Banks Elementary School will open ‘wellness room’

Banks – Banks Elementary School (BES) will open a wellness center at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year where students will learn “self-regulation” strategies and activities for anxiety and stress.

BES Principal Darla Waite-Larkin was quick to point out that students will not be sent to the wellness center, a dedicated classroom inside the building, which will host five to seven students at a time, that will not be a shared space, for disciplinary reasons.

“This is not disciplinary and will simply be a bigger version of the cool-down spaces that teachers currently use in their classroom,” she said via email. “The idea of the wellness center (is) proactive problem solving instead of reactive discipline. Parents will not be notified if students use the room unless it as a special circumstance. Students are only in the wellness center for a short period of time during the day — five to 10 minutes.”

One part-time staff member, known as a wellness monitor, who will not be required to complete any specialized training — training opportunities will be available during the school year — will be present in the wellness center each school day, Waite-Larkin said.

The position remains open on the Banks School District website. The position, listed as “Full-Time Equivalent Instructional Assistant — Wellness Room Monitor,” says it will require “18.75 hours a week as per assignment.”

The job description says the wellness room monitor will “perform a variety of instructional duties assisting certified staff members in the implementation of a specific program for improvement of student wellness and well-being. Serves under the direction of the building principal who may delegate supervisory responsibility to appropriate personnel.”

The position requires a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent, two years of post-secondary education, an associate’s degree or higher and a passing score on a state or local academic assessment that measures knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics. Additionally, the position may require the wellness center monitor to become certified in the Oregon Intervention System (OIS) or a similar district-assigned program, the BSD website says.

The wellness center monitor’s responsibilities are listed in part as helping students restore a sense of safety, power, and self-worth; helping students practice strategies that include developing resilience, reflection, and self-calming; supporting teachers; and working “harmoniously” with students, teachers and parents to support kids’ emotional and behavioral growth.

The Hillsboro School District (HSD) has a student health and wellness program that’s more advanced than the start-up BES program but essentially offers the same approach. Learn more about HSD’s approach by going online to HSD also posted a short video about self-care and wellness on YouTube here.

The BES online job description can be viewed here.


Daniel Pearson

Daniel Pearson holds a bachelors in journalism and an MBA in marketing. He’s a10-time, Oregon SPJ award-winning journalist, a two-time winner of an ADDY (advertising) for copywriting, and a one-time award winner for fiction for the NW Coastal Writer’s Series. Email: Twitter: @rosecitywriting