Annual Independent Secondary School Health and Wellness summit
Advancing Our Commitment to the
Whole Student and the Whole Community Report Out & Key Recommendations Hosted by Phillips Academy in collaboration with the Independent School Health Association Friday, April 15, 2016
Contents . About This Report
Composition 1 Acknowledgments 1 Schools and Organizations
I Used to Think… Now, I Think…
Objective of the Summit
Organization of This Report
Advancing Our Commitment
Key Takeaways and Priority Actions
About the Key Takeaways and Priority Actions
Climate and Culture
Curriculum 10 Leadership 11 Collaboration 12
Call to Action
About the Call to Action
Presentation to the Eight Schools Association
Background and Overview
Health and Wellness in Independent Schools
Climate and Culture
Curriculum 15 Leadership 15 Collaboration 15
Workshops and Strands
Climate and Culture
Curriculum 17 Leadership 17 Collaboration 17
Speakers, Facilitators, and Planning Committee
Rebecca M. Sykes, MSW 18 Suniya Luthar, PhD 18 Stuart Bicknell, MEd, EdD 19 Benjamin Gardner, MD, FAAP 19 Charles Colten, MA 19 Justine Fonte, MEd, MPH 20 Lisa Morin, MSW, LICSW 20 John Suby, LCSW, MEd 20 John Bassi, MD 21
Summit Planning Committee
Climate and Culture
Curriculum 23 Leadership 23 Collaboration 23 Photos 23 Videos 23
About This Report
his report summarizes key findings and recommendations from an independent secondary school health and wellness summit hosted by Phillips Academy in collaboration with the Independent School Health Association on Friday, April 15, 2016. Its content stems from the spirited and intellectual contributions of members of the Summit Planning Committee, the summitâ€™s facilitators, and the summitâ€™s attendees. Altogether, attendees at the summit comprised 165 professionals representing more than 60 schools and organizations. Roles represented at the summit included school health services professionals, counselors, medical directors, deans of students, deans of health and wellness, school administrators, educators, and other champions of the Whole Student and the Whole Community. Composition
This report was organized and composed by: Amy Patel, MD Medical Director and Codirector of Wellness Education, Phillips Academy Miguel Marshall, EdD Interim Executive Director, Independent School Health Association This report is intended to be read as an e-publication, as it contains embedded hyperlinks to references and resources. A PDF is available at www.andover.edu/wellness/Pages/WellnessSummit.aspx. Please email inquires related to this report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Acknowledgments
Special thanks to McKenna Montenegro for her compassion, energy, and organization throughout the development of the summit and throughout the drafting and publication of this report. Thank you to Sally Abugov for her collaboration, creativity, and organization in designing and finalizing this report. Thank you to Neil Evans, Jessie Wallner, Gil Talbot, and the Phillips Academy Office of Communication for their help with photography, editing, website content, and more. Thank you to the Summit Planning Committee, facilitators, and attendees. This work and movement happens with all of us!
Schools and Organizations
Members of the following schools and organizations participated in and attended this year’s summit: Academy at Charlemont / Andover Public Schools / Arizona State University / Berkshire School / The Brearley School / Brimmer and May School / Brooklyn Friends School / Brooks School / Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols / Chapel Hill–Chauncy Hall School / Cheshire Academy / Choate Rosemary Hall / Commonwealth School / Convent of the Sacred Heart / Cranbrook Kingswood Schools / The Dalton School / Dana Hall School / Deerfield Academy / Dexter Southfield / East Ed / Emma Willard School / Fenn School / The Governor’s Academy / Groton School / Hackley School / The Hill School / Hotchkiss School / Independent School Health Association / Indian Mountain School / Innovation Academy Charter School / Kent Denver School / Lawrence Academy / Lawrenceville School / Maimonides School / Middlesex School / Millbrook School / Milton Academy / Miss Porter's School / Nashoba Brooks School / New Jersey Association of Independent Schools / Newark Academy / NightingaleBamford School / Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation / Northfield Mount Hermon / Phillips Academy / Phillips Exeter Academy / The Pike School / Princeton Day School / Proctor Academy / Purnell School / Ravenscroft School / Riverview School / The Roxbury Latin School / Tilton School / St. Mark’s School / St. Paul’s School / Thayer Academy / Vermont Academy / Wheeler School / The Williams School / The Williston Northampton School / The Winsor School / Wilbraham & Monson Academy
outh have diverse, evolving, and interactive needs related to their health and well-being. Although schools have sought to consistently meet these needs, most schools’ understanding, conceptualization, and practice of health and wellness has consistently been reactive. To effectively meet the health and wellness needs of youth, we need to be proactive through collaboration across departments and across school communities. We need professionally designed, professionally taught, and effective health curricula. We need to address climate and culture as a sphere of influence effecting youth safety and well-being. And, we need leadership to champion health and wellness as a critical component of every youth’s success at school and beyond. Acknowledging the existing commitments of numerous independent schools to the evolving concept of health and wellness, this year’s summit theme was, “Advancing Our Commitment to the Whole Student and the Whole Community.” I Used to Think… Now, I Think…
With an interdisciplinary group of attendees that included school health services professionals, counselors, medical directors, deans of students, deans of health and wellness, school administrators, educators, and other representatives of approximately 65 organizations and schools, the summit was able to capture an abundance of rich sentiments, thoughts, and recommendations. The following quotes represent some of the sentiments shared by the attendees who closed the summit with the exercise, “I used to think…Now, I think…” I used to think... that structures and schedules were insurmountable obstacles...
