Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips on how to snack in a healthy way

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

(this message fits into the PdC Public School staff challenge of MAINTAIN, NO GAIN over the Holidays season)

We all need a snack here and there during the day, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to snack.

Several warnings surround snacking if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, but if you’re picking the right snack, it can actually be beneficial and stop you from munching more at later meals. By snacking, you can satisfy your hunger and stop yourself from consuming hundreds of extra calories a day by not overeating at the next meal. Advice from health professionals about snacking can include not keeping junk food in the house, and watching out for nutrition labels, especially on foods advertised as “low-fat” or “fat-free.”

In addition to this snacking wisdom, lots of healthy snack habits exist to help fight off hunger and control weight.

1. Don’t snack where you slack: Designate certain snacking zones like the kitchen, and avoid eating in front of the TV. Pairing snacking with watching TV can create an association that could lead to mindless munching.

2. Power up with grains: Looking for some energy from your snack? Look to whole grains like whole-grain pretzels or cereals that will provide a lasting boost.

3. Snacks can be sweet: If you find yourself not being able to deny your sweet tooth, mix in low-fat puddings, frozen yogurt, or frozen fruit bars as an alternative to other, more sugary treats.

4. Go nuts!: Nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts can be filling snacks that may also improve your heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Information from:
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tips to help students to stay healthy in cold/flu season

This Mayo Clinic Health Note is something school staff and parents are all too familiar with - students getting sick from all the germs getting spread around. Here are some tips that can help your student stay healthy.

Does it seem like school age children are always coming down with something? When children are at school they are exposed to a lot of different germs and bacteria, putting their immune systems to the test. In addition to getting a goodnight’s sleep, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, those at school can take other precautions to stay healthy.

1. Hand-Washing. Frequent hand-washing can help prevent spreading disease. Hand-washing should occur before eating, after going to the bathroom and blowing one’s nose, and also playing outside.

2. Hand Sanitizer. Using hand sanitizer before eating and after sharing communicable objects like pencils sharpeners or a computer mouse can help kill the bacteria that can linger on these community objects.

3. Cover Up. If sick, try to avoid coughing or sneezing into the open air by using a tissue, or if a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow.

4. Hands Off. Bacteria can enter through the open areas of the body like the eyes or mouth. Keeping hands out of these areas can prevent the spread of disease by not allowing these bacteria into the body. Not sharing personal items like water bottles or food can also stop the spread of bacteria this way.

5. Stay Vaccinated. Staying up to date on vaccinations, especially the yearly flu vaccine can help kids be healthy and stay in school.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tips on how your family can get more rest

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

As the kids get back to school, we hear a lot about how important it is for them to get a good night's sleep. The same is true for adults. Getting the right amount of sleep can be essential to staying healthy by letting your body have enough time to restore and heal during nighttime hours. The amount of sleep everyone needs varies depending on age, but a good rule of thumb is 9-11 hours for school-age children, and 7-8 hours for adults. Often the many factors in our busy lives can interfere with the required amount of sleep needed each night, but you can take steps to try to help yourself or your child get the right amount of shuteye.
  1. Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends or holidays, to help create a consistent sleep pattern. However, if you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something else to avoid agonizing over falling asleep.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink: Being hungry or too full when going to bed can cause too much discomfort to fall asleep.
  3. Have a bedtime ritual: Create a ritual in which you do the same things before bed every day to help tell your body it’s time to wind down.
  4. Be comfortable: Work on a sleep environment that is comfortable to you, this often means cool, quiet, dark, and bedding that suits you.
  5. Limit daytime naps: Napping during the day can interfere with sleep at night. If you do nap, try to take the nap in the midafternoon and limit it to 10-30 minutes.
  6. Exercise: Including daily exercise can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper. Exercising too close to bed however can interfere with sleep by increasing energy.
  7. Manage Stress: Working on managing the daily stressors in life can help calm your mind and provide peaceful sleep. Before bed, try jotting down what is stressing you out and set it aside to be dealt with tomorrow.
From: Amy A. Every; Mayo Clinic Health System

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Are dietary supplements needed?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Supplements vs. Whole Foods:

It is important to meet your nutritional needs mainly through your diet, but what if you struggle to get the nutrition you feel you need? Is it ok to take a supplement instead? Some supplements may be a useful way to get the nutrients you may be lacking, but they cannot measure up to the benefits and nutrients of whole foods. 

