As part of District 49’s professional development day for staff on Friday, Jan. 27, the Department of Community Care hosted the second annual Wellness Summit. The summit offered two morning sessions for staff looking for learning opportunities to support themselves and their students.
“There is a desire for more tools to positively impact their own wellness, and to be able to handle challenging situations at work,” said Coordinator of Community Care Jason White. “For a lot of the attendees, that means challenging student behavior.”
About 130 D49 staff attended the summit, most of which participated in the two sessions dealing with verbal de-escalation. The course took participants through techniques for regulating students demonstrating low-level, off-task behavior, or elevated emotions. The second sessions covered more challenging classroom situations.
“We have students that are dysregulated. As that continues to escalate, we fracture relationships and disrupt the learning environment,” White said. “Today they are learning how to emotionally regulate themselves, and their students so those students feel safe and can then access learning. We are offering a practical application that they can immediately implement in their lives, either personally or professionally.”
Another popular session was Adapted PE For All, which provided physical education teachers strategies, accommodations and modifications to include students with disabilities in regular PE classes.
“We want everyone to feel they are a part of their greater community,” White said. “With adaptive PE, physical movement has scientifically shown that it can do wonders for wellness in a lot of different ways. Obviously physically, but also emotionally and the way it can positively impact mental health. We want an environment that respects people and engages them in a healthy way and gives them an opportunity to learn and grow.”