Now, I think...that with courage, will, and persistence, we can find a way and find the time to provide good health education for students, faculty, and parents. I used to think... we’d be competing all the time with peer independent schools...
Now, I think... we can work together as a team and redefine the values of our schools while still getting our kids into college. I used to think... independent schools would never fully embrace health and wellness...
Now, I think... there’s hope.
Objective of the Summit
The objective of the summit was to provide an opportunity for independent school faculty and administrators and an interdisciplinary group of health professionals to coalesce and to identify and share effective practices related to school health and wellness across four key strands. Each of the four strands (culture and climate, curriculum, leadership, and collaboration), was actualized by essential questions that aimed to engage and spark discussion among colleagues across independent schools.
“Science— . even with engineering, technology, and mathematics thrown in— is not the only important area of knowledge.
Organization of This Report
This report comprises five sections. The first section summarizes Key Takeaways and Priority Actions. The second section, Call to Action: Culture of Coordinated Healthcare in Independent Schools, summarizes a presentation to heads and trustees of the Eight Schools Association. The third section provides the Background and Overview of the Summit. The fourth section is a replica of the Summit Program. The Appendix, which includes hyperlinks to downloadable presentations and related media, is the final section.
Other vast areas of understanding—the social sciences, the humanities, the arts, civics, civility, ethics, health, safety, training of one’s body— deserve their day in the sun and equally their hours in the curriculum.” .
Advancing Our Commitment
We echo Dr. Gardner’s prescience in emphasizing “other vast areas of understanding.” Through this lens, the teaching and practice of health and well-being is neither sustainable nor effective as an “addon,” attaché, or appurtenance to a school, to a school’s curriculum, or to a school’s culture. Rather, sustainability is achieved through a collective movement across schools that promotes health and wellness as multidimensional, redirects schools to being proactive, and elevates (again) the practice of prevention as an essential school priority. On behalf of the Summit Planning Committee, Phillips Academy, and the Independent School Health Association, we thank everyone for participating in the summit and supporting health and wellness in independent schools. With gratitude,
Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Ecucation
Amy Patel, MD Medical Director and Codirector of Wellness Education, Phillips Academy
Miguel Marshall, EdD Interim Executive Director, Independent School Health Association
Key Takeaways and Priority Actions About the Key Takeaways and Priority Actions
The following key takeaways and priority actions reflect a synthesis of: a) presentations made by summit facilitators; b) notes taken by volunteer note-takers; c) an amalgamation of comments shared electronically by attendees, and; d) evidence reinforcing certain themes and trends. Climate and Culture Data. Schools can benefit immensely from including data related to
their respective cultures and climates at the heart of their decisionmaking process. Indeed, data, data collection, and data analysis already have played important roles at independent schools. Business officers and admissions professionals collect and analyze data and present it to school leadership to help inform their decision-making. Also driving the important message about data is SSATB, which offers data-driven admissions services to schools to help them achieve enrollment targets. As it relates to a school’s climate and culture, schools also benefit greatly from developing strategies and partnering with researchers to collect the most meaningful and accurate data on their school communities. Data collection strategies should be customized to meet the needs of each independent school. Data related to health, wellness, climate, and culture should result in programs that are resilience-based and a “fit” for the school’s community and student population. Partnerships in data collection may give rise to questions and concerns around confidentiality and privacy. Therefore, confidentiality and privacy in the collection (and potential publication) of data should always be maintained through contractual agreement with all parties involved in the collection, analysis, and use of data.