Therefore, before you start ingesting supplements, it is very important to know and understand what they will and will not do. If you are usually healthy and eat a wide variety of foods each day, you probably do not need to take a supplement. On the other hand, if you do not consume enough calories each day, are a vegan or vegetarian and do not eat a wide variety of foods, are a woman and have heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle, or have a medical condition in which your body does not properly absorb nutrients, you could consider talking to your doctor about what supplement would be best for you.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bronze Boys Of Prairie Du Chien


Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is a portrait of small-town America. It’s the type of place where everyone waves to each other, where people marry their high school sweetheart, where blue-collar men work at the local factory. Set along the eastern banks of the Mississippi River, the town is home to less than 6,000 people — making it highly unlikely, by just about any statistical calculation, that even one Olympic bronze medalist would come from there. Imagine the odds of two.

More than that, imagine that those two just happened to have graduated in the same class of less than 130 kids. Such is the case for Matt Antoine, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in skeleton, and Joe Delagrave, 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist in wheelchair rugby. Their stories are the same. Their stories are very different.

Click on the picture below to read the rest of the article

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Digital Library on Formative Assessment Tools and Practices is coming

Excerpt from memo from Troy Couillard; Wisconsin DPI Director Office of Student Assessment

Digital Library Rollout: June 3

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is committed to creating an integrated, balanced assessment system that provides actionable information to help teachers prepare students for college and careers. This system includes next-generation summative and interim assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The Digital Library on Formative Assessment Tools and Practices is also a key component of this system. The Digital Library is a searchable, interactive online tool composed of instructional and formative assessment resources that have been selected by educators and screened against a set of Quality Criteria established by experts.

For more information on the Digital Library, see the webinar “Quality Criteria for the Digital Library,” available at:

Smarter Balanced invites district and school staff in member states to preview the Digital Library from June 3 through September 30, 2014. During the preview, the Digital Library will contain initial functionality and a limited set of initial resources that will help educators understand the future utility of the Digital Library.

The process for districts to register users for the Digital Library preview includes filling out a template of user information and uploading it to a secure site. The template and instructions for preparing it for user registration will be available in mid-May. At that time, districts may use the template to prepare the list of users whom they want to be able to access the preview beginning on June 3, 2014.

This preview is an exciting opportunity to try out user rating, review, and comment features on the Digital Library resources, as well as collaboration features that encourage conversation among educators from across the Consortium. Smarter Balanced welcomes widespread participation in this preview and encourages districts to register all interested educators and promote their use of the Digital Library this summer and during professional development activities at the start of the next school year.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summary of changes coming on the New SAT

From USDE:

A revised version of the SAT, widely noted by the education press and of much interest to many students, parents, and academic counselors, was introduced last month by the College Board. The revision, representing the first major changes to the test since 2005, reverts to the pre-2005, 1,600-point scale (from the current 2,400 point scale) by making optional the essay part of the exam, formerly required since 2005. The revised test, to be administered starting in spring 2016, will have three sections: “Evidence-based reading and writing,” mathematics, and the optional essay. This article focuses on the eight major changes to the SAT, as explained by the College Board.

The focus of the new test is on requiring students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the few essentials that matter most for readiness for and success in college. A first major change in the evidence-based reading and writing section is the ability to use relevant words for a given context.

