Get Moving: Regular Exercise Can Help Kids Excel in School PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:36

012116sch3Physical activity may not be the first thing parents or teachers think about when they want to boost a child’s academic performance, but evidence supports the notion that a bit of exercise for the body is beneficial to the brain as well.

So how can you incorporate more healthy habits into your family’s routine?

• Active weekends: Instead of a lazy Saturday or Sunday, get outside and get moving. Take a soccer ball to the park for a pick-up game or hike a local trail. Make exercise on the weekends a regular habit for your family, and those habits will extend to the rest of the week as well.

• Fuel throughout the day: A hearty breakfast sets kids up for a great day. Follow that up with a healthful, satisfying lunch and snacks such as nuts and fruit, to help kids avoid the pitfalls of the junk food machines.

• Cook together: Take-out is great when you’re crunched for time, but be sure to cook at home at least a few times a week. Not only are homemade meals one of the only ways you can be exactly sure of what you’re feeding your family, but the act of cooking together is a great opportunity to impart some lessons about nutrition and eating right.

• Bed time: Adequate sleep is crucial for a healthy, functional mind and body. Setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it is best to ensure kids get a full night’s rest.

• Volunteer to get your school involved: Children should have one hour or more of physical activity daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, physical education class may not be sufficient.

Investigate what other opportunities your child’s school has for physical activity, such as before school programs or after school sports. If your school doesn’t have such a program in place, look into starting one at your school.

Healthy habits will not only reduce your child’s risk for such problems as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, they can help prime children for more success inside the classroom and beyond. So give your children a leg up and encourage them to get moving.

To learn more, visit

— StatePoint

CAPTION: Healthy habits will not only reduce your child’s risk for such problems as obesity and heart disease, they can help prime children for more success inside the classroom and beyond.

Is Your Child Being Bullied? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:31

012116sch4There are few parents who don’t occasionally worry about whether or not their child is being bullied at school.

In recent years, the issue has gained national attention, and efforts to educate students, parents and teachers on how to stop bullying have made a big impact, but the problem is still prevalent.

Seventy percent of kids report they have seen bullying in their schools, prompting the founding of initiatives such as Stop Bullying: Speak Up, whose mission is to encourage kids to tell parents, teachers or another adult about bullying when they see it.

At the heart of such efforts is the idea that bullying can be stopped through positive relationship building. Strong, interpersonal relationships between children can stop bullying before it starts.

But how is this to be accomplished? The following tips are simple steps families and educators can take to encourage meaningful relationships and help put an end to bullying.

•Take a pledge: Having kids take a pledge to stop bullying is a great way to lay out clear guidelines on what they should do if they see bullying, who to tell and how to comfort the kid who is bullied.

The Speak Up Pledge provides clear guidelines for how to respond to bullying. Teach kids to be friendly to someone who’s getting picked on. Kids who are bullied often need a friend, they’re misunderstood and a little kindness can go a long way.

Letting them know it’s not their fault is an important step to cultivating kindness and respect.

•Build trust: Establishing trust makes it more likely kids will report bullying to an adult when they see it. Adults can build trust as simply as saying hello, asking how a kid’s day is going, and most importantly, by listening.

•Books: Assigning or reading a book with kids that addresses bullying is a great way to begin a dialogue and to build trust. Such books allow kids to identify with incidents they have experienced and give them strategies to deal with bullying in their own lives.

There are many valuable resources available for teachers looking to design a syllabus and for parents looking for a selection of titles that deal with bullying.

Build relationships through a diversity club: Victims of bullying are often singled out because they are different.

Encouraging kids about the value of inclusion and to respect differences, whether it has to do with ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities or just behavioral differences, makes everyone happier and is an important way to stop bullying before it begins.


CAPTION: Establishing trust makes it more likely kids will report bullying to an adult when they see it.

Help Eliminate Homework Hassles PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:27

012116sch1Do your children consistently make excuses for not doing their homework? Is your peaceful family time cut short by a homework tug-of-war?

