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Nurturing Mind, Body & Heart: Embracing Human-Centered Wellness in Innovageous Schools

At Innovageous, we lead with our why – to provide continuity of learning and inclusive opportunities to all children. We intentionally prioritize connections with people first because accelerating change and innovation in education starts with understanding and connecting to a common shared vision.  While our goals and processes that inform our work are firm, our solutions are flexible, customized, and inclusive of diversity of thought. Because we understand the purpose of schools is to meet the authentic needs and wants of students, staff, and community members, Innovageous School Design emphasizes the principle of Human-Centered Wellness. 


Innovageous Schools center the human experience when implementing the many systems that function in a school, including operations, instruction, leadership, professional development, school climate, family and community engagement, and student support. Innovageous Schools recognize that the wellness of students, staff, families, and the community is impacted by physical, social, and emotional environments. Therefore, Innovageous Schools proactively plan systems that minimize unnecessary stress and consider physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. Knowing that people have diverse and often changing experiences, Innovageous Schools regularly gather and implement feedback from the stakeholders they serve about their wants, needs, and ideas for improving their wellbeing. 


Below are some examples of ways that schools and organizations we partner with are currently centering human wellness:


  • At Chester Community Charter School, leaders recognize the importance of differentiated and personalized wellness options for their staff. Based on survey results, interviews, and focus groups with over 150 staff, they implemented a differentiated approach to improve staff wellness. The school considered physical, social, and emotional needs of their staff, resulting in integrating wellness workshops into PD days, designing staff wellness rooms in each of their 15 buildings across 4 campuses, and launching a teacher-led professional development institute. 


  • Baltimore City Early Learning Programs continue to elevate compassionate behavior support for their students through professional learning, coaching, and consultation for their Early Learning Program teachers, leaders, and paraprofessionals. As teachers learn about nurturing, affirming ways to address tough behaviors with their youngest students, they also partake in activities to develop their own social-emotional wellbeing and regulation. In addition, Baltimore City extended learning opportunities to families of infants & toddlers through open office hours and virtual mini-lessons about caring for young children, recognizing that child wellness is strongly connected to the wellbeing of their caregivers. 


  • The PD Pathways program at Pan American Academy Charter School embodies human-centered wellness by centering the differentiated professional development needs of their staff. Pan American Academy staff both lead and get to choose their professional learning journey throughout the year, which creates a healthy and enjoyable school climate of sharing, collaboration and learning. Staff have reported increased engagement and learning as a result of being able to choose the topics and skills that align with their own professional goals. 


  • At John Marshall Elementary School, the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) centers the whole child, remaining flexible to the diverse needs of each student. Rooted in a comprehensive framework, MTSS at Marshall Elementary seamlessly integrates academic, social-emotional learning, and behavior support, ensuring that no aspect of a child's development is overlooked. Through personalized interventions and collaborative efforts among educators, Marshall Elementary cultivates an inclusive environment and has experienced significant increases in student achievement and compassionate behavior supports. 


  • As a result of student social-emotional needs, Middle Years Alternative students and staff collectively pause every day for a brief Mindful Moment. This 10-minute pause allows students and staff to collectively reflect on their emotions, learn about each other, and practice self-regulation strategies that build empathy and connection throughout their community. Since implementing this Mindful Moment schoolwide, students and staff have been able to more proactively address stress and build a more positive learning environment. 

  • Zhang Sah Pre-K and out of school time programs are child-centered learning environments that incorporate martial arts in order to foster cognitive, social and physical development. By incorporating lessons about mind and body from martial arts such as Karate, Tai Kwon Do, Judo, Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, and more, they center whole person wellness for children and adults, and increase academic outcomes for students. 


  • Stemming from their longstanding commitment to equity and inclusion, Girard College has built a unique school-community partnership between their Student Success Team, Independence Blue Cross, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to support their students, families, and staff. Building from the school’s strong foundation of MTSS that prioritizes a collaborative approach to the success and wellbeing of every student, the partnership connects students to on-campus, personalized behavioral health services. 


Just like each of the schools and organizations in the examples above, the first step to centering human wellness is to learn about the diverse needs and wants of the people in your school community. From there, Innovageous Schools develop and implement flexible options, not one-size fits all. Innovageous Schools also recognize that people do not exist solely in the school or work environment. Staff, students, and families have priorities and needs outside of the school building that impact their interactions and wellbeing within the school. By leading with purpose and centering human wellness, Innovageous Schools build connections and shape a future where education is not just a process but a profound journey of shared growth.


Learn more about how to implement the Innovageous School Design principle of Human-Centered Wellness by registering for our session on Compassionate Behavior Support: Centering Human Wellness to Ensure Compassionate Classrooms & Schools. This session,  facilitated by Innovageous Co-Founder Alicia Woolf, in collaboration with Paul McFadden, CEO of Zero Point Leadership, is a great place to start thinking about practical strategies for furthering Human-Centered Wellness in your school or organization. 


Want to be a part of this acceleration and growth? Here are some ways that you can join our ecosystem of partners: 


  1. Funding - Support the development of free resources and tools to broaden our reach and access to anyone who wants to make their school community more innovageous! 

  2. Focus Groups & Committees - We are seeking industry partners in education and/or professional workspaces who want to provide input to the development of resources and tools. 

  3. Partnership - Work in partnership with us to help increase equitable access to Innovageous tools and resources. Your support through ongoing collaboration and partnership helps sustain our work, and expand our reach.


To learn even more about Innovageous School Design or to get involved, schedule a time to chat with us at calendly.com/innovageous.

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