safe

Halloween is one of the fall season’s highlights for our students, and many schools plan special events to celebrate the occasion. Here are a few tips to help event planners.

HAUNTED HOUSES – Is your event going to be a Haunted House? If so, a permit from the Fire Marshal may be required. The key design factor that defines an event as a “Haunted House” is the creation of an environment that results in the egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions. A maze constructed inside a darkened room would be considered a Haunted House and would have to meet all of the requirements of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC.) NOTE: If your school is not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system, a Haunted House will NOT be approved by the Fire Marshal! ALTERNATE EVENTS – The restrictions and costs of creating a true Haunted House can be avoided by changing the design of your event. Here are two options:

  • If individual classrooms are used for different “themes”, then the requirement of non-combustible decorations does not apply, even if your school does not have a fire sprinkler system. Remember to not have decorations in the halls. No permit is required.
  • A “Haunted Village” can be created in the cafeteria or gymnasium that features booths around the perimeter walls that can be individually decorated. If the emergency egress is not confusing, it doesn’t need to meet the requirements for Haunted Houses. No permit is required.


Soccer Goal Safety

Soccer balls

“I don’t really worry about the dangers, but I never would have thought that would happen,” said a parent after a ten-year-old boy was killed in May 2007 in Winchester, Virginia after a soccer goalpost fell on top of him, crushing him to death. Portable goals can be unsafe because they are unstable when they are either unanchored or not properly anchored or secured. All local youth athletic leagues’ portable goals and FCPS portable goals used on non-competition athletic fields (Middle and Elementary schools) must be properly secured into the ground during use and stored off the athletic fields using chains to mitigate any turnover risk per FCPS Safety Manual, Regulation 7350.2P, Chapter 7, IV, A. Physical education staff should routinely check any goals on their sites for compliance.

For more information please contact Safety and Security at:

(571) 423-2010



TODAY IS YOUR DAY To START fresh. To EAT right. To TRAIN hard. To LIVE healthy. To BE proud.


-Bonnie Pfister
21 hours 2 minutes ago
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