Cura Personalis . . . Care for the entire person

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, Walsh Jesuit will implement programs, policies, and initiatives that complement existing offerings to better attend to the wellness needs of its students. To properly understand the rationale behind such decisions, it is necessary to look at the recent history and context from which such decisions arose.

Context

During the 2014-15 school year, Walsh Jesuit began a review of its drug and alcohol policy, a policy that had been in place since 2001. A number of factors prompted this review. Disciplinary cases revealed a diminution in the concern expressed by students in their attitudes toward drugs and alcohol use. Students voluntarily met with school administrators to inform them of their concerns regarding the current policy and its effect on the student use of drugs and alcohol. There were a number of fatalities involving young alumni due to involvement with drugs and alcohol. Northeast Ohio saw a major upswing in drug availability and use, predominantly among young adults from middle to upper class backgrounds. And three local Catholic high schools (St. Ignatius, St. Edward, and Gilmour Academy) began mandatory drug testing programs, prompting conversations with these schools to discover more about their motivations, programs, and outcomes.

At the same time, administrators, faculty, and staff members entered into discussions about the mental and emotional wellness of our students. Observations regarding student responses to anxiety and stress prompted informal conversations about what the school was doing to meet all of the developmental needs of its students. Local and national trends regarding the emotional wellness of high school students were examined and convinced the adults within the Walsh Jesuit community that greater attention needed to be paid to how students were prepared for college and life.

Concurrently, yet independently, various programs, activities, and physical improvements were being considered that attended to the spiritual, intellectual, and social needs of students, as well.

Year of Study: 2015-16

Prior to making any decisions regarding the direction of the policy discussions, programmatic offerings, or resource availability, the administration of Walsh Jesuit High School decided to widen the scope of its examination beyond simply drug and alcohol or emotional wellness issues. Identifying cultural movements and reviewing community needs, Walsh Jesuit broadened its look to encompass the overall wellness of its student body and made this area the focus of the 2015-16 school year. In addition, feedback from other schools indicated that any change in policy or procedures needed to be demanded and shared by stakeholders and constituents, not arbitrarily imposed from the top down. Therefore, Walsh Jesuit expanded its approach to look at the emotionalphysicalsocialintellectual, and spiritual wellness of its students. 
At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, Walsh Jesuit formed a Parent Wellness Committee, a Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee, and a student panel on Wellness to look at the overall wellness of students and the supportive structures necessary for the promotion of such wellness. In addition to creating educational opportunities for faculty/staff members and students, these committees attempted to examine policies and programs. The Parent Wellness Committee was specifically tasked with reviewing the drug and alcohol policy. The Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee attempted to understand attitudes surrounding student emotional wellness, specifically those related to issues of stress and anxiety. Each Committee first created surveys for students (and in the case of the Parent Wellness Committee, for parents, as well) to identify the attitudes of each group toward particular areas of wellness, the impact of these attitudes on policy, and the desires of each group on how to improve the school in this area. 

Stemming from the results of the Parent and Student Attitude Surveys on Drugs/Alcohol and the Student Emotional Wellness Survey came conversations about how the school could best meet the diverse needs of its student body and parent community. The Wellness initiatives are intended to further the overall emotional, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual wellness of the Walsh Jesuit student body. It is not designed to be a final effort, as modifications and additions will be made, going forward. But it is the first step in an ongoing commitment to work with parents and faculty/staff members to pro-actively attend to the wellness needs of our students. 

Note: The Student Wellness Initiative programs represent new approaches taken by the school in addressing the overall wellness of the Walsh Jesuit student body. It does not include the current programming that is already available.

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