As a first-year Associate Principal at Jensen Elementary, I’ve found myself surrounded by students, staff, and families who have gone out of their way to be warm and welcoming this school year. Jensen students meet me with smiles, high fives, and a plethora of hugs on a daily basis. Families have been extremely supportive through their emails, phone calls, and visits. Staff call themselves more than co-workers, they call themselves family, and they’ve invited me in with open arms. I am reminded on a daily basis about the importance of giving and receiving encouraging words. Jensen is truly a special place to be and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to partner with such exceptional leaders in our building every day!

Michelle Cole
Associate Principal, Jensen Elementary
Showing Love To Others Through Self Care
Tiffany Braxton, Urbandale CSD Facilitator of Family Outreach

A wise person once said,”love is not to be bottled up inside it is to be expressed to others.” During the month of February, many will express their love to friends, family, and significant others. Some may offer cards, candy, or other gifts to show their love, and while these gifts are generous and kind, I’d like for us to consider alternative ways to express love that will perhaps have a more lasting impact. One such way to express love for others is through self-care (practicing behaviors that promote positive mental and physical health), knowing that, “You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take care of yourself first.”

Here are 3 steps to help jump start your journey of Self-Care:

  1. Practice Daily Self Affirmations: According to Psychology Today, self-affirmations are meaning statements said with confidence about a perceived truth and can have positive effects. Research has shown that affirmations can reduce anxiety and stress. Here are a few self-affirmation statements you can use. I am Powerful. I am Intelligent. I am Fearless. I am Worthy. I am enough exactly as I am right now. Add more or different positive statements that have meaning for you and take a few minutes to speak them aloud in the morning, afternoon, and/or evening.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Feeling down? Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. Even if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, start small by walking 5 or 10 minutes. Too cold outside? No problem. “Walk Away the Pounds” is a great indoor walking workout from Leslie Sansone. It’s free via YouTube. If you have internet access you can walk inside just search the title Walk Away the Pounds in the YouTube search bar. No internet access? Still walk inside, you can walk in place at first then move around. Set your timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Doing this a few times a week can definitely make a difference in your health and energy level. (Note: Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)
  3. Eating Healthy: As we know, making the choice to add more fruits and vegetables on your dinner plate can have benefits to your overall health. To begin, make things fun at the grocery store and get one fruit or vegetable you have never tried before, buy it, and try it at home to see if it’s something you like. If so purchase it again, if not, try something else. There are so many great recipes online as well that can take vegetables like cauliflower from something you’re dreading to something you’re craving. Small steps toward a healthier you begins with what you are intentionally putting on your plate.

One of the best kinds of love is Self-Love and that is expressed through Self-Care. So, as you head down those Walmart, Target, or Hy-Vee aisles to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts this year, know that the best gift you can give to yourself and others is a positive, healthier version of you through Self-Care.  
Have you ever been recording your child's band concert, chorus concert, basketball game, dance recital, soccer game, or any such event and realized once you got home, that you didn't feel like you were fully there? That you obviously were in attendance, you have the videos or photos to prove it, but for whatever reason, your mind didn't commit the full experience to memory? As if the event was captured through the lens on your phone or camera, but not fully captured through the lens of your mind. 

In order to explain this feeling, consider reading this short article shared on entitled, "If you really want to remember a moment, try not to take a photo." This research is interesting in regard to how taking photos/videos relieves the cognitive processes associated with forming memories. However, there are ways to take photos/videos and still feel as though you are fully present in the moment. Read on to learn more!   

  • Flyer Hub (flyers for community activities and events)
Educational Equity Statement
It is the policy of the Urbandale Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, marital status (for program), ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (for employment), or socio-economic background (for program) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact the District office at 11152 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, IA or call 515-457-5000. The District’s Equity Coordinators are Dr. Keri Schlueter, Coordinator of Student Services (, Mark Lane, Director of Human Resources (, and Dr. Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching and Learning (