The Step Up for School Wellness program through Building Healthy Communities awarded Adelle Banister, a Williamston High School physical education teacher, a $3,000 grant.
The health department received $1,000 and the physical education department was awarded $2,000 from the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association.
The grants will serve
The physical education department used the money to cover curriculum, training and class materials on social-emotional health and wellness.
“Especially with the pandemic going on, I will take all the information I can get regarding the SEL, social-emotional learning curriculum,” said Banister, “We got the step-up boxes and the exercise bands, and some things that we just didn’t have access to right now.”
The physical education department used funds to purchase the school new equipment and materials for conditioning and training.
Student mental health
Williamston prioritizes student well-being alongside providing recognized education.
“Williamston High School is devoted to the development of 21st-century learners and global citizens while focusing on the physical, social and emotional growth and support of all students,” said Principal Steven Delp in his welcome.
The staff and administration know how important student mental health is to succeed.
“It’s a very heavy topic. I take it personally for them to be successful here,” said Linda Ereg, a counselor at Williamston High School. “Remote is only for a select few the average person here needs direct contact or hands-on learning.”
The transition back to in person has brought light to the conversation for students who are struggling.
“I think it’s (students struggle with mental health) always been there, and that’s been a big part of what I teach in the health classroom,” said Banister. “I think more people are aware of it now because of what has gone on with COVID.”
The grant gave Banister access to more resources to advance education on the topic.
The current curriculum teaches healthy communication, outlets for help, yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and other things to build their “tool kit.”
Students are back in the classroom at Williamston High School, only 30% of classes are still online.
“It’s run very differently with the PE.”, said Banister. “We’re doing a choice board, so there’s no equipment option, some equipment option, and all weight room options.”
Banister discussed the pros and cons of using the choice board method for in-person classes. She said that it has helped students take control of their own activity but has taken away her instruction time.
“There’s always more you can learn to give resources that benefit the students.”