Second, test takers will be required to interpret, synthesize, and employ evidence to demonstrate their understanding and command of evidence in a variety of sources. In a third significant change, the redesigned essay section will ask students to explain how the author builds the argument in an assigned passage. The test takers will be required to demonstrate close reading and careful analysis of the text, as well as clear writing.

The fourth change pertains to the mathematics section of the SAT. This section will delve more deeply than does the current SAT into three essential areas of mathematics: (1) Problem solving and data analysis—quantitative literacy for solving problems; (2) the “heart of algebra”—mastery of linear equations and systems; and (3) “passport to advanced mathematics”—knowledge and manipulation of more complex equations. The SAT will sample other mathematical topics, but the focus will be on these three.

Change five redesigns the SAT to engage test takers with questions “grounded in the real work,” that is, questions that are representative of those encountered in college and in the workplace.

Asking test takers to apply their skills in reading and writing, and their knowledge of language and mathematics to respond to questions in the domains of science, history, and social studies constitutes the sixth major change.

Another, seventh, change to the SAT will engage test takers with ideas addressed in the founding documents of the United States or in the “great global conversation”—issues focusing on, “freedom, justice, and human dignity.” The goal with this change is to focus on what is important to know to be a citizen.

The eighth major change removes the penalty for wrong answers in the new SAT. The current SAT penalizes students for wrong answers. In the new SAT students earn points for correct answers.

This summary provides an overview of the major changes to the SAT. Interested readers will want to examine these changes and their implications in more detail. The College Board will provide the complete specifications of the new SAT along with sample items for each of the eight sections on its website in mid-April.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Struggling with trying to quit using tobacco?

Health Note from Mayo Clinic: A number of different strategies for Tobacco Cessation can be successful. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you.

What kind of strategies have you tried to help break your smoking habit? Some people want to stay away from nicotine-based treatments like nicotine gum or the transdermal patch, because they want to stay completely away from nicotine. One natural way to quit smoking is "cold turkey." For some, using willpower alone to quit smoking may seem unmanageable, but according to a large study by the American Public Health Association, this method was used by 85% of all successful long-term quitters. Plus, it’s the cheapest option. Pick a realistic target quit date and decide what you are going to do with the cash you will be saving. Having something in mind that you want to spend the money on can give you an extra push of motivation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is another natural way to quit smoking, where the individual works with a therapist who helps redirect the smoker’s mind away from nicotine. This type of therapy has helped smokers identity what causes their cravings and reinforces healthy behaviors to replace the nicotine.
Lastly, self-help books can also assist in breaking smoking habits. Allen Carr says in his book, Easy Way to Stop Smoking, “Once smokers lose their fear, it really is easy. The idea that smoking provides any genuine pleasure or crutch is a delusion. The stress that nicotine supposedly relieves is actually created by the nicotine itself - We remove this delusion.” So when you’re ready to quit, know that the many possibilities to help you make that change will be available, and hopefully that behavior change will be a permanent one.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stop stressing, start living

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note: Daily life presents us with all kinds of stresses. How can you be sure you’re handling those stresses in a safe and effective way?

Stop stressing, start living. We all know that chronic stress can be unhealthy for us, especially when we “handle it” in unhealthy ways. Learning to deal with stress appropriately is more important than trying to remove it completely.

So how can you better manage your stress? There are many ways, but one important one is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your judgment, making you more likely to break at petty irritations. It is also important that you prepare for your responsibilities by setting small realistic goals for both big and small tasks. Stress tends to pile on when we run out of time or unplanned events come up, but by preparing ahead of time and managing your time with those unplanned events in mind, you deviate away from stress. Also, when possible cut back on your obligations or delegate work to others. Give yourself permission to say “no” once in a while! With fewer commitments you will have more time for yourself and less things to stress over.

To learn more, visit:

Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” update:

From: Michelle L Breuer RN, BSN; Crawford County Public Health

 As some of you may know, Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” continues to be in our community and our surrounding communities as well. Due to this illness continuing to circulate we felt it was important to provide further educational materials to all of our Crawford County Schools to disseminate to teachers, staff, parents, etc. Click any of these three links for more information: 

Cold, Flu, or Pertussis?

