Student Well-Being

Emotional well-being continues to emerge in education, neuroscience, and social science research as a key factor for positive education, health, and learning outcomes for students. When well-being is assessed and addressed on an ongoing basis, students are primed to reach their highest potential and staff are better attuned to meet the needs of the students they serve. By integrating student well-being into a school or district’s philosophy, plans, resources, and supports provided, educational leaders have the opportunity to create school environments that nurture students in a holistic, meaningful way and set them up to thrive in school and life.

Guiding Questions

  • How can educational leaders support student well-being on an ongoing basis, integrating it with educational supports?
  • What are some approaches we can take to apply an equity lens to student well-being?
Examples, Tools and Strategies
Strategies Aligned Resources

Create emotional space

Give educators, students and other stakeholders the chance to celebrate resilience, mourn loss and imagine how their learning from the pandemic might lead to better schools in the future. Create space and ongoing opportunities for this type of connection.

Use these Classroom Shared Agreements  + Add to Action Plan (and other lesson plans) from CASEL to create time to build the relationships that encourages learners to feel a sense of communitythat they are “in this together. 

Access Healing, Community, and Humanity: How students and Teachers Want to Reinvent Schools Post-COVID  + Add to Action Plan from Teaching Systems Lab. It provides a toolkit (pages 23-30) and guidance on how to implement four reflection protocols with your school communities.

Use an equity lens

Educators must eliminate sources of bias from the school environment and offer culturally responsive instruction that connects to students’ experiences, acknowledges cultural assets and promotes cross-cultural relationships.

Incorporate elements of identify-safe learning experiences that promote student achievement and attachment to school. To learn more about these practices, download Educating the whole child: Improving school climate to support student success + Add to Action Plan, by Linda Darling-Hammond and Channa Cook-Harvey.

Normalize talking about mental health

Creating an environment where mental health is discussed and destigmatized can pave the way for student growth and well-being. By providing clear communication, resources, and opportunities for students to engage in ongoing mental health awareness activities and self-management, educational leaders can help normalize addressing this important topic and create a safe space for students, families, and staff.

Read and share Why Schools Need to Normalize and Prioritize Students’ Mental Health + Add to Action Plan, an article from Teach for America, for insights into mental health for students from low-income households and guidance on how educational leaders can better address their needs at the school and district level.

To take the topic to the classroom level, share 6 Ways to Embed Mental Wellness into Classroom Culture for High School Students + Add to Action Plan The article from EVERFI offers practical advice and activities to help teachers address mental health in the classroom culture.