Stress. According to two recent surveys by the National
variety of data-gathering resources and instruments exist to measure school climate and culture; however, in their selection of a particular resource, set of resources, or instrument(s), schools should to consider data-gathering resources and instruments that:
Are developmentally appropriate
Association of Independent Schools,1, 2 student stress, anxiety, and depression are prevalent in independent schools. Although data were not collected on the quality of the stress, anxiety, or stress conditions, independent schools need to be aware that there is currently an epidemic of unhealthy stress 3 in the United States,4, 5 and it is affecting the lives of adolescents.6 There is also an epidemic of adolescent sleep deprivation.7, 8 The entire school community needs to be educated about the potentially harmful effects stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of sufficient sleep have on adolescents’ lives, self-efficacy, memory, performance, and overall health and well-being at school. Schools also need to be aware of the linkages between stress, anxiety, and depression9, 10 (and bullying)11 and understand that—for example—lack of sleep contributes to increased stress and anxiety, which can lead to depression, which in turn can lead to more extreme and undesirable health outcomes such as suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, and ultimately, completed suicide.12 Also, schools need to know that although there remains pressure globally to succeed, stress and pressure are not necessary for motivation and success; a positive, healthy environment is more successful over time.13
Go beyond identifying rates of problems (e.g., health-risk behaviors, symptoms, substance use, YRBSS items, etc.)
Go beyond “lists of protective factors” and identify those factors that are most influential
Investigate context-specific risk and protective factors (e.g., assessing which makes parents unhappier: if their child fails a test or if their child becomes intoxicated at a party)
Lead to concrete, research-influenced, prioritized, and measurable steps for programs and program implementation
Incorporate the perspectives of school personnel, families, and students
Require collaboration with school leadership and promote a shared commitment to maximizing student academic potential and human health and well-being
1 See: 2016 NAIS-NSCC-Winston Prep Wellness Survey for Independent Schools 2 See: 2015 NAIS and ISHA Survey on Health and Well-Being in Independent Schools 3 See: Odgers, C.L., & Jaffee, S.R. (2013). Routine versus catastrophic influences on the developing child. Annual Review of Public Health, 34 (1), 29-48. doi:10.1146/annurevpublhealth-031912-114447 4 See: Stress in America: Our Health at Risk 5 See: Becker, D. (2013). One nation under stress: the trouble with stress as an idea. New York: Oxford University Press. 6 See: American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults 7 See: Stanford Medicine: Among teens, sleep deprivation an epidemic and Snooze… or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits 8 See: Eaton, D.K., McKnight-Eily, L.R., Lowry, R., Perry, G.S., Presley-Cantrell, L., & Croft, J.B. Prevalence of insufficient, borderline, and optimal hours of sleep among high school students—united states, 2007. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46(4), 399-401. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.10.011 9 See: Thapar, A., Collishaw, S., Pine, D.S., & Thapar, A.K. Depression in adolescence. The Lancet, 379(9820), 1056-1067. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60871-4 10 See: Cummings, C.M., Caporino, N.E., & Kendall, P.C. (2014). Comorbidity of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents: 20 years after. Psychological Bulletin, 140(3), 816-845. doi: 10.1037/a0034733 11 See: Goldblum, P. (2015). Youth suicide and bullying: Challenges and strategies for prevention and intervention. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. (see also: The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools) 12 See: Bridge, J.A., Goldstein, T.R., & Brent, D.A. (2006). Adolescent suicide and suicidal behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3-4), 372-394. doi: 10.1111/j.14697610.2006.01615.x 13 See: Harvard Business Review: Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive
—Suniya Luthar, Professor, Arizona State University
Stress Prevention. Schools need to ensure that they are
implementing evidence-based programs that have been tested and evaluated by researchers, have been peer-reviewed, and were conducted in a school setting. Although the practice of mindfulness (and mindfulness-based stress reduction) is increasing in independent schools, schools should measure the effects of their mindfulness programs to determine whether they are having the desired effect. Without measuring the effects of school programs or interventions, mindfulness programs and other stress-reduction programs may merely be palliative. Regardless, schools should not solely rely on stress-reduction programs as a means of reducing stress and anxiety experienced by students. Moreover, mindfulness must certainly not be relied upon as a panacea14, 15, 16 for student health issues or as a strategy for mitigation of social experiences that may be rooted in a school’s culture, climate, and/or tradition. Additionally, schools should note that requiring mindfulness of students puts the burden on the students to manage their mental health. By instead seeking a balance among the influencers of the school environment and students’ social, emotional, and intellectual development, the burden falls more heavily— and appropriately—on adults in the school community.
14 See: Journal of the American Medical Association: Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 15 See: Wharton/UPenn and The New York Times: Can We End the Meditation Madness? 16 See: Mindfulness has huge health potential but McMindfulness is no panacea by John Kabat-Zinn
Homework. Schools should evaluate the role of homework and
other activities required of students (intentionally or unintentionally) to ensure students maintain a balanced amount of stress (or eustress). Schools also need to play an active role in helping to ensure students achieve at least eight to 10 hours of quality sleep per night.17 Some resources to help schools understand the arguments for reforming the frequency and quality of homework, for reimagining school schedules, and for strategies to manage students’ workloads include:
Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003
Schools also need to play an active role in helping to ensure students achieve at least eight to 10 hours of quality sleep per night.
Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools The Overpressured Student Reforming Homework Practices Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids (Note: discredits a persistent and harmful myth that Advanced Placement courses are the central cause of academic stress in America) Snooze… or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits The PERMA (Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement) Model for Institutional Leadership and Culture Change
17 See: American Academy of Pediatrics: Insufficient Sleep in Adolescents and Young Adults: An Update on Causes and Consequences and American Academy of Pediatrics: School Start Times for Adolescents
Academic Balance. All schools should align their health and wellness
strategies with their respective missions in order for those strategies to be successful and sustainable. As many schools promote academic excellence as a tenet of their missions, schools may be relieved to know that the foundation of school health and wellness is grounded in not only promoting health, balance, and well-being, but it is also— and equally—grounded in helping students achieve academically.18 With this foundation in mind, several schools have amended their organizational structures to include leadership positions overseeing health and wellness education and community health and well-being. These new positions help to establish balance across school activities and schedules; educate faculty, administrators, and parents; implement and evaluate health and wellness programs, coordinate schoolwide health and wellness efforts; teach health-related classes; and promote the overall well-being of the community as key to the school’s success. Although changes made by these schools have been considerable, they have managed to do so while maintaining matriculation of students to competitive universities and while maintaining the rigor of their academic programs. A key message shared by one of the facilitators of this strand was:
“If it is a core tenet of a school to prepare students for life, then such preparation must include—with equal intensity and relevance— preparation for becoming our authentic selves, navigating the social environment, and providing a foundation for balancing work, family and community life.”
—Charles Colten, Director of Community Wellbeing, Hackley School
18 See: Allensworth, D.D., & Kolbe, L.J. (1987). The comprehensive school health program: exploring an expanded concept. Journal of School Health, 57(10), 409-412.
Curriculum Equivalence. The curriculum is the vehicle of
the school. For health and wellness to be seen as a priority by its community, a school needs to place health and wellness curricula on the same plane as every other subject. Schools should provide healthrelated lessons at each grade level that are age-appropriate. Ideally, lessons are informed by professionals whose training and education is in health education and who provide lessons that continually reflect the needs of students. At minimum, a school’s health curriculum reflects Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum and strives to achieve appropriate practices in school-based health education. Beyond ensuring efficacy of their health education curricula, schools should hold health classes to the same expectations to which they hold other courses that compose the school’s curricular program.
Integration. Health in the school curriculum also should integrate
“Ideally, lessons are informed by professionals whose training and education is in health education and who provide lessons that continually reflect the needs of students.” —Justine Fonte, Director of Health and Wellness, The Dalton School
with other subjects and school personnel from across various domains of school life. Schools may benefit from expanding health education across departments rather than limiting it to its own department. By nature, health education and its teachers need to be collaborative. For example, health education is also teaching about human behavior and health science, which overlaps with social science, biology, medicine, social-emotional learning, probability and statistics, social justice, character development, literacy, social networking, technology, human engagement and motivation, psychology and behavior management, and other areas that—when combined with the opportunity to practice and develop social skills—are essential knowledge for students. Such skills and knowledge also are instrumental to a student’s personal well-being, achievement, and—potentially—preparation for a burgeoning movement around transforming healthcare and how we treat and interact with people (e.g., StartUpHealth). Family
Engagement. There are numerous ways to engage families in a school’s health curriculum and education. Faculty and parents, however, also need health education that provides information that is up-to-date, translates research, and helps make sense of conflicting health information. Morning coffee workshops, evening events, and sessions that included creative topics were found to be effective in attracting parents to school health and wellness events. Successful topics and methods tested include: a) how to answer questions about sex; b) teen social scene, stress, anxiety, and depression on campus; c) documentary screenings, and; d) parenting a Millennial.
Leadership Mindset. Mindsets are influential in life pursuits and the achieve-
“We’re not trying to replace the importance of academics in our schools, but we know that without the students being able to be well and to be healthy, they’re not able to focus on the real business of being in school, and that is learning; and teachers and administrators similarly can’t do that if we are not well.” —Rebecca M. Sykes, President, The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation
ment of goals.19 Maintaining a mindset that health is the “overall condition of an organism at a given time” or that it is “freedom from disease or abnormality” 20 is outdated and excludes critical components that contribute to a person’s overall health, well-being, and optimal performance. School leadership may have a positive impact on their communities by championing a new definition of health and wellness that includes terms such as: homeostasis; balance; joy; engagement; physical and emotional safety; empathy; spontaneity; adaptability; optimal thinking, development, and social functioning.21 Through a new definition of health and well-being, leadership can adopt a new mindset that re-emphasizes the preparation of the “whole student” as a key advantage of independent schools in preparing students for college and for life. An informed mindset about health and wellness is also important to parents, who will benefit from ongoing messages from leadership that colleges want well-balanced individuals with lifeskills training and traditional and contemporary courses of study.
