New Faculty Lounge; New Focus on School Employee Wellness

St. Frances Academy’s Coppin Clinic staff have been hard at work since the beginning of the school year to renovate their faculty lounge. The idea was to make it a more welcoming space for teachers and staff. As part of Coppin Clinic’s participation in Hallways to Health, the faculty lounge renovation has been their employee wellness focus for this year. The faculty lounge will be used as place for teachers to come to destress. The faculty lounge is equipped with a stereo and television to be used for listening to relaxing music or to watch instructional yoga DVDs, which are also provided. The lounge also comes equipped with a water dispenser and a microwave and WiiFit are forthcoming.

To introduce teachers and staff to the new renovated lounge, St. Frances Coppin Clinic held a pancake breakfast on February 28th. Staff and teachers enjoyed a healthy breakfast of pancakes, granola, yogurt, juice, and water. The clinic scheduled the grand reopening of the faculty lounge to coincide with the weekly staff meeting, thus attendance was mandatory and the faculty lounge served as the ideal setting for a staff meeting. 25 total teachers and staff attended the grand reopening. The faculty loved everything about the room especially the calming art on the walls and  the new seating area; they appreciated the overall ambiance of the room.

Employee wellness has been a crucial cog in the Hallways to Health wheel.  School break rooms and faculty lounges send the message to staff and teachers that their health and wellness is important to the school and they create environments that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being for school employees.

According to Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools Initiative, school employee wellness is especially important because:

  • Implementing programs and practices that address their health helps reduce stress and boosts morale, productivity and effectiveness in the workplace
  • Improving the wellness of employees can directly impact the health of students, not just through improved job performance, but also through positive role-modeling of healthy behaviors.
  • Teachers experience high rates of turnover and burnout; when schools prioritize employee wellness, they show staff that they are cared for, valued and appreciated.
  • Healthy employees can save schools significant amounts of money through reduced health care and sick day costs. Reinvest these dollars into the school to promote health, wellness and education.

You dont have to be part of Hallways to Health to implement employee wellness programming. Here are some ideas to kick start healthy living for teachers and staff at your school:

  • Establish criteria for healthy staff meetings to ensure only healthy food and beverages are served.
  • Ensure employees have access to free, clean drinking water campus-wide in convenient and accessible locations. In fact, work to create an environment that favors healthy beverage options like water over sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Include physical activity opportunities in school-wide events like assemblies, evening events, morning announcements and other events. Incorporating activity into established events is a simple way to get the whole school active and engaged, while establishing healthy habits in youth.
  • Support staff to organize group physical activity classes or programs onsite to get active together. Encourage employees to walk or do other activities together before school, during lunch, and after the school day; this will build camaraderie and support for being active together.
  • Recognize staff successes and communicate positive expectations that they can succeed. Show hardworking school staff that they are valued and appreciated, which boosts morale and job satisfaction.

For more resources on School Employee Wellness please visit KPs Thriving Schools School Employee Wellness page.

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