JETS Time: Jordan Matthews High School Makes Time for Wellness
2/9/2012 2:04 PM
Creating a Time for Wellness
Most North Carolina high school students satisfy their 1-hour Healthful Living and Physical Education requirement during ninth grade. Once this credit is earned, few students have the opportunity to focus on wellness during the school day.
Jordan Matthews High School in Chatham County has addressed this issue by creating “JETS Time,” a daily enrichment period that includes opportunities for academic remediation, physical activity, and club interests.
By starting the day 10 minutes earlier, dropping a 15-minute break held after the first block, and extending dismissal time by 15 minutes, the school was able to make room for the 40-minute period for students to focus on wellness.
What Are Students Doing During JETS Time?
From choral practice to basketball, painting to Zumba class, students have a variety of choices. This year, hundreds of students have chosen to participate in: Soccer, basketball, tennis, kickball, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, wrestling, walking/jogging, aerobics, yoga, Zumba, battle ball
Students may also use the time for enrichment. To participate in physical or club activity, a student must have a grade average of 80% or higher.
The school will do an analysis at the end of the year to see how drop out, low grade, and graduation rates have changed as a result of the new program. So far, it seems to be working.
Faculty are required to lead one session each day, and community members often volunteer to lead as well. Principal McDonald views this as an opportunity for faculty to build relationships with students. Building these relationships is important in promoting school wellness programs because, as relationships grow stronger, teachers have the opportunity to serve as strong role models for wellness.
Before Jumping In
Principal McDonald says it is necessary to “build staff support for the idea and make sure that they understand that the various JETS sessions do not exist for what the teachers want but for what the students want and need.” He says that “It is important to have clearly defined responsibilities and expectations for both staff and students in place long before implementation takes place.”
How to Get Started
Start with the basics.
- Secure support from your principal
- Form a team; involve faculty, students, and parents; address concerns and request their support
- Create an action plan; list specific goals of the initiative
- Communicate plan to faculty and staff; request their partnership and identify areas where you could use their strength
- Put your plan in place; consider starting the initiative with a kick-off event
- Measure and report your success through periodic evaluation