PROACTIVE & PREVENTIVE
With your help, our 2019 Special Appeal (Year Two of Student Wellness= Student Success) builds upon and expands efforts currently underway, including recently awarded grants focused on self-regulation, stress management, nutrition, and physical fitness. You’ll find a list of all our grants focused on health and wellness here. Read more below for student driven/ student focused plans for Year Two.
HEF’s exciting two-year Health and Wellness initiative is both proactive and cutting edge. With help from our generous donors, HEF is greatly expanding Hopkins Public Schools’ current support of the WHOLE student.
Three FREE, easily accessible after-school Wellness Centers are OPEN at Hopkins High School, North Junior High and West Junior High. These safe, supportive environments send a clear message to students that their mental well-being is important. As students navigate their unique journeys through the challenges of young adulthood, this open, proactive approach will encourage them to meet those challenges head-on, encouraging positive, balanced strategies to problem-solving. This powerful video underscores how critical it is to support our students’ mental health.
Students have been offering feedback, and we’re listening. So now for the next step… With your support, YEAR TWO will expand and enhance the current Wellness Centers’ services (see list below) as follows:
An important aspect to the work of promoting student wellness and addressing mental health related issues has emerged. Specifically, students have indicated their desire for the Wellness Centers to be more than a crisis response model; they have requested the incorporation of more student driven ideas and ones that allow them opportunities to connect with one another on the topics of mental health and wellness. We as a community of adults have an opportunity through your generous donations to provide the Wellness Centers with a major enhancement and expand the offerings afforded to students beyond the current design.
Students have been enthusiastic about the occasional stress-relieving activities. The revisioning of the centers to create a calming and inviting atmosphere will include egg pod chairs, ‘happy lamps’ to counteract the impact of our long and dark winters, aroma therapy diffusers, weighted blankets, yoga mats, journals and more. Casual, fun drop-in classes will be offered on a regular basis, as well as small group discussions on topics such as promoting healthy relationships. Holly Magdanz, Hopkins One Voice Coordinator and mentor to Royals United, the growing student advisory panel at HHS, is excited to program afterschool activities at all three Wellness Centers.
The Wellness Centers will continue to provide these services:
- Licensed Social Workers and Counselors, available after school 2 days per week at HHS and 1 day per week at each of the junior highs (with plans for expansion depending on the funding we achieve and student needs). A therapist from MoveFwd (formerly Teens Alone) is on staff at that time. Students have the opportunity to engage one-on-one about concerns ranging from anxiety and depression – and their documented correlation to substance abuse – to interpersonal relationships, stress, self-image, the post-secondary school decision process, and deeply personal challenges.
- On-line appointments simplify access for students.
- ‘Triage’ services direct students to the more specific care they may need.
HEF is currently funding a Student Awareness Campaign that partners Hopkins High School staff and a Teen Advisory Board with Hopkins One Voice Coalition and Community Blueprint, to destigmatize teens seeking help for today’s challenges. This campaign is helping to expand student awareness of the Wellness Centers.
PREVENTIVE: Wellness Strategies for ALL Elementary Schools:
Healthy students are ready to learn, able to maximize their incredible unique gifts and maximize opportunities. In addition to Hopkins Public Schools ongoing initiatives of responsive classroom and bullying prevention, HEF wishes to fund Mindful Kids, small groups facilitated by Relate Counseling Center Staff, at all six elementary schools. These groups, re-forming every 10 weeks and specifically designed for dysregulated students, will promote the acquisition of self- regulation skills to proactively address a variety of stressors that affect student behavior and academic success. To support students in the acquisition of these skills, there will be a parental involvement component. Parents will attend a weekly session as well as after school meetings to ensure they have a working knowledge of the skills their students are being taught.
HEF has recently funded several grants to expand student access to interventions that mitigate barriers to learning – such as high rates of stress and adversity. These tools include specific Trauma Sensitive and Self-Regulation rooms for sensory breaks, physical items such as massage mats and cozy canoes to help students settle down, or swings and trampolines to help bring them ‘up’. Sensory devices occupy the restless hands and feet of preschoolers as they master self-control, and fabric shades temper too-bright florescent lights. In addition to Hopkins Public Schools’ ongoing initiatives of responsive classroom and bullying prevention, HEF is funding further staff training in successful strategies including quick 2-3 minute sessions of YogaCalm and Mindfulness. Another of HEF’s contributions is assisting the District’s cohesive practice of – and further expansion of – these strategies by funding larger Social Emotional Learning kits at each school, increasing accessibility to all students.
HEF is also currently funding – through grants – enhancements to Hopkins Public Schools ongoing healthy food initiatives: ‘Tower Gardens’ in elementary school cafeterias, Aquaponic and Hydroponic Gardens, and hands-on learning in outdoor gardens and classrooms. Plans include taste testing of ‘new’ home-grown foods and further integration of nutrition education into the science, math and life skills curriculum.
PREVENTIVE: Academy of Student Ambassadors
A brand-new component HEF wishes to fund will tap into the palpable energy exhibited by students around Health and Wellness. The Academy of Student Ambassadors will be a credited summer class open to 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students to train them as champions, leaders, and perhaps even mentors. The focus will be on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health by educating these Ambassadors about the resources available, and creating conduits between those resources and their peers who may be struggling. The class will be taught by Hopkins’ Health Science Staff but will also include outside experts: facilitators and guest speakers from organizations such as MyHealth and Melrose Center. These Ambassadors will participate in a service project during the school year, with the focus on prevention and ‘normalizing’ the ask for help.
Together we can help ensure that
Student Wellness = Student Success