Value. Schools benefit from leaders who value school health and
wellness programs and education as essential to prevention of health-risk behaviors in and out of school and as essential to fostering lifelong balanced living, happiness, and achievement. Leadership support from all levels is essential to a successful and collaborative wellness program. Models of leadership in school health and wellness are diverse, but all models promote trust, collaboration, respect, authenticity, and support in order for school health and wellness initiatives to be successful. Overall, a school’s culture needs support from the No. 1 person in the school, the head of school; however, schools don’t build a culture of health with the leadership of the head and/ or senior administration alone. Schools build a culture of health with support from all stakeholders across the school community.
Inspire. Schools may also benefit from leadership that inspires school
communities to adopt health and wellness as integral components to their mission statement. Physical, mental/intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual health are all components of health and wellness. These components serve as a foundation for health and wellness programs and education. Inspiring discussions around health and wellness may start with a broad model that provides a comprehensive view of a program or curriculum. From this broad model, schools can begin a collaborative and iterative process that includes input from the community on boundaries and feasibility of program elements. In the long term, inspiring new ideas based on the goals of the school’s mission statement should be an ongoing process.
19 See: Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: the new psychology of success (1st ed.). New York: Random House. 20 From: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. (2011). (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 21 See also: How should we define health? and Building Resilient Kids: Address to the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Collaboration Multidisciplinary. The work of school health professionals (and health
...today’s collaborators often represent different disciplines, requiring collaboration to be multidisciplinary, rather than intradisciplinary.
professionals at large) is increasingly requiring collaboration in order to be most effective. With advanced and more complete understandings of human health and wellness, today’s collaborators often represent different disciplines, requiring collaboration to be multidisciplinary, rather than intradisciplinary. A push for interdisciplinary collaborative skills (e.g., “collective intelligence,” “cooperative learning,” “hybrid thinking”) development is not only reflected strongly in the movement for this century’s education,22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 it is also reflected in a shift in how healthcare professionals care for a population’s health and well-being. The integrated collaborative care model 28 (as well as the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice)29 represents a state-of-the-art standard of care and a model for schools that are working with interdisciplinary groups of health professionals. Within the collaborative care model, multidisciplinary harmony, communication, and action across primary care authorities (e.g., doctors, nurses), mental health behavior professionals (e.g., psychologists, counselors), health educators, and other professionals (health and non-health) is paramount. A model of collaborative care also integrates with the multiple dimensions of human health and guides collaboration across disciplines on campus: deans, faculty, counseling, health center, medical, safety, chaplains, and etc. The model further extends to nutrition counselors, educators, coaches, house counselors, etc. and promotes shared responsibility between people and across departments.
Interscholastic. Health and wellness will only gain increasing importance
in our lives and in our schools if we collaborate interscholastically to share effective practices and maintain a healthy platform for sharing frustrations in hope of finding solutions. Developing and sustaining a central independent school health consortium can promote consistency and clarity about what we are trying to teach and how we—together—can work to produce optimal results for students, families, and school leadership.
