New Health and Wellness Program in High School

By Richard Moore

This year, RIS has launched the new HS Health & Wellness course, which is a requirement for all current grade 9 students. The purpose of the class is to help students develop the skills they need to enhance their holistic health. The particular emphasis in the grade 9 course is on their social, mental, and emotional health. The intention of the course is that these learned skills will help students be happier and more successful in terms of their goals and tasks throughout high school, college, and later in life. A special classroom was designed to encourage collaborative work and a more comfortable setting in which to share experiences with their teacher and peers. 


Holistic Health Wheel

Last year we gave RIS students in grades 8–10 a comprehensive survey from the Minnesota-based Search Institute to provide additional guidance for the course curriculum. Along with input from a student task force comprising HS upperclassmen, it was determined that students at RIS were particularly concerned about stress, depression, technology balance, lack of sleep, and social interactions.

This semester, our grade 9 students have joined more than 6 million others around the world in taking the VIA (Values In Action) Character Traits survey program. The students have studied how being aware of their positive traits can help them engage in more fulfilling interactions with others.

Before the October parent-teacher conferences, the students created Technology Responsible Use Agreements (RUA), for their family/at home and as a school, for the Class of 2022. These are signed agreements between the students, parents, and the school to help students manage their digital use more effectively. Later this year, the students will participate in the Johns Hopkins University Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP), along with learning and presenting about various mindfulness strategies and other stress-reducing practices.

The new grade 10 Health & Wellness course starts next year. It will continue to develop students’ holistic health skills, with an emphasis on physical and environmental concerns such as nutrition, infectious diseases, lifestyle diseases, and reproductive health.