Formation of the Wellness Taskforce
In December 2015, FUHSD Superintendent Polly Bove introduced a plan to involve interested members of the community as part of a Community Taskforce on Student Wellness. The taskforce would be established to initiate an exploration of ways in which the school community could begin to address persistent concerns regarding student stress and sleep deprivation directly impacting the achievement and experience of students in our schools.
The formation of the taskforce was motivated by a number of factors. For a number of years, several schools in the district had been involved in Stanford University’s “Challenge Success” program which had specifically identified school factors contributing to increased stress and reduced sleep levels for students along with strategies and approaches to address these issues. Other survey evidence from FUHSD schools also emphasized concerns about student stress, sleep deprivation and school-life balance. Additionally, the district was approached by a group of parents who were interested in moving schools to later start times as a solution to sleep and stress issues.
The Community Wellness Taskforce was formed in January 2016. To initiate the work of the taskforce, district staff developed a focus for action that was labeled the “defined problem” as the summation of concerns about student wellness issues related to sleep, stress, and balancing school and personal/family life: “Students struggle with school-life balance, stress, and sleep deprivation.” The taskforce was also charged with responsibility for reviewing other priority student health issues including nutrition and mental health.
Wellness Taskforce Membership
The composition of the Community Wellness Taskforce is ideally intended to include:
- Parents, students, teachers and administrators, including those involved in the Challenge Success network;
- Parents advocating for a change in school schedules;
- Representatives from FUHSD employee associations; and
- Community members, students or other staff with interest or expertise in issues of student emotional health and wellness.
The Wellness Taskforce was formed in January 2016 and is comprised of 28 members: 1 Board member, 4 district office staff, 3 classified staff, 6 students, 4 parents, 4 teachers, 3 site administrators and 3 community members.
Wellness Taskforce Goals and Work Focus
The work of the taskforce includes but is not limited to:
- Understanding the research on student stress and sleep deprivation;
- Studying the impact of the “No First Period” option and other actions district schools have already taken to address the issue;
- Hearing from the other like-districts and schools about the impact of their efforts to address the issue;
- Understanding the process, possible benefits and constraints of changing school schedules or other strategies suggested by research or with input from the group; and
- Recommending a plan designed to reduce school factors that impact student stress.
Definition of Wellness
The Taskforce developed the following as their working definition of wellness:
“Wellness is an individual’s state of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual balance, achieved through the active management of proper diet, exercise, stress and illness prevention.”