The Lee County School District will now create its own script and storyboard for Wellness Wednesday videos, which will discuss substance abuse and prevention, human trafficking, and mental and emotional wellness.
The school board approved the $100,000 deal with Dreamtime Entertainment, which is funded by the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund, ESSER II. The deal will end on November 1. With the approved deal, Dreamtime Entertainment will produce the video production of the required health instruction lessons, which will be shown to students in grades six through 12.
“The purpose of this contract with DreamTime Entertainment is actually to create the video lessons for which members of our own mental health team wrote the curriculum under the state board’s three education rules for health instructions required”, said Lori Brooks, director of school counseling and mental health. “In 2019, these three rules of the State Board of Education came into effect for teaching substance use and abuse prevention, human trafficking, or crime prevention. child trafficking and mental and emotional well-being.”
She said all of the required health instruction topics that the state Board of Education has determined that if students do not receive health instruction every year from kindergarten through 12th grade, l Teaching these specific subjects was to be a scaffolding that happened every year.
“Previously, we rented programs through videos,” said Brooks. “It was a really good just-in-time product, but our intention was always to create our own program for our students using our own health and mental health professionals. Now we need to take this program and turn it into video instruction for these Wellness Wednesday lessons.
Brooks said his intention was for each Wellness Wednesday video instruction to be released with an accompanying parent’s guide.
“Our parents can see what students are watching and have their own parenting discussions with their children and support that learning,” she says. “It will be live on our site every month.”
There is a notification in the parent’s guide, which is part of the code of conduct.
“We are posting a letter as we prepare to participate in our Wellness Wednesday discussion,” said Brooks. “We pass that on to parents and guardians.”
She said there was no opt-out for this health instruction, which is another reason the district is looking into providing talking points for parents.
“It was a difficult journey” said Brooks. “While we understand the value of involving students in this learning, there are varying levels of comfort. This is a mandatory health instruction and these are our health standards.
With the current curriculum being used, Brooks said the videos include a script for teachers to read. The intention is that the new videos will engage through a structure that will introduce the topic, have options for pause and reflection, and tools that each student can put into their emotional toolbox, which will be expanded from sixth to terminal.
Before the videos are made, the script and storyboard will be presented to focus groups such as the DAC, Student Advisory, parents, teachers and the mental health team. The hope is to get feedback during the last term of the school year through the summer.
The school board asked how teachers are identified to implement these health videos, as well as to ensure that no extra work is imposed on teachers.
“Their workload and comfort level will be easier and higher because they won’t have to read the script and do all these other parts,” said Brooks.
Currently, Wellness Wednesday videos are embedded during science classes at the middle school level and either during the first block or at the end of the second block at the high school level. She said none of the videos were released at the end of the school day.