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DELAWARE: Assembly bill calls for "wellness centers" in high risk elementary schools

June 12, 2019, How Eisenberg Elementary's wellness center helped dramatically reduce disciplinary actions …The mom credits this conversation to the Wilmington Manor Elementary wellness center, which Colonial School District established this fall. Twice a week during lunch, her son and a group of other students went to the wellness center, where they did activities centered around leadership, empathy and feelings. Billings said she's seen seen a change in her 11-year-old boy, who loves to play basketball and "Fortnite." He can now better articulate his emotions and is more empathetic with his classmates, she said. This idea for wellness centers in elementary schools began with Eisenberg Elementary about three years ago. And in that time, district officials have seen a drastic decrease in the number of disciplinary actions, or behavioral referrals, among Eisenberg students. Officials view this as a promising start and believe the wellness center model can be implemented at elementary schools statewide. A bill in the General Assembly is seeking to establish wellness centers at high-needs elementary schools. Remarkable impact Although most Delaware high schools have a wellness center, Eisenberg was the first public elementary school to have a wellness center — offering basic health care to students including diagnosing illnesses, writing prescriptions and providing behavioral and mental health services. "Before, we could refer parents and say, 'Hey, you can go to this mental health clinic up in Wilmington.' And it would never happen," said Eisenberg principal David Distler. "But now that it's in the school, we can say to parents, 'Hey, we have the wellness center in the school and we can get you treated in the school.' …


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