At MS54, we commit to caring for our physical, mental, and social health and well-being as an essential part of education. The Wellness Committee (formerly known as the School Wellness Council), founded by the School Leadership Team in 2015, invites the entire school community -- administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents/guardians -- to develop Wellness initiatives that become part of the way of life at our school. Our mission is to listen carefully and inclusively to our community's Wellness needs and to respond in meaningful ways. The pandemic has affected each of us differently, so we are paying close attention to people's evolving priorities.
Want to join the MS54 Wellness Movement? Or just say hi? Write to Wellness Lead Alison Gardy at email@example.com.
Find out more about our previous work in our Archive and daily tips on our Facebook page, The Well at 54.
The NYCDOE Office of School Wellness Programs newsletter also provides a wealth of information for students and parents.
MS54's Mental Health Resource Guide
MS54's counseling team has provided a mental health resource guide to clarify families' first points of contacts within the school, as well as listing free and low-cost mental health resources in the community, mental health resources for families of color, and a list of recommended books and podcasts to engage families and children around mental health issues.
Mental Health Resources for the Latinx Community
The NYCDOE Family and Community Wellness Collective suggests the National Hispanic and Latino Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. The mission of the National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC is to provide high-quality training and technical assistance to improve the capacity of the workforce serving the Hispanic and Latino communities in prevention, treatment and recovery for behavioral health.
NEW: The Science of Well-Being for Teens
This online course on teens' well being, from Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos, begins March 23rd.
A recent survey found that 37% of teens say they have poor mental health. This 6-week course aims to curb this mental health crisis by bringing together the best insights from Dr. Laurie Santos’ popular Yale course Psychology and the Good Life. In this course, you will explore what the field of psychology teaches us about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, and how to thrive in high school and beyond. The lessons along with short weekly ‘happiness homework’ assignments will ultimately prepare you to put these scientific findings into practice. The ultimate goal is for you to feel better and build healthier habits. Parents, teachers, and other professionals supporting teenagers may also find the course beneficial.
Register for this course
The Child Mind Institute
Brief videos to help children manage intense emotions. These videos can help kids learn to handle intense emotions without giving in to the urge to act in impulsive ways that can make problems bigger.
Helping Your Child Manage Back-to-School Stress, Child Mind Institute, 9/14/2022.
CMI's Annual Mental Health Awareness Campaign, featuring video messages from celebrity participants who share simple and meaningful advice to encourage children who are struggling to seek help.
Alison Gardy, Parent Chair and SLT Liaison
MS54 Challenge! Fun Snacks from Around the World
We challenged the Booker T. community to share their favorite afterschool snacks. Check them out! You may be inspired to try something new!
INITIATIVES, WORKSHOPS AND MEETINGS
JUNE WELLNESS WORKSHOP -- Don't Miss This Last One!
Dr. Elster's Strategies for Summer Success
Summer is for fun and recharging. It's also a time for helping our children stay curious, feel accomplished, and, come September, be ready to make the most of the coming school year. Dr. Elster shares her strategies for summer success. You don't want to miss this one!
MAY WELLNESS WORKSHOP
Part II: What DId We Learn from the High School Application Process?
May 17 @ 12:00 PM
Principal Dr. Elana Elster, High School Articulation Specialist Jill Bennett, and Social Worker Nicole Miller continue to help us learn from the high school application process. Eighth grade families, come pay it forward and share your experiences. Sixth and seventh grade families, do not miss this sure-to-be-illuminating meeting.
Note that this meeting is a sequel to our January 25th Wellness Workshop on What Did We Learn from the High School Admissions Process? Here is a summary of our unrecorded conversation of that meeting.
APRIL WELLNESS WORKSHOP
Have You Put Your Oxygen Mask On Yet?
Show yourself some self-care! Smiles and practical wisdom await you when you Zoom into the Wellness Workshops on March 29 and April 26. Featuring beloved MS54 parent alumni and psychotherapists Dr. Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Vijayeta Sinh.
MARCH WELLNESS WORKSHOP
How to Communicate Our Expectations to Our Children While Managing Their Stress Level
Wednesday, March 29 @ 7 PM
MISSED THE WORKSHOP? WATCH THE VIDEO!
MS54 parent alum and psychotherapist Dr. Elizabeth Cohen looks forward to talking with our parent/guardian community about how to communicate our expectations to our children while managing their stress level.
