October 15, 2018
By: Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
DIAMOND BAR, CA--Students at South Pointe Middle School now have a calming place to visit on campus if they’re feeling mad, sad, upset, or overwhelmed.
A Wellness Center officially opened its doors during a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15.
“Education is more than textbooks – it’s about educating the heart, the mind, and the body,” said Principal Dr. Susan Arzola during the assembly attended by students, parents, staff, and officials.
“The social emotional well-being of our students is perhaps our greatest responsibility, greatest need, and one of the most important things to all of us in our school community,” commented Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
The ceremony featured a choir performance of “You Will Be Found” under the direction of Robin Wadsworth and surprise unveiling of a new panther statue.
“This panther will sit outside the Wellness Center as a daily reminder that this is a safe place our students can go to get support needed for any situation they may be dealing with,” said counselor Courtni O’Connell.
“Our hope is that in your stress, hurt, and even darkest times, the Wellness Center is a beacon of hope,” recited 8thgrader Allie Taylor.
“It’s a place where you can be found – you are not alone.”
Students brought handwritten posters to the assembly with inspirational messages including “Be the cause of wonderful things” and “It never gets easier, you just get better.”
“We want to encourage you to come and take advantage of the wonderful opportunity you have here,” said Trustee Cindy Ruiz.
The new Wellness Center is modeled after the RULER approach designed by Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence.
The unique middle school program follows the successful launch of the Diamond Bar High Wellness Center in 2016.
“We’ve seen what a great impact it’s had on kids and we’re so happy that it’s spread here!”
The school’s psychologist and three counselors head up South Pointe’s program that students may visit, one at a time, during homeroom or lunch.
““It’s really exciting to see the whole project come together!” said counselor Natalie Gray during a tour following the ceremony.
“All the kids walked through earlier this month so they can see it’s a cool place to be!” she added.
The classroom space that was once bare, is now decorated with welcoming sofas, a puzzle mural comprised of handwritten notes from every student, nature scenes projected on a plasma, and even a gurgling water fountain.
The 6th- 8thgrade visitors will go through four wellness rotations including Intake, Movement, Counseling, and Action plan.
After students check in and identify how they feel on the Mood Meter, they sit on a couch or yoga mat to practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
“Something this simple can really help them!” psychologist Vanessa Cisneros offered.
The school’s therapy dog, Laker, is also available to support to students at any time.
“Our students really respond well to his calming presence,” she added.
Next stop is the counseling area, where students have the opportunity to talk about what they’re feeling and look at strategies to becoming their best selves.
“This is where they reflect and create a Meta-Moment action plan to reduce anxiety,” according to counselor Chris Sandoval.
Students write down specific steps, whether it’s getting more sleep, taking a breath, or visualizing, and then post on wall, mirror or notebook as a reminder.
“We want them to practice the steps until they become a habit,” Cisneros said.
“Hopefully they’ll leave feeling a lot better and confident with some new skills,” added Sandoval.
School and local officials gather for Wellness Center ribbon cutting at South Pointe Middle School.
South Pointe MS students carry handwritten signs with inspirational messages during Wellness Center grand opening on Oct. 15.
Principal Dr. Susan Arzola welcomes guests during Wellness Center grand opening ceremony.
South Pointe choirs perform “You Will Be Found.”
A new panther statue is unveiled during Wellness Center grand opening ceremony on October 15.
City of Diamond Bar officials Nancy Lyons and Steve Tye present certificate of recognition to Principal Dr. Susan Arzola at Wellness Center launch.
Counselors lead tours in stations at new Wellness Center at South Pointe Middle School.