Parent Information on Whooping Cough

Protect Babies from Whooping Cough

As a reminder Tdap and DTap vaccine is available through Crawford County Public Health or other county public health offices at no charge at this time, regardless of insurance status. The vaccine is also available through individual medical providers. If someone is unsure if they are up-to-date with their vaccines they can contact us and we would be happy to check the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) for them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brand name or generic drugs—do you know the difference?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Consumerism:

Do you know the difference between brand name drugs and generic drugs? If you’ve been buying brand name drugs due to uncertainty over whether the generic equivalent is sufficient, you may be surprised.

There are many myths about generic drugs, mainly that they are significantly different from the brand name drug. If you’re a consumer who sticks to buying brand name drugs because of uncertainty, you’re likely spending more money than needed. Brand name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients and both have to meet the same FDA regulations before being approved and put on the market. For example, generics need to meet the same standards for strength, quality, and purity as brand name drugs. In addition, the generic drug must prove that it provides an identical or almost identical blood level to that of the brand name drug.

Why are generic drugs cheaper?

Generic drugs are cheaper because the companies producing those drugs do not have to spend time and money on research, development, clinical trials, marketing and advertising. Additionally, when two or more drug manufacturers make a drug, the price is 50-95% cheaper than the brand name drug.

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any generic alternatives to the brand name drugs you are taking. There may not always be a generic alternative, but it’s worth asking. Whether it’s a drug that’s prescribed once or one you will have to take the rest of your life, taking the generic form will save you money.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are you meeting the physical activity recommendations for aerobic activity according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Physical Activity Intensity, and Daily Requirements

Do you know the difference between moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity? How can you be sure you’re getting enough aerobic activity in your daily lives?

The CDC suggests that adults take part in 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Another option is to do 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. Here are some examples of moderate and vigorous aerobic activities:

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes any activity that raises your heart rate and causes you to break a sweat. Examples include: Fast paced walking, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground, playing doubles tennis, and pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is any activity that causes you to breathe hard and fast. At this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing to take a breath. Examples include: jogging or running, swimming laps, riding a bike fast or on hilly terrain, playing singles tennis, or playing basketball.

It's OK to start small! You don't need to do your activity all at once. Three ten-minute segments still add up to 30 minutes! And remember, even 10 minutes is better than nothing. All types of activities count, as long as you are doing them at a moderate to vigorous intensity level for a minimum of ten minutes at a time.

Visit for more information.

Monday, January 27, 2014

PdC Public Dance Team going to State!

 From Coach Kelli Saxe:

The Hawkettes qualified for state Saturday at their regional dance competition. They earned a 2nd place plaque in the high kick category, which was quite an accomplishment because most of the teams at our regional in this category were much bigger schools than us. We made history!!! We are the first PDC dance team to ever make it to state :) It was an AWESOME moment to be a part of! State dance is held at the Lacrosse Center this coming Saturday. The team will perform at about 12:52 pm I am told. We will have a tshirt order coming out soon, if anyone is interested. Please, please consider attending our state performance. The girls will be so pumped to have some fan support!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Health Note on Nutrition and Weight Management

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

Now that the holidays are over, we may find ourselves battling some extra weight. The cold weather makes it a bit easier for us to give into not-so-healthy eating and exercise habits. Below, you can learn more about losing that extra winter weight.

The cold weather can make it a lot more tempting to give in to comfort foods and set your daily exercise routine aside, often leading to a bit of extra "insulation." Here are some tips on how to avoid winter weight gain.

1. Get Moving: Regular exercise is key to maintaining or losing body weight regardless of the season, but to help burn off extra calories consumed during the holidays and winter months, maximize your usual workout routine by boosting the amount of time you spend exercising, or increasing the intensity of your exercise.