If so, you are not alone. Many parents often lack the skills to effectively deal with this conflict and motivate their children to do their homework. Fortunately, these skills are not difficult to learn.

According to Education Specialist Dr. Mary Mokris there are seven motivation skills that parents can learn that will make homework time easier:

1. Set up a proper study area: a place that is quiet, well lit and free from distractions.

2. Institute a daily homework time, preferably at the same time each day, before or right after dinner. Children need a solid eight to nine hours of sleep daily.

3. Encourage children to do homework on their own. Read directions together, provide examples and help organize-but help with the assignment only after the child attempts it on his or her own.

4. Praise, praise, praise your child. Praise effort, not perfection. Tell your children the things you like about what they are doing-or have done. For children to succeed, parents must send a message that they have confidence in them.

5. Choose an incentive that the child will appreciate, such as stickers, a certificate, a special treat or one-on-one time with parents.

6. Communicate assertively and tell your children that you expect them to do their homework. Repeat your expectations in a clear, firm voice. Let them know there are consequences-including failing grades-for not completing homework. Consider taking away privileges like television or computer time if they do not comply.

7. Form a partnership between parent and teacher with open communication between home and school.

Through setting goals, positive parenting and effective communication, parents can help motivate their children to take homework seriously, develop skills, and benefit from the discipline that homework provides, such as hard work, perseverance and the confidence to overcome challenges.

North American Precis Synd., Inc.

CAPTION: Praise and encouragement can help motivate a child to do homework. Focus on positive behavior, not negative.

Healthier Together: Health of the Family Starts With Parents PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:24

Want your kids to eat right and get moving more? With childhood obesity being a major problem in this country, this sentiment is top of mind for many parents. But you have more power than you may realize to steer them in the right direction, say experts.

Parents have more potential than anybody else to influence their children’s behavior — including their eating habits — according to a study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, parents outrank sports celebrities as the people most children would most like to be, according to the survey.

“You are the most influential role model in your child’s life,” says Kim Larson, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson. “Modeling healthy eating behaviors encourages children to adopt and choose healthy behaviors that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Setting Realistic Goals

Small steps add up, and Larson recommends making healthy lifestyle changes that are realistic and easy to stick with for the long-haul. Try adopting healthy changes for the entire family, such as:

• Make sure your kids know they are part of the team and that health and fitness are a family affair.

• Encourage children to help plan meals -- from developing the menu to shopping to preparing and serving the meal.

• Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

• Eat breakfast daily.

• Enjoy family dinner together each night or as often as possible.

• At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

• Get active. Incorporate physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym. Remember, children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.

Focus on Overall Health

Good nutrition, health, and fitness fun should be the focus of your family’s goals, not calorie counting, food restriction or working out.

“You don’t want your kids to think that a healthy lifestyle is only about how much they weigh,” Larson says. “Concentrate on delicious nutrition and fun physical activities,” says Larson.

For a personalized plan tailored to your lifestyle, food preferences and the unique needs of your family, consider consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. You can find one in your area at

— StatePoint

Teach the Importance of Preventative Care PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:29

012116sch2The transition from childhood to adulthood can be overwhelming for parents and teens alike.

Parents know how important it is to manage their child’s health when they are young, ensuring they receive necessary medical care. However, as children become teens and young adults, and begin to take responsibility for their own health, there is often a decline in preventive care.

Preventive care is an important part of staying healthy, but many teens only visit the doctor when they’re sick, or for sports and school physicals.

After age 14, preventive care visits tend to decline. Those ages 11 to 14 have three times more preventive visits than adolescents 14 years and older.

Parents play an important role in helping their teens and young adults navigate independent health choices and decisions. It’s important for parents to create an open dialogue on a wide range of important health topics, including smoking, alcohol, mental health, sexual health and immunizations.

Parents should also encourage their older teen or young adult to schedule regular checkups to ensure their medical information and other necessary medical care is up to date.

These checkups can begin the transition from parental supervised health care to health care that young adults are personally responsible for.

“As children grow older, we often see a decline in regular, proactive health care visits and a gap in health-oriented discussions between teens and young adults and their parents,” says Dr. Michael Resnick, president of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM).

