In what is being considered a major leap forward for student health within the district, the William S. Hart Union High School District revealed the details surrounding its newly implemented “Student Wellness Resource Wheel” during their Wednesday night board meeting.
According to board President Bob Jensen, “wellness” for students in school is typically considered in terms of either physical or academic wellness, and generally does not include or place an emphasis on a variety of other types of student vitality, which can include emotional and mental wellness.
Additionally, schools within the district have always been unique with their different approaches to student wellness and have not had the specific “framework” by which they can share successful tactics and strategies for addressing wellness on their campuses.
However, with the newly released “Wellness Wheel” from the district, administrators and school board members now have a framework to help better address and focus their resources.
Jensen said the constant compare/contrast and cyberbullying nature that comes with social media, coupled with the fact that he says psychologists believe a culture of online interaction as opposed to face-face social interaction, has led to heightened levels of anxiety and depression within young people.
“Students are the future,” Jensen said. “I feel that there needs to be a greater overall wellness understood by parent, teachers, students, district officials and community stakeholders.”
Therefore, as Jensen puts it, the district looked at not only the programs at all of its schools that have seen success in addressing this issue, but also other districts as well to develop this latest framework.
Now, students, parents and teachers can visit the school website and view the wellness wheel.
With each click on each subject “bubble” — which is filled in with topics such as “Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning,” “Health Education” and “Parent and Community Outreach” — the user is then taken to a number of subcategory bubbles. Each bubble lists a number of Santa Clarita resources available to students and their families that pertains to that particular subcategory, which falls under the overarching umbrella of “wellness.”
“This isn’t so much a program as it brings it all together into one package to create some uniformity within the district,” Jensen said. “We’re seeing which programs worked at the schools, and it will give us the ability to change and update our resources, and give us a quantifiable idea of what works and what doesn’t.”
And while the wellness wheel is something that is working across the entire district for the first time, Jensen says this is just “the tip of the iceberg.”
“My hope is to see the district hire a wellness director that can help us eventually refine and enhance this framework,” said Jensen. “If we can deal better with anxiety and depression with our students, parents and teachers, then maybe we can find out how to mitigate fear, doubt and worry … (so) they’ll live more in the present and be happier and more productive.”
For more information on how to access the “Wellness Wheel,” click here.