Editor's note: The following Teaching and Learning Highlight was submitted by Foxborough Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Amy Berdos.
Foxborough High School's wellness program was the focus of this week's Teaching and Learning Highlight.
Foxborough Schools Superintendent Debra Spinelli first thanked the school committee for its solid support of a comprehensive wellness program. One key piece that was lacking was the absence of high school health course.
Ms. Janelle Erskine, Foxborough High School’s wellness department head, was joined by FHS sophomore Julia Dillon to discuss the recent implementation of the school's new required health course for all students in grades 9 and 10.
Ms. Erskine explained that she, along with three other high school wellness teachers, developed the skills-based course curriculum to focus on real world applications and topics pertinent to teenage students. In addition to the relevant and timely topics, the curriculum provides a place for students to contemplate lifelong decisions and the consequences thereof.
Further, at the end of the course students will have completed the requirements to become certified in CPR. When asked how the students have responded to the new requirement, Ms. Erskine's answer was "wonderfully." Students are interested and engaged in the course and realized it has relevance to their lives. Julia seconded Ms. Erskine’s sentiment.
The public was reminded that the reinstatement of the health course was a direct result of the community's support for Foxborough students. Between grades 9 and 10, students will experience a curriculum that focuses on mental health, nutrition, substance abuse, reproduction and human sexuality, violence prevention, CPR and first aid.
Julia was asked about the comfort level with certain topics such as human sexuality, and shared that "it can be awkward or hard at times, but it happens and it is going to happen to all of us so you get past it."
Real life applications have made the course not only interesting, but eye opening, according to Julia. From calculating the cost of having a baby to figuring daily intake needs for nutrition, students have the opportunity to learn important life skills. Julia shared the eye opening example of learning that a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts can be as much as 190 calories.
"We have learned a lot about fast foods, learned what we eat is not really healthy and it has changed a lot of our minds."
Ms. Erskine followed up by stating how the change in food service along with the implementation of the health curriculum has helped to provide a clear message that health and wellness is important and a priority here in Foxborough.