“Parents need tools and resources that can help them directly engage with their children on important health-related issues, like immunizations, and encourage teens and young adults to begin to take responsibility for their own health.”

The societdy has developed and launched the THRIVE app, in collaboration with Pfizer and UNITY Consortium, to empower parents with an interactive resource that provides health information, checklists and conversation starters to help them guide their teen’s transition into adulthood.

Download THRIVE today on your Apple or Android devices or learn more at:

— BrandPoint

CAPTION: The THRIVE app is a comprehensive teen health-oriented mobile app created for parents to help teens and young adults aged 16 to 25 understand their role in and prepare to take ownership over their own health.

Bancroft Goes Green at Cal Game PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 31 December 2015 12:33

123115schWhile cheering for the Cal Bears at a November game against Oregon State, students from Bancroft Middle School also helped football fans compete to compost and recycle. From sorting food-soiled paper to composting popcorn kernels, fans learned how easy it is to keep food scraps out of the landfill at the stadium and at home. Pictured above are Bancroft students Arath Peralta, Wilfred Brown and Kyle Medina, and a female Cal student helper.


Past and Present at St. Felicitas PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 December 2015 12:51

121015sch1The graduating eighth-grade class at St. Felicitas School recently got together to recreate a photo they took back in the second grade.

A few faces have changes and some new students have joined the class, but mostly the same kids had a chance to grow up and learn together over the past six years.

Although they have changed so much the theme still remains the same: to always believe in “Faith, Hope, Love, Peace and now in addition Mercy,” according to instructional assistant Susan Dionisio.

121015sch2Dionisio says those words remain timeless and will always be a part of the journey of life.


St. Felicitas Has the Blues PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 17:59



The students at St. Felicitas normally wear their school uniforms, but last week they were able to wear their jeans as part of a fundraiser. The seventh grade class paid for the privilege of wearing jeans as a fundraiser to send the class to Caritas Creek, an educational camp.

Raiders, California Dairy Families Fuel Up SLUSD to Play 60 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2015 14:39


Over 200 students from San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School are shown with Raiders, Raiderettes and Raider Rusher during the recent “Fuel up to Play 60” event at the school.

102215sch2By Auguste DeRose-Jones • Special to the Times

While some teams utilize their bye weeks to rest up for the remainder of a long and strenuous NFL season, the Oakland Raiders had other plans. Earlier this month, the Raiders teamed up with the California Dairy Families and Fuel Up to Play 60 for a visit to San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School. Players and participants shared in the effort to promote the ideal of a healthier and more active life style.

To support this effort, the Raiders and California Dairy Families awarded the San Leandro Unified School District a $10,000 “Hometown” Grant.

The “Hometown” Grants are part of a larger initiative between both the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 to supply a $10,000 grant to a deserving school district in each of the 32 NFL markets. The grants complement current fitness and wellness initiatives and make a difference in the overall health and wellness of students across the country.

“Today’s event is about the kids and making an effort towards healthy eating and physical activity," said Alyssa McClelland, School Outreach Manager for Fuel Up to Play 60. "The Oakland Raiders do a great job of reaching out into their community and surrounding schools to support healthy eating and today was a perfect example of how they are out in their back yard looking forward to helping the next generation of children.”

In a surprise announcement, Superintendent of SLUSD Mike McLaughlin stated that the district was going to match the $10,000 dollars to help push the Play 60 initiative to other parts of the district.

The enormity of this combined donation had all in attendance overjoyed and excited to be a part of such a district-defining day.

Also present at the event were Oakland Raiders players Lorenzo Alexander, Neiron Ball, Matt McCants and Max Valles.

102215sch3“I was very excited to see the players at my school today” said Christian Martienez, a fifth-grade student at McKinley Elementary School. “ I think that (the Raiders) coming to our school to talk to us is good because it helps children stay fit and play longer every day.”

