MILLBURN, NJ - You may have heard, or read in local news reports this week, that the district is embarking on a Health & Wellness initiative.
 
The Board of Education’s ad hoc Health & Wellness Committee, chaired by Board President Emily Jaffe, held several planning meetings this week. A mission statement was drafted, and we are in the process of scheduling a community-wide meeting in mid-February.
 
The draft vision statement of the committee is outlined below:

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The Health & Wellness Committee has been formed to define what a healthy school district looks like; to highlight all of the good work that exists to move the district in that direction; and to identify the gaps and needs that can be promoted to achieve the ultimate goal of raising healthy and accomplished students.
 
We look forward to hearing from our community to help us continue to define issues that impact our students and to provide perspectives to help us address them.
 
We have created a new Health & Wellness site that will provide information about the ongoing work of the committee, as well as articles, resources and events as we move forward.
 
I do want to emphasize that, while we now have a committee dedicated to reviewing our health and wellness, this is not something new in our district. Every day in every school and classroom, our teachers and staff support our students’ social, psychological and physical wellbeing.


 
Over the last year, at the high school alone, we have put a focus on student wellness with the opening of the MHS Student Center, which provides information, workshops, and solutions for promoting positive, healthy living. All students, parents and staff are invited to take advantage of this resource. This week, as students prepared for midterm exams, therapy dogs were there to help them unwind, and have a respite from studying.
 
There are also many parent education opportunities throughout the year, offered by our PTOs, our Special Education Parent Committee (SEPAC), community groups and more. Here are just a few events coming up:
The Parent Wellness Consortium, on February 2 in Berkeley Heights, presents Dr. Brian Chu of Rutgers University who will speak about childhood/adolescent anxiety, school avoidance and school refusal.

MMAC Empower Hour, on Tuesday, January 24 at 11 am at the Millburn Library continues the conversation from the recent Middle School presentation about the health effects of too much screen time on our children.

Tickets are still available for Tuesday night’s (1/24) Education Foundation presentation with the author of Wonder, RJ Palacio, whose message of “choosing kindness” may be one of the healthiest lessons we can give to our children.
 
I wish you a weekend of health and wellness!