Why Wellness in Schools?

By: James Jedai Wogan, MSW, PPSC

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS are a powerful investment in the health and academic potential of children and adolescents. They provide access to caring adults and services such as primary care, counseling, mentoring, and peer-to-peer support. School Wellness Centers support teachers by assisting children and adolescents to thrive in the classroom and beyond!

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS provide access to free health care, behavioral health services, and positive youth activities in a location that is fun, safe, and convenient – at school. Parent University is one of the many great programs that are offered at School Wellness Centers.

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS contribute directly to school and school districts goals under LCAP, such as improved rates of attendance, support for children with special needs, and parent and guardian engagement. School administrators, teachers, and support staff work together to improve social, emotional, and behavioral health.  School Wellness Centers bring people together with a shared vision for equity and the healthy development of children. They also provide a platform for inter-agency collaboration, making resources from the community accessible to children and families in the school setting.

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS save school districts money by:

  • Increasing ADA / school attendance.
  • Reducing identification for special education and “significant disproportionality.”
  • Preventing higher levels of educational placement due to behavioral health concerns (i.e. Day Treatment, Mental Health Collaborative, Non-Public Schools (NPS), for learners with special needs, IEP.
  • Reducing student behaviors that contribute to work-related stress.
  • Decreasing staff absenteeism.
  • As kids say – “We can cool down and go back to class. Sometimes we just need a break. We don’t get sent to the office for discipline when it’s just a minor issue.”

Many services offered at School Wellness Centers are provided by partnership agencies with which school districts have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) / Partnership Agreement – at no cost to the school district.


SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS Collaborate with the Public Agencies:

  • Child Welfare – Child and Family Services (CFS) – Foster Youth
  • Independent Living Skills (ILSP) – Transition Age Youth (TAY)
  • Children’s Behavioral Health / Children’s Mental Health (CMH)
  • Juvenile Probation
  • Juvenile Courts / Superior Court of Contra Costa County
  • Public Health Dept. (i.e. Mobile Health Vans/ School-Based Health Centers)
  • Employment and Human Services Department (EHSD) – Workforce Development (WIA / WIOA)
  • Law Enforcement / Police Department / School Resource Officers

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS Collaborate with Community-Based Organizations (CBO’s), for example:

  • Monument Crisis Center – including the 180 Gang Prevention Program – Parent Engagement – Parent and guardian education and support.
  • Youth Homes Inc. – Foster Youth Group Homes and Foster Care Homes
  • Fred Finch Youth Center – Medi-cal provider
  • La Clínica de La Raza – Dental Care in Elementary Schools
  • Catholic Charities (Legal Immigration Assistance)
  • Human Trafficking Coalition: Sexually Exploited Youth (CSEC)
  • Jewish Family Children’s Services – Recent immigrants from Middle East
  • We Care – Early Childhood Services (0-5), Mental Health, Wrap-around
  • Rainbow Community Center – LGBTQ Youth and Families

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS collaborate with Universities and Colleges

Below are local universities in the San Francisco Bay Area / East Bay, California:

  • Cal State University East Bay,  School of Social Work, School of Education
  • UC Berkeley –School of Education, School of Social Welfare (MSW), School of Public Health (MPH)
  • San Francisco State University (SFSU) – School of Social Work (MSW, PPSC) Program, Field Placement
  • Community Colleges: Diablo Valley College (DVC), Los Medones College (LMC)
  • Alliant University, CSPP – Clinical Psychology Programs (MFT, Psy.D.)
  • Brandman / Chapman University – PPSC Counseling, School Psychologist, Ed.D.
  • John F. Kennedy University – Graduate School of Psychology (MFT Program)
  • Simmons College – School of School Work
  • Smith College – School of Social Work
  • St. Mary’s College – School of Education and Psychology
  • USC – School of Social Work
  • San Jose State University (SJSU)

SCHOOL WELLNESS CENTERS help to ensure that district personnel and programs are working together, across role groups, toward shared vision and common goals, using the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework:

  • School Social Workers
  • School Counselors
  • School Nurses
  • School Psychologists
  • Child Welfare and Attendance Liaisons
  • Foster Youth Services – fosteryouth@mdusd.org
  • Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE) hope@mdusd.org
  • Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth Prevention csec@mdusd.org
  • District Positive Behavior Team (Equity / Expulsion Diversion) positivebehaviorteam@mdusd.org
  • Youth Employment Services (YES – WIA / WIOA) yes@mdusd.org
  • Mental Health Collaborative Programs and Schools
  • District / CMH Counseling “Clinic” – Mobile School Psychologists
  • District / CMH Wrap-Around Services – Mobile Clinicians
  • Parent and Community Liaisons
  • Behaviorists / Behavior Analysts
  • Behavior Health Specialists – BHS I, BHS II

See more about School Wellness Centers at: http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/sampler/hlthctrs.pdf

and http://www.sbh4all.org/schoolhealthcare/aboutsbhcs/#sthash.BePiSHVl.dpuf

For more information about School Wellness Centers, please contact.

James Wogan, MFT, LCSW, PPSC

Email: jameswogan@yahoo.com

I-Message / Text: 925.250.5500

Please note: James is a full-time year-round Administrator and the Homeless McKinney Vento and Foster Youth Education Liaison with Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Contra Costa County, CA. He may not conduct business or provide free private consultation for any matters that could even remotely be considered a conflict of interest. James seeks prior approval from his supervisor with full disclosure for time off from Mt. Diablo Unified.

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Credit and thank you to Lynnea Hughes, MSW, PPSC, Social Work Specialist, Mt. Diablo Unified, Diablo Community Center (flagship wellness center), Mt. Diablo High School, MDHS, Concord, CA.