22 See: Framework for 21st Century Learning: Communication and Collaboration 23 See: Jacobs, H.H., & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (2010). Curriculum 21: Essential education for a changing world. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 24 See: Trilling, B., Fadel, C., & Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 25 See: Scherer, M. (2010). Keeping the Whole Child Healthy and Safe: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership (electronic ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 26 See: Chen, M. (2010). Education nation: Six leading edges of innovation in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 27 See: Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods 28 See: Dissemination of Integrated Care Within Adult Primary Care Settings: The Collaborative Care Model (see also: Evolving Models of Behavioral Health Integration in Primary Care; Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child: A Collaborative Approach to Learning and Health 29 See: Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice
Culture of Coordinated Healthcare in Independent Schools
C . all to Action About the Call to Action
Another important component of the summit was a call to action presented to heads and trustees of the Eight Schools Association (ESA) by Amy Patel, medical director at Phillips Academy; Raj Mundra, assistant dean of students at Phillips Academy; and Miguel Marshall, interim executive director of the Independent School Health Association. Heads and trustees remain crucial partners in an effort to improve and expand health and wellness as an integral part of a school’s culture, academic program, and overall goals. Presentation to the Eight Schools Association
Although numerous independent schools have adopted community models that promote “health” and have embraced and practiced the art of nurturing the “whole child,” schools differ in how they define health and vary in their implementation of initiatives to prevent undesired outcomes on both the community and individual levels. The Coordinated School Health Model, a standard for school health in the 21st century, requires coordination and collaboration in order to function optimally in support of the individual student and community. When done well, this model supports student academic achievement and community engagement. With many competing priorities in the independent school, this model can often prove difficult to embrace, implement, and maintain. In the absence of such a coordinated effort, however, risk and harm to our students and community are heightened. In a 45-minute session with ESA heads and trustees, presenters aimed to develop a shared vision for a healthy school community, discuss the power of evidence-based practice and knowledge, and motivate school leadership to develop a mindset that embraces the inherent evolution of the concept of “health.” This mindset would serve to foster approaches that may prevent undesired outcomes and help to promote what is already considered by scholars and authors to be a critical skill and curricular component of the 21st century. The slides for this presentation are accessible here. 13
Background and Overview ºH . ealth and Wellness in Independent Schools
The terms “health” and “wellness” encompass a variety of unique services, programs, and initiatives offered by independent schools. Similarly, the terms “whole student” and “whole community” reflect overarching coordinated and collaborative approaches designed to influence a host of positive outcomes related to student achievement, engagement, resilience, character, motivation, and social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development. Likewise, an abundance of research supports that comprehensive and systematic approaches to health and wellness at the school level influence healthy choices across the lifespan and help to prevent undesired consequences of risky health behavior. Yet, at the date of this summit, there had not been a consistent commitment to an annual summit that embraces the longitudinal importance of health and wellness as they apply fundamentally to a community and to a student’s overall success at school and in life.
Numerous members of Phillips Academy’s wellness team gather at the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center. 14
The aim of the summit was to provide an opportunity for independent school faculty and administrators and an interdisciplinary group of health professionals to coalesce to identify and share best practices related to school health and wellness across four key strands. Each of these four strands was guided by questions that aimed to engage and spark discussion among colleagues across the independent schools. The four key strands and essential questions were: Climate and Culture How do you identify and evaluate a school’s culture or climate? What are some essential measures or metrics needed to
understand the health of a school’s community? How do we influence climate and culture in our schools?
How do we continually ensure alignment of
school health goals with a school’s mission and its goals for the “Whole Student” and “Whole Community”?
Curriculum What are the components of
an effective health curriculum, and how do we make time to incorporate health as an academic subject?
Why is it important that health education is equal in value to
other core areas of a school’s curriculum? Leadership How do schools build a “culture of
What does it mean when we reprioritize health in a school?
How is reprioritizing done collaboratively and successfully? What are some of
the barriers to reprioritization, and what are some strategies to overcoming them?
Collaboration Why is collaboration one of
the most important elements to a 21st century education, and how do we make time for it?
How do we implement and practice it across classrooms,
departments, and families to better engage the school community in the development of the “Whole Student”?
S. ummit Program Keynote Address
Rebecca M. Sykes, MSW President of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation Workshops and Strands Climate and Culture
Essential questions: How do you identify and evaluate a school’s culture or climate? What are some essential measures or metrics needed in order to understand the health of a school’s community? How do we influence climate and culture in our schools? How do we continually ensure alignment of school health goals with a school’s mission and its goals for the “Whole Student and “Whole Community”? Cofacilitators: Suniya Luthar, PhD Foundation Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University; Professor Emerita, Columbia University’s Teachers College Stuart Bicknell, MEd, EdD Consultant and former Director of Counseling, Deerfield Academy Joshua Relin, PhD Director of Counseling, Deerfield Academy
Essential questions: What are the components of an effective health curriculum, and how do we make time to incorporate health as an academic subject? Why is it important that health education is equal in value to other core areas of a school’s curriculum?
Essential questions: How do schools build a “culture of health”? What does it mean when we reprioritize health in a school? How is reprioritizing done collaboratively and successfully? What are some of the barriers to reprioritization, and what are some strategies to overcoming them?
