Warrior Wellness: An inside look at Willowbrook’s Health Education program

By Willowbrook physical education teachers Rachel Karos, Steven Belknap and Anthony Gebhart

Willowbrook students are working hard every day to become more educated with their health and wellness, and we are thrilled to feature those accomplishments through this monthly column.

In this edition of Warrior Wellness, Willowbrook is proud to showcase the school’s Health Education program. A core belief of the Health Department is “health is wealth,” and developing and maintaining each student’s understanding of what a healthy lifestyle looks like is of the utmost importance. We offer a student-centered curriculum that provides a variety of engaging educational experiences to teach our students to overcome mental and physical barriers to their success. Below is a look at what we have accomplished so far this semester:

Health and wellness

  • Students reflected on their total health and wellness and analyzed influences on their health. Students reviewed their current life skills, attention to prevention and their ability to engage in interventions by using effective communication skills.

Mental health 

  • Our mental health unit began with a visit from Willowbrook School Counselor Kimberly Mikesell, who introduced students to the importance of mental and emotional health. Students learned behaviors that help build self-esteem, while creating a positive self-identity. They also learned about managing stress through a variety of personal coping strategies. The unit ended with students researching mental illnesses and creating an advocacy campaign to promote awareness and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Body systems

  • Students developed an understanding of the systems of the body by engaging in a collaborative project. They created informative flyers, books and brochures to educate their classmates and demonstrate their understanding of the assigned body system. Those materials not only educated their classmates, but also helped to develop Depth of Knowledge (DOK) connections needed to initiate long-term memory retention.

Next up on the health horizon

During the remainder of the semester, students will study:

  • Communicable and noncommunicable diseases

  • Fitness and nutrition

  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs

  • Human sexuality and relationships
  • The Warrior Wellness column provides an inside look into the physical education, health and driver education classes at Willowbrook. This monthly feature highlights what students are working on in class, as well as student successes in those departments.