In September 2010, the BPS Health and Wellness Task Force completed Healthy Connections, the district’s strategic plan to improve the health and wellness of students; the overarching goal of which is to actively promote the health and wellness of all BPS students to advance both their healthy development and readiness to learn. Since the release of the Healthy Connections strategic plan, BPS has made extensive efforts to bring more health education, physical education, and physical activity to schools; improve the quality of physical education, school meals and snacks, school-based health care, out-of-school time services, and health education for our students; and increase equity of health and wellness resources across our schools.
BPS created the Health and Wellness Department in 2010 to coordinate the district’s cross-departmental implementation of CSH along with leading physical education/activity and health education improvement and helping build the capacity of schools to create healthier environments overall for students, families, and staff. The Health and Wellness Department took lead on the district’s efforts to increase the quantity and improve the quality of health education, physical education and physical activity in schools; improve staff wellness; and create a healthier school environment in which the healthy choice is the easy choice.
The Office of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness (SELWell) was created in 2015 to support the district strategic plan which prioritized the need for rigorous, culturally/linguistically sustaining instruction that serves the development of the whole child. The office was structured by a collaboration of seven departments and over 14 programs with the goal to address health, SEL, and wellness inequities within schools and provide adequate supports for all students and schools. Both the Health and Wellness and SEL Instruction Departments became integral in driving this important work forward.
As Dr. Brenda Cassellius began her time at BPS in the summer of 2019, the office of SELWell was strategically reorganized in order to best serve the students at BPS. The departments of Athletics, Behavioral Health Services, Health Services, Opportunity Youth, and Succeed Boston were moved to different divisions, but are still very involved in promotion of health, SEL, and wellness within the district. The remaining program areas--Physical & Health Education, Wellness Policy & Promotions, and Social Emotional Learning & Instruction-- have become the newly branded “Office of Health and Wellness (OHW)”. The Office of Health and Wellness leads the district’s efforts to implement a Whole Child (WSCC) approach by coordinating and evaluating the Wellness Policy implementation.