Hub Ambassadors participate in community outreach through social media, storytelling, and participation at events and meetings.
Where do you work, and what is your role?
I am a wellness coordinator and work for the Buffalo School District RE4-J at Merino High School. Currently, I teach middle school science and junior high PE.I coach junior high girls sports, and high school volleyball.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career journey that has led to where you are now?
I started my teaching career in Stratton, Colorado teaching 6th grade. I spent two years in Akron teaching fourth grade, where I began working on my master’s degree in Physical Education, Physical Activity Leadership through the University of Northern Colorado. I began pursuing my passion in health and wellness through my involvement with the Northeast BOCES and the Keep Moving Grant. That led me to the job I currently have in Merino. I want to help kids be active throughout the school day and help provide the best learning environment possible for them. I love my work at Merino because I get to work with students every day and come up with new ways to incorporate health and wellness in our building.
What have you learned since becoming a Hub Ambassador?
I have learned many things about The Hub and the benefits it has. This website has so many great resources and is a great way to connect with other passionate teachers and share ideas. I love that parents and community members can also benefit from the tools and resources located on The Hub.
How would you like to see your colleagues and school community use The Hub?
The Hub is a great website with a variety of resources, tools, grants, and even job openings. This is a one-stop shop that helps limit your time searching for ideas or funding opportunities. The Hub is a great way to connect and communicate with other professionals. Joining groups on the Hub can help build a strong network of like-minded associates and can lead to future opportunities. We can use this website to share ideas and events.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you and your work?
I am now teaching online from home. This has been a huge learning curve and makes me realize how much I love being at school interacting with my students. The wellness team at Merino spent a lot of time partnering and planning with other groups in the school; the last quarter of school was filled with plans for many activities and events to bring students and the community closer, but unfortunately, they have been cancelled due to this situation.
This pandemic has brought to light the many resources available online. It has also forced teachers and other educators to go outside of their comfort zone in order to provide the best education possible for the students. Technology has been a blessing during this time, and has allowed access to endless resources on health and wellness, along with classroom content.
Do you have ideas for how The Hub could be leveraged to support student wellness – both social-emotional and physical – during the extended COVID-19 school closures?
The Hub can be utilized to support the social-emotional and physical wellness of students in many ways. Providing resources to help kids stay motivated and connected is a great way this website can support students who may be struggling. Having a convenient location of tools to combat feelings of anxiety and depression can make a difference in a student’s life, especially during the physical isolation they are experiencing right now.
Do you have any specific examples of health and wellness efforts that have been successful in your district?
Health and wellness are very important and strongly supported by administrators at Merino. There is an entire class dedicated to the improvement of health and wellness and physical activity among the students. The student-led wellness team at Merino is constantly providing innovative ways to incorporate physical activity throughout the school day.
Some of the projects done in the past include the following:
- Creating a schedule for 10-15 minute wellness breaks during each block class for middle school and high school students. This includes yoga, activities in the gym and on the football field, and utilizing the Fit Trail.
- Teaming up with Sources of Strength to put on a Wellness Wonderland that allowed students to engage in different types of activity to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health.
- Wellness Wednesdays: Creating fun, engaging activities such as Walk-and-Talks on the Fit Trail, powderpuff football, minute-to-win-it games, and many more.
When you give students a voice and allow them to take on leadership positions, they become empowered and confident and can do great things!