The excitement of the kids was contagious throughout the event and made the day special for everyone involved, players included. “It's awesome and a blessing to be able to come back and give back to my home," said Lorenzo Alexander, who grew up in the Bay Area and attended St. Mary’s College High School and Cal in Berkeley. "My passion in life is to serve, but anytime you can do it within the community that raised you and helped me get to where I am at today is always much more fulfilling.”

CAPTION 2: San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School students dodge the tackling dummy held by Raiders offensive lineman Matt McCants during the recent “Fuel up to Play 60” event.

CAPTION 3: Oakland Raiders players Lorenzo Alexander, Neiron Ball, Matt McCants and Max Valles greet McKinley Elementary School students at the “Fuel up to Play 60” event.


Happy Birthday to the Principal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 15 October 2015 17:07

101515schThe second graders at St. Felicitas School recently celebrated their principal’s birthday with a special visit. The kids invited principal Meghan Jorgensen to their classroom and recited the Irish Blessing before presenting her with an apple-themed card that read” If principals were apples, we’d pick you.” Pictured above during the celebration are principal Jorgensen, vice-principal Katie Cronin, and teaching assistant Bethany Van Der Haeghen, along with second graders Aston Crow, Dominic Kabiling, Dylan Valentine, Grace Burrell, Janelle Um and Ikenna Amah.


Cool Fundraiser on a Hot Day at St. Felicitas School PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:45

100115n6The students at St. Felicitas School recently celebrated the last few official days of summer and the continuing warm weather by selling popsicles as a fundraiser. The proceeds went to the student council and it was a big success, as the lines were long to grab a cold treat.


Tame the Stress of the Back-to-School Blues PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 09:06

081315sch1Do you or your child have the back-to-school blues? If so, you’re not the only ones.

Saying goodbye to slower summer days can be difficult. For almost three months, you have felt free from the structure of the classroom and the accompanying homework. When the upcoming school year rolls around, it’s common to feel some sadness.

For children who suffer from anxiety, this stress may be harder to handle, and it may stem from more than just pop quizzes and earlier bedtimes.

These children need extra attention as the new school year draws near. The best thing you can do to prepare your child is to give the gift of your time and attention.

Instead of dwelling on things like tests and homework, talk about how to make the transition into the exciting new school year the best it can be.

Lauren Zimet is director of the Early Insights Healthy Foundations Program and a mother. She has pinpointed the top back-to-school tips that will make the transition easier and help to reduce the stress and tension felt by you and your child, not only for the first weeks of school (the hardest time to adjust) but throughout the year as well.

Connected communication: Engage in a conversation with your child and ask what he or she is excited and concerned about for the upcoming school year. Give your child the freedom to speak openly and avoid asking too many questions at once.

You’ll know you are connecting when he starts volunteering information. When you listen to your child, and he can see the genuine interest and attention in your eyes and through your body language, he will feel more comfortable discussing the upcoming year.

Creative calendars: Planning ahead makes adults feel prepared, which is a huge de-stressor. The same goes for your child. Younger children only need a day or two to look forward to their big day.

Older children may benefit from discussing the year weeks before the first day, especially if those conversations include working on things like organization, planning, prioritizing, and sequencing (those important executive functions of the brain).

Visualize the goal: Get specific and help your child visualize the first day of school. Have your child tell you or draw out the sequence of the day, from waking up in the morning, to dressing in an outfit chosen the night before, to what she’ll be enjoying as her brain-boosting energy breakfast.

The more your child can visualize her routine(s), the more she will be at ease when the big day finally arrives.

Load up on brain food. Breakfast is coined “the most important meal of the day,” and rightly so! Food is the fuel for the brain and body, and the quality of the fuel matters. Whatever you choose to give your body and brain each morning will enable you to do a certain level of thinking.

American breakfasts are often unbalanced, heavily favoring carbs, which are only a tiny part of the good-breakfast equation. Encourage your child to pick a protein each morning, as well as fruit, veggie, and healthy fat and carb options.

Employing any of these suggestions will help your child start feeling more excited about the new school year with each passing day.

— BrandPoint

CAPTION: The Philips Lifeline GoSafe system allows you to communicate directly through a pendent device with a response center, who could then dispatch help as needed.