So often when trying to create a healthy environment in schools the focus is on promoting student health and wellness. However, it’s also important to look for ways to support administrators, teachers and staff members. This past March, Brushton Moira CSD did just that.
The district held a half-day staff development session and provided an afternoon of healthy living workshops and physical activities led by community members and fellow staff members. Individual sessions included yoga, Zumba, discussions about healthy eating strategies and meal planning, information about diabetes, mindfulness practice, a volleyball game and drum circles to give the attendees a variety of options to care for their bodies and minds. A group luncheon, featuring a large pot-luck salad bar, allowed staff a chance to take a break from the busy scheduled lineup and reconnect with each other. The Heart Network supported planning for the event: reaching out to session facilitators, providing technical assistance to identify best practices, and assisting with written invites.
The district wellness committee, responsible for planning the event, wanted their colleagues to know that they are valued as educators AND individuals and to provide them with useful tools to support healthful living. In an anonymous survey conducted afterwards, 95% of the staff rated the day very good or excellent. One staff member commented, “I really enjoyed the day. I think it was a great way to do something fun with our co-workers. I think it lifted morale and was very practical.” When asked about their favorite part of the day another staff member said “Lots of favorite things! I liked having choices for activities, plus the leniency to design our own day if that is what we wanted to do. It was great to be able to see and interact with people we don’t often get to be with. Pot luck lunches are the best days.”
The Heart Network hopes this is just the jumping off point for what will continue to be a positive relationship between students, teachers and wellness.