While freshmen at CAST Teach, Ana and Jasper noticed something unusual: their school didn’t have a designated room for students to relegate and process their emotions during times of stress. In fact, none of the neighboring schools did, either.
After conducting research and student-aimed surveys, the two discovered a need for an on-campus safe space, and so the idea of a ‘Wellness Room’ was born. Wellness Rooms act as a space for students/teachers/staff to express themselves freely. For some students, they do not wish to speak to an adult to process their emotions, so Wellness Rooms accommodate this. And while there is no counselor inside a Wellness Room, the counselor’s office is next door, and the counselor is required to check in periodically. The wellness room can also satisfy religious requests by acting as a safe space for students to pray or meditate. To Jasper, this helps elevate student voice:
I want to be there for my students who might not get that support from home.
After months of planning and preparing (including writing their grant proposal themselves), Ana and Jasper – now sophomores – were ready to submit their PBL for grant approval. The grant was not only approved, but Ana and Jasper also received $5,000 to help implement a Wellness Room at CAST Teach! Ana and Jasper are the first students to ever receive a Northside Education Foundation grant. The foundation’s objective is to provide resources to enable students and teachers to work at their highest potential, rewarding those teachers for their innovative efforts and exemplary teaching.
Ana and Jasper’s Wellness Room at CAST Teach will act as a pilot for potential future rooms. The two plan for to implement Wellness Rooms in more high schools and even elementary schools as well. In some classrooms it may even be necessary to implement ‘Wellness Cards’ to act as a hall pass for said Wellness Rooms. Although Ana and Jasper are still in shock as they process their historic win, Ana hasn’t lost sight of her true calling:
The reason I want to be an educator is because I want to change the world.
To learn more about CAST Teach, visit castschools.com.