APRIL WELLNESS WORKSHOP
Reparenting Ourselves: How to Break Old Patterns & Build Better Relationships with Our Kids - April 26 @ 7:00pm
Do you want to feel less triggered so that you can show up as sturdier, more compassionate, and more connected as a parent? Choosing to be a cycle-breaker means knowing this truth: we can’t change our interactions with our kids until we change our interactions with ourselves. That's where change starts.... Reparenting yourself is the single best way to change old habits & patterns so you can finally show up as the person – and parent – you want to be.
This workshop will show you how to…
Wellness & Equity Workshop: Cultivating our Children as Givers
December 14, 2022 @ 7pm
MiaLisa McFarland Millares, Executive Director of Doing Good Together, shared many ways we can celebrate and encourage our children as givers. Missed it? Catch the recording here and MiaLisa's helpful activity links below:
Wellness Committee Workshop: Dr. Elster's Making the Most of Summer 2022!
June 13, 2022 @ 7pm
This final Wellness Workshop of the year was NOT to be missed:
Dr. Elster shared her observations and wisdom about how to help our children have a healthy, happy summer that sets them up for academic—and life—success in the Fall. And, as structure is a vital part of Wellness, it also helped us to resist that "summer slide."
Wellness Committee Workshop: EFT Tapping 101 for Parents and Teachers
April 13, 2022 @ 7pm
You've heard about EFT, now come learn how to do it!
MS54 Launches a Mindfulness Movement
We are excited to share the launch of our Mindfulness Movement at MS54. Since Fall 2021, in response to the growing mental health concerns in adults and children alike, MS54 parent alum and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Vijayeta Sinh has been creating weekly Mindful Minute videos for Booker T. students, staff and faculty. Many teachers have shared these videos in their homerooms to help students center and focus at the beginning of the day. Parents/guardians are encourage to submit their own video tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Wednesday, we will be featuring a new video on our MS54 Wellness YouTube Channel, where you can go and try a new mindfulness technique. Share them with your children, partners, neighbors, coworkers. It takes very little time to feel more grounded and it can make a BIG positive difference in your day.
In March 2022, beloved MS54 educator and parent alum Ms. Susan Trout passed away. We remember her with gratitude for all she did through the years to instill love and curiosity about the Mandarin language and Chinese cultures. We shall carry her in our hearts and memories. If you would like to share a memory of Ms. Trout, please write email@example.com.
Wellness Committee Workshop with Dr. Vijayeta Sinh
What Does a Growth Mindset Look Like in a Pandemic?
February 9, 2022. Our very own parent alum psychotherapist Dr. Vijayeta Sinh helped us understand how to achieve a "growth mindset," even during a pandemic. She also spoke about social anxiety and acting-out behavior in school.
January's Wellness Committee Meeting with Dr. Terri Bacow
January 12, 2022. CBT expert Dr. Terri Bacow, psychotherapist and author of Goodbye Anxiety: A Guided Journal for Overcoming Worry, shared practical coping skills that can be used whenever you feel anxious. Drawing from her just-released book, she explained how to identify anxiety triggers, change unhelpful thinking patterns and develop healthy mental habits such as self-compassion.
December's Wellness Committee Meeting: Healthy Kitchen Hacks for the (Middle School) Family
December 8, 2021 @ 8pm
Fundamentally rooted in the concept that a healthy life begins with a healthy kitchen, Dr. Dara Huang will demonstrate that simple kitchen skills and adopting a choice mindset are the only ingredients for creating a healthy and more joyful cooking space for the whole family.
Wellness Meeting: Workshop with Dr. Vijayeta Sinh
November 10, 2021 @ 8pm
Too often we think we don't have the time or money to take care of ourselves. But if our own energy is depleted, how can we show up for our children? Psychologist and Booker T. parent alum Dr. Sinh showed us that self-care does not have to depend on time or money, but can be as easy as committing to a few simple strategies.
Family Healing Ambassadors Presentation Panel: How Can We Help Our Children Take Care of Themselves Socially, Emotionally and Physically?
November 3, 2021 @ 8am
Join MS54 panelists Social Worker Nicole Miller, Physical Education Instructor Frank DiPasquale, Parent Coordinator Anne McIntosh Pejovich, and Family Healing Ambassador and Wellness Lead Alison Gardy to discuss a topic of importance to all of us.
54 Watch Party: The Social Dilemma
Thursday, September 23, 2021 @ 8:15pm
The Wellness Committee held a Zoom viewing party for fellow Booker T. families interested in exploring the addictiveness of social media. Heads-up: It's rated PG-13, and may cause a serious discussion. Make sure to bring popcorn! For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MS54 Backpack and Supplies Drive
Thank you to the Booker T. community for giving students the tools for a successful path in the coming year by purchasing an entire backpack of supplies! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Parent Coordinator Anne McIntosh Pejovich.