Through a partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), the Tsao Family Foundation and the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), the Irvine Unified School District has opened four new WellSpaces for the 2023-2024 school year at Creekside High School, Lake Side Middle School, Plaza Vista K-8 School, and Rancho Middle School.
A generous $2 million gift from the Tsao Family Foundation, is part of a larger effort to open WellSpaces on all IUSD secondary campuses over four years. Last year was the inaugural year with spaces opening at Irvine and University high schools and South Lake and Venado middle schools.
About the WellSpaces
WellSpaces feature biophilic designs - interior design that incorporates elements of nature – creating a home-like feel to help students better cope with daily stresses and to support their social and emotional wellbeing along with academic successes. When needed students are able to visit the WellSpaces on their campus, which can be self-referred or recommended by a teacher, counselor or friend. They offer a space of calm, punctuated by mindfulness activities such as journaling, aromatherapy, crafts and more. Students may learn breathing exercises and other techniques to help them build resilience and self-regulation skills so they may gain a better sense of control and return to learning.
Benefits of WellSpaces
Through the CHOC and OCDE partnership, several WellSpaces are already open on middle and high school campuses throughout the county. Early data from CHOC and OCDE shows that the WellSpace concept is working to de-escalate students experiencing a mental health concern while at school. Students who have utilized the WellSpaces on IUSD campuses have shared positive experiences and appreciation for the calming and mindful environment.
Building Upon IUSD’s Commitment to Mental Health and Wellness
The WellSpaces and the accompanying supports add another layer to IUSD’s investments in mental health and wellness.
“Student mental health and wellness has been one of the Board of Education’s top priorities for many years,” said Superintendent Terry Walker. “This partnership is an extraordinary opportunity to build upon IUSD’s comprehensive programs, initiatives and supports, which are designed to help students cultivate skills such as resiliency, perseverance and adaptability when navigating complex emotions and experiences so they may meet their full potential. This is also an additional avenue for students to seek support when needed.”
For more information about IUSD’s mental health and wellness resources, services and supports, visit iusd.org/Prevention.
We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing more information with our families throughout the 2023-2024 school year.