In The Schools

Wellness at WHRHS: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills

Wellness in Warren: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills Credits: B. Nemcek

WARREN, NJ - A letter was sent to all parents of Watchung Hills Regional High School students (WHRHS) on Jan.19 addressing the school’s efforts to promote student wellness and reduce student stress. The letter also encouraged parents to review the academic integrity guidelines and have conversations with their children about health, wellness, and ethical behavior.

Following is the letter in its entirety from Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett and Principal George Alexis.

January 19, 2018

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Dear Parents,

As we move toward the end of the first semester, we want to take a moment to share our progress on a key element of our district’s strategic plan; specifically, our efforts to enhance social and emotional wellness within our community and reduce student stress. We have received very positive feedback on the new programs and look forward to upcoming events designed to help students make healthy, sound choices that will benefit our learning community.

In early December, we combined our annual Challenge Day program with our first school-wide Wellness Day. In an effort to raise students’ awareness, teachers across the school created lessons designed to show students the relevance of wellness in their academic subjects and the importance of it in their daily lives. Just last week, we were fortunate to host a nationally recognized speaker, former NBA player Chris Herren, to address our community about the dangers of alcohol/substance abuse and the benefits of finding the courage to make better choices. We had close to 700 students and adults in the audience, and we are grateful to the Municipal Alliance and the Warren Police Department for partnering with us. In March, we will host an evening program for parents to follow up on these very important topics.

Student stress and how it can lead to poor decision-making has been the subject of several recent conversations among faculty, administration, and students. Some of our older students describe feeling pressure to succeed in a very competitive college admissions process, and concerns that this pressure is leading some students to compromise their academic integrity have been raised. Though not a new issue in schools, advanced technology complicates the matter. As a faculty and administrative team committed to a culture of ethical responsibility, we are engaging in important conversations on how we can better teach students to respect and promote academic integrity.

Your support as parents is critical. We encourage you to review the academic integrity guidelines and initiate conversations with your children about health, wellness, and ethical behavior. You can view the guidelines through the following link:

Thank you for your support.

The next meeting of the Watchung Hills Board of Education is on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Expect a presentation on wellness in the district with an overview of efforts to educate students, teachers and parents regarding all aspects of wellness via curriculum, professional development and special events.

Presenting are:

Jennifer Basini - Health teacher

Jill Gleason - Health teacher

Julie Kumpf - Student Assistance Counselor


A presentation entitled “Let's Talk” about drugs and alcohol will be held at WHRHS on Tuesday, March 6.

The WHRHS PTO has arranged, in conjunction with Healthy Edge, a discussion on Thursday, April 12 with guest speakers from the Minding Your Mind Foundation on the topic of Teen Mental Health.

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