Senator’s Visit Spotlights District Commitment to Student Wellness
Community partnerships provide access to wellness experts; allow teachers to teach
Students at the MMS Wellness Center explain its benefits to State, County and District leaders.
Senator Dave Cortese visited Monroe Middle School’s new Wellness Center to see how a partnership between Campbell Union School District, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and School-Linked Services is bringing more access to mental health support to students and families.
“Adolescence has never been easy, and we know that the impact of the pandemic has made it even more challenging,” said District Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “The Wellness Center gives them an on-demand place to decompress, regroup, and develop skills for re-engaging in school activities.”
The grant-funded Wellness Center, one of a few pilot school-based centers in the county, is staffed full time. Students can drop in or they can be referred by a teacher. Wellness Room Liaison Daisy Urisar Esquivel noted that some of the students are discovering they have leadership skills and are helping to govern operations as Wellness Student Council members.
“This is a great place to get away from worries, do homework, and focus on wellness,” said Geonnie, one of the 20 students comprising the sixth grade Council. “There are a lot of different things to do here,” said Council member Elda, who pointed to choices such as listening to music, having a snack, drawing, talking with a friend about something troubling, getting homework help, or just being quiet and relaxed. Mike, who joined the Council because he wanted to help others know about the Wellness Center, wants to see it continue as a safe, positive place for students to relax.
“There should be more of these all across the country,” Council member Jose added. “Students need this. If there’s trouble at home or they can’t do work at home, they can come here. It’s a place where you can belong.”
The program is one of many examples of our district’s continuing commitment to support students through community partnerships, according to Student Services Director Rosanna Palomo. “Our community partnerships are incredibly valuable in helping to support the whole child. Student well being is critical to student success in and out of the classroom.”
“Schools are, and must continue to serve as, centers of wellness and centers of resilience for our students and families,” said Senator Dave Cortese after visiting our District’s new Wellness Center at Monroe Middle School. “I am so pleased that our county was able to take advantage of state funding through the Community Schools Partnership Program and the Mental Health Student Services Act to stand up these Wellness Centers across our County. I have fought hard to ensure adequate funding and augmentation of these programs.”
Funding is at the crux of expanding programs like this, according to Dr. Viramontez. She noted that the partnership with School Linked Services of Santa Clara County has been especially helpful in “leveling the playing field” for children and youth who are burdened with economic, social and other inequities.
Community partnerships help the district address students’ physical, mental, emotional, and social needs, allowing teachers more time to focus on teaching and learning, Viramontez said. “We value these partnerships because we know it's what our community needs. We can provide the space to improve access so the experts can do what they do best. Providing this necessary, easy-to-access support would require funding sources beyond grants.”