Schools use stipends to benefit students, teachers, and families

Over the past two years, WeTHRIVE! school districts received stipends from WeTHRIVE! to promote the health and wellness of students, staff, and families. Here’s a look at how they put the funding to use.

Lockland Local Schools

  • Health & wellness: The school wellness team hosted two community forums to increase awareness of topics related to health and wellness. Both events were open to all families and students in grades K-12 and were held in conjunction with the Multi-Cultural Fair and the Annual Reading and Math Family Night.
  • Afterschool programming: Afterschool programs for students were developed and implemented, with a focus on social emotional well-being, academic intervention, and physical health/activity.

Mt. Healthy City Schools

  • Staff wellness: The school wellness team coordinated events to promote staff wellness, including an on-site staff biometric screening. The district’s registered dietitian held three nutrition classes for staff on topics such as eating for weight loss and avoiding added sugars. In addition, Kevin Kist from RTS Barbell led four strength training classes for staff.
  • Wellness team: Food Service Director Fredrika Richardson and Madison Kist, the district’s registered dietitian, hosted a booth at the Taste of South event to encourage staff and students to join the school wellness team. They recruited two new student members!
  • Mental health: To support mental health for staff and students, the wellness team partnered with 1N5 (see our story about 1N5 and WeTHRIVE! schools) to complete a needs assessment. 1N5 also led the Recharge and Reconnect session for staff, which included a catered healthy meal.

North College Hill City Schools

  • Afterschool sports: The district offered a new afterschool program, Soccer Shots (pictured above), at the elementary school, with 24 students participating. The response was overwhelmingly positive:

“The students are really enjoying Soccer Shots. The younger kids really love learning the skill of the day, such as pull-back, and scoring goals. The older kids love scrimmaging each other and practicing good sportsmanship. Many parents have stated how glad they are that there is a soccer program for their elementary kids.” 

  • Calming rooms: Mental health carts were created and these will rotate through the elementary, middle, and high school buildings for staff use. School principals were provided funds to purchase materials and supplies to grow calming spaces throughout the school buildings. Each building now has a calming room with things like comfortable chairs, low lighting, and aromatherapy diffusers.
  • Staff wellness & mental health: Wellness carts were purchased to provide staff with healthy snacks and items. The district hosted physical activity classes after school for staff, including Zumba, yoga, and weight training. Up to 12 staff members participated each day.
  • School garden: Fencing and planting materials were purchased for the school community garden, which is tended by Trojan Way Learning Center students. (See our story about the garden!)
  • Family engagement: The PTA was given $600 to use for family and student involvement. Funds went to the high school student council to support their end of year activities, including t-shirts for all students and staff. The elementary PTA held a paint and sip event for parents and a dance fundraiser.

Northwest Local Schools

  • Family engagement: The wellness team held a four-part series featuring Tara Robinson, director of H.E.A.T. (read our story about HEAT and WeTHRIVE! schools). The series aimed to equip families, staff, and the community with the tools needed to reset and rebuild positive relationships. 

“The impact of this program was large and we received only positive feedback. Families left with communication tools they could use immediately to see positive results. Families asked if the series could be continued next year.”

  • Preschool: The wellness team used the funding bring Mission2Move‘s Calm Caterpillar program to the district’s preschool classrooms (see our story about M2M and WeTHRIVE! schools). Classrooms were given calming kits to address emotional regulation needs of the youngest learners.

“With three months of full implementation in two classrooms, students and families were impacted positively. Students in those classrooms were observed using many self-regulation techniques, such as calming logs and finger breathing.”

Reading Community City Schools

  • Staff wellness: The wellness team hosted a staff wellness fair with biometric screenings, physical therapy assessments, and staff wellness/self-care kits (photo at top of page, right) for more than 190 staff members – teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians, cafeteria staff, and more.

“The kits were a great pick-me-up and so appreciated. More than 30 staff members participated in biometric screenings and at least five staff members received injury assessments and scheduled follow-up care as a result.”

  • Social-emotional wellness and mental health: The preschool partnered with Mission2Move (see our story about M2M and WeTHRIVE! schools) to provide Calm Caterpillar social-emotional tools. Calming Kits were provided for three classrooms (two preschool, one K-2) and 53 calming kits were sent home with families. The response was positive:

“We are excited to have a common language and way of practicing calming strategies with our students that can be useful at both school and at home.”

Saint Bernard-Elmwood Place City Schools

  • Physical activity: Funds were used for new programs promote and educate children on the importance of physical activity. As a result, participation in physical activity increased for children ages 5-12 years.

“Children correlated a positive emotion with activity and involvement during our new programs. This led to an increase in verbal communication, social intelligence, and a decrease in stress.”

  • Mental health: Students were given sensory tools and education on calm down strategies. Staff reported that “over the evaluation period, students were noted to regain control of behavior, regulate their feelings and return to class 50% faster than prior data.”
  • Community education: Community members received educational information on health and wellness. Select students and focus groups were created based on need and health access. Staff reported that “groups were educated on wellness and given health resources, hygiene items, and nutritional flyers. Among the students and groups, overall hygiene and wellness improved by 25%.”

Three Rivers Local Schools

  • Wellness and mental health: The district wellness team worked closely with the middle school/high school counseling department on topics identified through student meetings and surveys. Speakers have been booked to start off the 2023-24 school year and sessions will include parent education.
  • Calming rooms: Eight calming spaces were created in the middle and high school. All elementary classrooms were given calming boxes that hold various tools, cards, and items that a student can use to regulate their behaviors and emotions. Teachers were trained on use of the calming spaces and boxes.
  • Parent engagement: To engage elementary school parents about social-emotional needs post-pandemic, the district wellness team worked with the Title I team to help plan and execute Winter and Spring Literacy Events where experts provided resources for families and students. Both events were well-attended and families were surveyed afterwards to assist in planning future outreach events.

Winton Woods City Schools

  • Mental Health: To support the district’s focus on health and wellness for school staff, funds were used to provide 27 mindfulness and calming baskets for all four school facilities as well as the transportation department, reaching more than 500 school employees.