Cofacilitators: Justine Fonte, MEd, MPH Director of Health and Wellness, The Dalton School Lisa Morin, MSW, LICSW Director of Counseling, Milton Academy
Cofacilitators: Charles Colten, MA Director of Community Wellbeing, Hackley School Benjamin Gardner, MD, FAAP Co-Medical Director, Phillips Exeter Academy Collaboration
Essential questions: Why is collaboration one of the most important elements to a 21st century education, and how do we make time for it? How do we implement and practice it across classrooms, departments, and families to better engage the school community in the development of the “Whole Student”? Cofacilitators: John Suby, LCSW, MEd Director of Athletics, Health and Wellness, Dana Hall School Caroline MacNichol, MA Director of Middle School, Dana Hall School John Bassi, MD Medical Director, St. Paul’s School
Speakers and Facilitators
Rebecca M. Sykes, MSW President, Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation Becky Sykes is the former associate head of school at Phillips Academy. While at Andover, she was devoted to the intellectual growth and personal well-being of youth from every quarter. Becky arrived at Phillips Academy in 1973 at the outset of coeducation. She served at PA for 40 years in nearly a dozen different roles, including in her original role as part-time receptionist to her roles as acting head of school (2002–2003) and associate head of school (1996–2013). As associate head of school, Becky oversaw all residential life, including psychological services, spiritual and religious life, community and multicultural development, and athletics. Becky is a compassionate leader who is always focused on creating and sustaining a thriving community. She practices wellness, balance and empathy in her own life, serving as a model for all that Andover’s new Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center represents. She earned a BA degree from Harvard University and an MSW from Simmons College’s School of Social Work. Becky is the current president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, for which she continues to do amazing and inspiring work. Suniya Luthar, PhD Foundation Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University; Professor Emerita, Teachers College, Columbia University After receiving a doctoral degree from Yale University in 1990, Suniya Luthar served on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and the Child Study Center at Yale. Between 1997 and 2013, she was at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she also served as senior advisor to the provost (2011–2013). Suniya’s research involves vulnerability and resilience among various populations, including youth in poverty, children in families affected by mental illness, and teens in upper-middle class families. A mother of two grown children herself, her current scientific focus is on motherhood; studies aim to illuminate what best helps women negotiate the challenges of this life-transforming role and to apply these insights in interventions toward fostering their resilience. Suniya is the primary author of the widely circulated, “I can, therefore I must: Fragility in the upper-middle classes,” and the highly cited, “The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work.” She has also been quoted as an expert by various media channels, including Atlantic Magazine in its striking article, “The Silicon Valley Suicides: Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto?” 18
Stuart Bicknell, MEd, EdD Consultant and Former Director of Counseling, Deerfield Academy
Stuart Bicknell started the Counseling Program at Deerfield Academy in 1975 while in the doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts. For the past 40 years, Stuart has consulted at schools from New England to Hawaii, where he spent a year at the Punahou School launching their counseling program. He has presented on topics ranging from adolescent mental health issues to “Teaching and Intimacy” (boundary trainings). Stuart was one of the founders of the Independent School Health Association (ISHA) and served two terms as president of the council. When he retired in June 2015 after many years as the director of counseling, Deerfield asked him to stay on as a consultant to work on special projects, including an exploration of stress, pace, and the annual increase in demands for counseling services. Stuart has the optimistic belief that, without sacrificing the standards that make our schools so full and fertile, we can become kinder, gentler, healthier places for our students to learn and grow. He received a BA degree from Middlebury College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts. Benjamin Gardner, MD, FAAP Co-Medical Director, Phillips Exeter Academy Dr. Benjamin Gardner is currently co-medical director at Phillips Exeter Academy; this position follows his retirement as medical director at Choate Rosemary Hall, where he led health services, wellness, and counseling for 16 years. A board-certified pediatrician, Gardner is a graduate of Princeton University, Dartmouth Medical School, and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock pediatric residency program. His areas of interest include sports medicine, adolescent medicine, ADHD, suicide prevention, and health center organization. Gardner is the father of four children and has three grandchildren. His youngest daughter, Sarah, is a pediatric resident at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. He enjoys hiking the White Mountains, sailing, and skiing and has been a high school lacrosse and hockey coach for more than 30 years. Charles Colten, MA Director of Health and Community Wellbeing, Hackley School Charles Colten has more than 25 years of teaching experience in public, private, and international schools. He holds a master’s degree in private school leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University and is also the director and chief instructor of “Aikido in the Schools,” which brings integrated wellness into public and private schools, developing and delivering programs that enhance physical fitness, mental focus, and emotional intelligence among students, faculty, and administrators. As a member of the teaching faculty at the Office of Administrative Trials 19
