Wellness at Rochelle Park School District
This year the Rochelle Park School District has embraced a special focus on creating and enhancing opportunities for wellness across the school community. All school communities have been experiencing the challenges of these most stressful times. It’s no secret that when one’s wellness is compromised most all other functions are impacted, including learning. For students to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world they need more help than ever. Often, school districts implement services though they may not always be connected, or at times have minimal overlap, leaving unintended gaps or misalignment. When this happens the full intended effects of the services may not be actualized.
Our district wanted to better understand and establish a connection between wellness services and student growth that would be specific to our community’s needs. Our team started asking thought provoking questions such as “Are there connections to be made?” “Are students benefiting from services?” “Are these services of value?” The Rochelle Park School District created a Student Wellness initiative connected to the U.S. Department of Health Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 8 Dimensions of Wellness, with a focus upon emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental wellness.
The services and new initiatives are aligned through a Wellness Coordinator, serving as a point person, responsible for implementing a whole school community approach. Through the district’s Wellness Coordinator, services to students have gone above and beyond assemblies and classroom based social-emotional learning activities. Students have been engaged in services such as:
- Learning to create vision boards to guide students in the development and achievement of personal goals.
- Yoga station, blending yoga and meditation to support students’ physical and spiritual well-being.
- Nutrition presentations that are interactive and welcome students participating in creating healthy recipes.
- Physical fitness stations that challenge students to try new activities and develop both physical and mental agility.
- Guided art activities through which students may express feelings and thoughts in a non-verbal manner.
- “Don’t Stress the Test,” a series of psycho-educational classroom lessons, were provided by school-based counselors to students to promote ways to experience a healthy mindset, and decrease stress, prior to test taking.
A key aspect in this process is the team’s commitment to providing and connecting services, reflecting upon them to better understand how we are meeting the students’ needs. Schools are data rich environments and most often quantitative data is collected and analyzed to determine and plan for growth. One aspect of wellness programming often overlooked is determining the effectiveness of these services. Furthering this, the district has begun to collect data on the wellness services in order to assess the impact and better understand the effectiveness. The data will also support future decisions for wellness programs and services.
If you would like more information about the Rochelle Park School District’s wellness services, our efforts to collect and analyze data, and plan for future opportunities you are welcome to contact Dr. Sue DeNobile, at email@example.com.