As we returned back to full-time in-person instruction, we realized that we have resources in place to help our students adapt to a full school day. However, we do not have as many resources for staff. When filling out our School Health Index for the WSCC Wellness grant, the area where we scored the lowest was in employee health and wellness. Other areas we noticed from the School Health Index where we needed to improve were in family and community engagement.
The first step we took to address the results of the Index was to create a Health and Wellness Committee that includes parents, teachers, counseling staff, administration, our nurse, and a member from Pomptonian Food Services. We discussed different ideas to implement for both staff and students to address the areas of weakness. The first thing we did was have teachers volunteer to participate in the American Cancer Society’s 50 Squats a Day challenge. About 10 staff members participated, allowing us to make a donation of $100 to the American Cancer Society.
We then hosted a blood drive, allowing staff, students and community members to donate blood. Overall we raised 86 pints of blood for the local blood bank.
We organized a trip that allowed forty students to visit the campus of Cheney University, the country’s oldest HBCU (Historically Black College and University). The grant helped cover the cost of lunch in the campus cafeteria. Both junior and senior students were invited to attend the trip. Overall it was successful. This was a great experience for our students, and helped us build a strong connection with the university for future college visit opportunities.
Through a discussion with students, we created a Student Action Committee this school year, giving students more of a voice in our school and culture. An activity the committee sponsored was a contest to design a diversity mural that will be painted in our cafeteria. The contest was opened up to the entire student body. Once the designs were submitted, again the entire school body (both staff and students) were allowed to vote on their favorite mural. Our winner, Makalah McClain, received a $100 prize for her design. The senior Art Club members are going to paint the mural in the cafeteria. The grant allowed us to give the winner the prize.
We decided to create a team to run or walk in the Donut 5K in Bridgewater on May 1st. We have 18 people registered on our team. This promotes the wellness of our staff both physically and mentally. We also have built a sense of unity among our staff.
Finally, one of our greatest accomplishments this year was partnering with Yoga Central of Branchburg to provide a yoga class once a month on site to our staff. We opened this opportunity up to all district staff and have had a successful turnout each month.
Program Activity Outcomes:
Some short term outcomes of our activities were to provide a one time prize for the mural contest, as well as the yoga classes.
Long term outcomes are activities that can become annual, such as the college visit, the squat challenge. We have also created a strong partnership with Yoga Central now, which could potentially allow us to continue different classes and opportunities for both staff, students, and the overall community.
We look forward to continuing to brainstorm ideas that will bring community outreach, while also addressing the wellness needs of our staff. This partnership with the WSCC School Health Project has allowed us to really focus on areas in our school culture where we needed to provide more opportunities for our staff.