and Hearings (OATH) in New York City, he leads workshops in stress management and collaborative conflict resolution for city, state, and federal judges and also brings these programs to hospital staff and administration, city workers, and others who engage in high stress and high volume environments. Most importantly, Charles is a passionate and lifelong student who strives to inspire—and encourages his students to do the same in whatever field they choose. Justine Fonte, MEd, MPH Director of Health and Wellness, The Dalton School Justine Fonte has worked in health education in both public and private schools. She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii and a master’s degree in public health with a specialization in sexual health from Columbia University. As Dalton’s first director of health and wellness, she teaches health and coordinates health initiatives for students, parents, and faculty. She is a firm believer that health education is social justice education and builds her programming through that lens. Justine also works as a consultant to schools in health education programming. Lisa Morin, MSW, LICSW Director of Counseling, Milton Academy Lisa Morin has been the director of counseling at Milton Academy for the past six years. During that time, she has provided training for faculty and students on various issues, including primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of drugs and alcohol; LGBT; healthy communication patterns; sexual health; and bullying/hazing. She teaches in Milton Academy’s Affective Education program and consults to the program coordinator. Lisa coteaches the very popular Human Sexuality and Relationships course on campus and helps train the student leaders who teach that course to underclassmen. Lisa has also worked to support communities with campuswide grief and has consulted with several schools on grief management. Lisa formerly worked at several outpatient clinics in New Haven and Bridgeport, CT, and Gloucester, MA, where she consulted in schools. Lisa also provided trauma-informed consultation to clinicians who worked as members of sexual/physical abuse and domestic violence treatment teams. John Suby, LCSW, MEd Director of Athletics, Health and Wellness, Dana Hall School John Suby joined Dana Hall School in 2002. Previously, he was president and founder of Addiction Prevention, Inc., a nonprofit organization that developed and delivered innovative health and wellness programs for hundreds of private and public schools. 20
From 1989 to 1991, John was a regional service representative for Spofford Hall, where his responsibilities included continuing the development of appropriate adolescent treatment for chemical dependency. He served as executive director, responsible for operations, for the FCD Foundation from 1980 to 1989 and was a program manager for Care About Now, Inc., from 1978 to 1980. John is on the board of the Independent School Health Association (ISHA) and is affiliated with several organizations, including the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, Massachusetts Peer Helpers Association, Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association, and National Association of Social Workers. Additionally, John has served as a member of the corporation and as a trustee at the Noble and Greenough School, his alma mater. John is a licensed certified social worker for the Commowealth of Mass achusetts. He earned a BA degree from Hobart College and an MEd degree from Boston State College. John Bassi, MD Medical Director, St. Paul’s School A board-certified family physician, Dr. John Bassi has served as the medical director at St. Paul’s School for the past eight years, focusing on adolescent medicine and working with teens in all aspects of their medical, psychosocial, and emotional development. He oversees the Clark House Health Center, which staffs nurses, counselors, and other specialists who support St. Paul’s students on a 24/7 basis. John formerly worked as a family physician at Family Tree Health Care, a Concord Hospital–owned practice. John graduated from Middlebury College and then attended the Dartmouth-Brown Medical School program, where he spent his first two academic years at Dartmouth and his third and fourth clinical years at Brown University. During his training, he spent time on Native American reservations in Arizona and Alaska. After medical school, he trained for two years at Rhode Island Hospital, one year as a surgical intern followed by one year as a urology resident. From there, he moved north to complete a threeyear family practice residency program through the N.H.-Dartmouth Family Practice Residency Program at Concord Hospital. John continues to work on a per diem basis as a family physician for Concord Hospital during the summer. As a clinical instructor in community and family medicine, he trains medical students from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and interns from the N.H.-Dartmouth Family Practice Residency Program. In the community, John has served on the boards of Riverbend Community Mental Health Center and N.H. Academy of Family Physicians, and on the vestry at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in Hopkinton, N.H. He is also a current medical liaison for the NEPSAC Sports Medicine Advisory Group.
Summit Planning Committee
Amy Patel, MD
Medical Director and Codirector of Wellness Education, Phillips Academy
Miguel Marshall, EdD
Interim Executive Director, Independent School Health Association
Carol Israel, PhD
Director of Counseling and Codirector of Wellness Education, Phillips Academy
Sandra Lopez-Morales, PhD Counselor, Phillips Academy
Rajesh Mundra, MAT
Assistant Dean of Students and Instructor in Biology, Phillips Academy
Administrative Assistant and Wellness Programming Coordinator, Phillips Academy
Appendix climate and culture
Dr. Suniya Luthar’s presentation Dr. Stuart Bicknell and Dr. Joshua Relin’s presentation Curriculum
Ms. Justine Fonte and Ms. Lisa Morin’s presentation Curriculum Resources Curriculum Worksheet Leadership
Mr. Charles Colten and Dr. Benjamin Gardner’s presentation Collaboration
There were no presentation files used at the summit for the Collaboration strand. This workshop was conversational and collaboratively run. Photos
Photos from the summit Videos
Keynote presentation Panel discussion
Join us next spring for our April 2017 summit!
Published on Sep 21, 2016
This report summarizes key findings and recommendations from an independent secondary school health and wellness summit hosted by Phillips A...