Be a leader; innately people want to be healthy and physical education teachers can make that happen. Start or join a school wellness council to make your community come together to put wellness in the top tier of priorities. Ultimately the PE program will be an important aspect of student and staff wellness.
What is a School Wellness Council (SWC)?
An SWC is an advisory group concerned with the health and wellbeing of students, staff, and the school community. This group typically has 6-12 members and should be representative of the school community, including a variety of staff roles, community view points, and student voices. The SWC is instrumental in strengthening physical and health education programs within the school, as well as other health and wellness related initiatives (e.g., physical activity, mental health, nutrition, gardening, health fundraising, safety).
Why do we need a school wellness council?
The SWC provides a way to influence and inform teachers, staff, students and families about the work the school is doing to improve the health and wellness to ensure the academic success of its students. The SWC is also a way to ensure that the NYC School Wellness Policies as well as wellness priorities of the school are implemented and refined. In addition, these councils represent the unique perspective of the community within a school. This enables the health priorities and activities put in place to truly reflect the community’s needs and interests.
What do school wellness councils do?
SWCs typically assess the school health environment, programs, and policies in place and identify ways to strengthen these to improve the health of students and staff. Councils develop and implement an action plan based on what they learn about the school. SWCs also provide advice and expertise to administrators, while also engaging parents and families around wellness related initiatives.
Who should be on the school wellness council?
Most schools include a child nutrition/food service staff person, a physical education teacher, a health education and/or classroom teacher, a school administrator, and any others who are committed and interested in making the school environment healthier for students and staff (e.g., nurse, parent coordinator, guidance counselor). Effective SWCs typically include a parent or family member, students (e.g., student council members), and other school staff or community members with an interest or expertise in healthy eating, physical activity, and other wellness related areas.
Who decides what the school wellness council will work on?
Administrators, SWC champions, or the consensus of the council can determine the most important topics for meetings as the SWC works towards addressing the needs of the school community. Members work together to create an action plan and a budget, and work with the entire school to build a culture of wellness with students, families, and staff.