Can focusing on teacher wellness increase student achievement?

For Seymour Community Schools (SCS) in Indiana, USA, supporting teacher wellness is seen as one of the keys to increase student achievement. SCS does this by creating an onsite health clinic where teachers are able to access the clinic easily and at little to no cost.

In partnership with Activate Healthcare, teachers are also incentivised to meet their health goal: teachers and their spouses are paid $100 to have an annual health assessment and $150 each to make and achieve personal health goals. When SCS first opened the clinic, 27% of the teaching workforce had chronic conditions such as hypertension, asthma and diabetes, which causes them to take more leaves of absences. However, after 5 years of the onsite clinic, SCS reports that teachers are healthier, have fewer absences and are able to focus on teaching.

The SCS clinic also focuses on stress management, nutrition counselling, and behavioural health to further increase teacher wellness and lead to more teacher satisfaction. With this renewed focus on teacher wellness, SCS data has also shown an increase in the average score of graduates taking the SAT and an increase in the number of graduates receiving honors diplomas. These numbers certainly paint a positive picture of the correlation between teacher wellness and student achievement.

It is actually quite a logical correlation – the close relationship between student and teacher will undoubtedly have a domino effect. Happy and healthy teachers will definitely teach better and be more effective, which will in turn positively benefit their students. Thus, we must ensure that everyone in the education ecosystem – be it teachers or students – is happy, healthy and energised so as to foster the ideal conditions for learning.


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