2. Aim for seven-a-day: Fruits and vegetables are a great way to fill up your stomach without going overboard on your daily caloric intake. Increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake to seven- a-day by preparing bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruit. These pre-packaged bags are perfect for a quick snack on the go, at work, or in the car.

3. Limit to one-a-day: With the one-a-day method, only allow yourself one small serving of a dessert each day. Reserve your one-a-day dessert for something that is truly tasty, not something that isn’t even really worth the calories.

Learn more at:

Thank you to Dental Associates for free dental care day for children

Monday, January 20, 2014

Good news on the Wisconsin state budget situation

From SAA:

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released new revenue numbers, increasing the projected ending balance by $911.9 million. The increased projections include all enacted legislation through Act 116. According to the LFB memo, the $911.9 million is the combined result of an increase of $892.7 million in estimated tax collections and a $16.0 million increase in estimated lapses to the general fund.

LFB said the revenue projections and new general fund condition statement do not include any changes to the medical assistance program. The December 2013 quarterly report from DHS projected a potential shortfall of $92.6 million in the 2013-15 biennium.

Under state statutes half of any excess of actual general fund tax revenues in a fiscal year, over the amount included in the biennial budget act, must be placed in the budget stabilization fund after the close of that fiscal year. The LFB memo shows the difference between 2013 ACT 20 levels and today’s estimate create a difference of $386,402,000 in 2013-14 and $499,652,000 in 2014-15. If taxes are not modified and the revenue collections are as projected, $443,027,000 would be transferred to the budget stabilization fund for the biennium.

The LFB memo also says that the transportation ending balance at the end of the 2013-15 biennial budget was estimated to be $1.8 million. DOT has completed a reestimate of transportation fund revenues and the ending balance is now expected to be $84.6 million. According to the memo, while the projected ending balance is higher with the reestimate, there are several factors to consider including: federal highway funds, a structural imbalance going into 2015-17, growth in transportation fund debt service, and costs that may occur in the 2015-17 biennium in excess of the 2014-15 appropriation base.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Health Note tips on how to successfully keep your New Year’s resolutions

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

Having trouble sticking with your New Year’s resolution, which happens to be the same one you made last year, and the year before that? This year, try tackling your resolutions with a different strategy. Write down your New Year's resolution and come up with a very specific, realistic plan that will set you up for success. Set small goals that will help you achieve your overall mission. As you meet those goals you will see that your motivation doesn't run out as quickly. Find ways to make the new behavior feel more like fun, not just another chore. Finally, focus on making changes that seem possible for the long haul. The quickest way to fail is to attempt something that you know you cannot sustain.                                                                                             

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant; Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Friday, January 3, 2014

Health note tips on working out

The PdC Public School weight room is open at all times for all staff with the use of your key-fob. Community members may contact the high school office to learn about hours and access. If you have not visited the facility in a while, you probably do not know that there have been cardio equipment updates.

However, if going to a fitness center to work out is not your cup of tea, this Health Note explains body weight exercises that you can do in your own home and still get the benefits of strength training without having to go to the gym or purchase expensive exercise equipment.

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note
If you aren't comfortable with going to a gym to work out, try working out in the comfort of your own home. Body weight exercises are just as beneficial, if not more so, than weight training with equipment. Exercises like push-ups, squats, pull-ups, crunches, and lunges are all examples of strength exercises that you can do at home. You can also purchase inexpensive at home exercise equipment such as resistance tubes, swiss balls, medicine balls, bosu balls, and much more. There are many benefits to strength training that you can get out of body weight exercises, such as burning calories, toning muscles, increasing bone density, maintaining joint flexibility, reducing risk of injury, improving glucose control, decreasing arthritis pain, improving appearance and reducing age-related muscle loss.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that you do strength training activities 2-3 non-consecutive days per week for 20-30 minutes a session.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant
Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare