Administration requests student input on mental wellness


Aarya Kumar

A student dejectedly looks on at the Christmas tree in Nobel Commons before Winter Break. In the past few years, mental wellness has grown as a concern due to events like the pandemic. Jefferson’s administration team (admin) hopes to use student input as a way of tackling this issue.

Aarya Kumar, Online Editor-in-Chief

With past success in using student input, the administration team is turning to this useful tool to combat increased stress from events like the pandemic. The team hopes to use this input to implement far-reaching and lasting initiatives on a daily basis. 

Events have impacted student wellness at Jefferson over the past few years.

“While the pandemic certainly heightened students’ and parents’ stress levels, I think it brought mental wellness to the forefront of our work in education. Since we welcomed students back into our schools and returned to in-person learning, there has been a greater emphasis on social-emotional learning,” Associate Principal Sara Genetin-Pilawa said. 

The administration is looking to direct more funding toward Jefferson’s mental wellness component. 

“We receive federal funds through the ESSER grant, which are intended to be used for student wellness and academics. Many of our funds supporting the academic goals are aimed at providing training and professional development for teachers. For wellness goals, we are looking to provide additional resources for advisory that support the relationship-building and positive atmosphere at TJ,” Genetin-Pilawa said.

In the past, student input has been utilized to improve other aspects of Jefferson.

“Our administrative team uses student input and feedback provided formally through surveys and informally through conversations.  The Climate Survey [taken by students last spring] and SEL Screener [taken 2x yearly] provided great insight and we are proud of the favorable responses we see when we examine this data,” Genetin-Pilawa said.

Student input is more vital now than ever.

“ESSER funding is something that is only available to schools during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years. We do not anticipate that this funding opportunity will come around again in the future, so we are hoping to utilize the funding in ways that will impact our school for years to come,” Genetin-Pilawa said.

As opposed to lengthened projects toward improving student wellness, admin is looking to help students on a daily basis.

“While we can use advisory time and 8th-period time, we can also capitalize on before/after school time periods and lunch/JLC. I think we have plenty of opportunities in our schedule to build in some creative programming to enhance student wellness,” Genetin-Pilawa said.

Outside of student input, there are other ways that students can help with Jefferson’s mental wellness component.

“I strongly encourage students to talk to your SGA representatives, and/or join us at the Mental Health Coalition monthly meetings.  You can also talk directly to a member of the school administrative team who will point you in the right direction,” Genetin-Pilawa said.