Fostering School Connectedness to Create a Healthy and Supportive School Environment

Fostering School Connectedness to Create a Healthy and Supportive School Environment
Updated

Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress and anxiety among children, Evergreen School District continues to be committed to implementing policies and practices that research shows can improve students’ mental health, emotional well-being, and overall academic achievement. We want to take a minute to explain two new terms you may hear and give examples of some of the steps we are taking. We also want to give you some ideas for how you can help support our efforts because research suggests that students who have parents involved in their school lives are also more likely to avoid unhealthy behaviors and are less likely to be emotionally distressed.

A healthy and supportive school environment helps children and adolescents develop the skills they need to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

School connectedness reflects students’ belief that peers and adults in the school support, value, and care about their individual well-being as well as their academic progress. Students who feel more connected to school are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (alcohol or drug use), more likely to engage in positive health behaviors (physical activity and healthy eating), more likely to have higher grades and test scores, have better school attendance, and graduate high school.

To support school connectedness and create a healthy and supportive school environment, Evergreen School District strives to:

  • Provide developmentally appropriate social-emotional lessons in the classroom setting. Teachers use lessons from the Second Step curriculum to teach topics such as, gaining confidence, setting goals, making better decisions, collaboration with others in work and play and navigating the world more effectively.
  • Implement Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  The framework is used to reinforce positive behavior through praise and establishing rules, routines, and expectations which are classroom management techniques that promote higher levels of school connectedness.
  • Support student led-clubs and extracurricular activities at school. These clubs/activities create a safe space for students to socialize, support each other, and connect with supportive school staff.
  • Provide parents and families with community resources that support positive parenting practices such as open, honest communication and parental supervision (wellness.eesd.org).

Here’s where you come in. Caregivers and families have a powerful role in supporting children’s learning, mental health, and emotional well-being at home and at school. When caregivers are engaged in their children’s school activities and initiatives, children get better grades, choose healthier behaviors, and have better social skills. Students who have caregivers involved in their school lives also are more likely to avoid unhealthy behaviors and they are less likely to be emotionally distressed.

There are simple ways you can help support your child’s mental health and emotional well-being in school and at home:

  • Get involved in school. Contact your child’s school to become involved with PTA, School Site Council, ELAC or other parent groups.   
  • Communicate with your child’s school. Let your child’s teacher know about your child’s needs.
  • Attend your child’s parent/teacher conferences. Know how your child is doing in school and how you can support your child at home.
  • Make sure your child attends school consistently and on-time.
  • Try simple strategies at home like asking about your child’s feelings, focusing on their strengths, and modeling positive coping skills to manage stress, like going for a walk.

Thank you for working with us. Together we can support all students.

Updates and Support Resources from your

Evergreen Wellness Team

Visit the Evergreen Wellness website for mental health and self care resources for students, parents, and teachers.