Development of Tam’s Wellness program continues, with the school set to begin hiring Wellness coordinators April 3rd.
Due to space constraints, Tam is going forward with a Wellness program that combines counseling support with community outreach, rather than constructing a separate Wellness center. “We don’t know exactly what, facilities-wise, it’ll look like,” Assistant Principal David Rice said. “We’re looking at [the lower floor] of Wood hall and making that the counseling and wellness wing.”
The TUHSD Wellness program was designed around data from the California Healthy Kids Survey. “[The data] kind of showed us areas of need, and we looked at what we had, and what we didn’t have, and … we met with the counseling team to figure out which providers we needed, and then what kind of services we could [use] to round stuff out,” Rice said. “That’s just supports; there’s also the outreach piece, too. So the coordinator will go into the classrooms and do presentations as well.”
Tam counselor Scott Birkenstrand named several counseling areas where he felt that additional support would be especially useful. “It’d be great to run more small groups,” he said. “It’d be great to do more classroom presentations. And it’d be great to triage better and have more efficient protocols for these things. I think our counseling program is currently doing that; we just need to be more efficient with it.”
According to Birkenstrand, Wellness works well with the mission of Tam counselors. “Counseling really is [about promoting] wellness … The national model for school counseling, basically covers all aspects of wellness,” he said. “So when we can provide school counseling like it should be provided, we exhibit kind of the exact structure of wellness ….having wellness come in will be a great support and a good band aid for some of the things that we cannot accomplish currently.”
In addition to hiring a coordinator, Rice plans to present the current Wellness program blueprint to the Tam community in early April for feedback, and has been meeting with student led wellness groups, including Peer Resource, to pitch the program. He says that responses, so far, have been positive.