School Business Affairs July-August 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | JULY/AUGUST 2019 5 P romoting the wellness of students and staff is a prime responsibility of school business officials. They do this by fostering a healthy, safe, sup- portive environment and culture that enable students, adults, and the school system to learn and grow. School business officials, in collaboration with other district leaders, contribute to this positive environment as they: • Provide safe and healthy places to learn and play. • Recognize health as an integral part of edu- cation success. • Close the achievement gap and eliminate health disparities. • Provide teachers, principals, and school staff with the professional development to create a healthy school environment. • Promote social and emotional competency and build resilience. • Ensure access to needed health services at school. • Connect parents and community members with school-based health and wellness pro- motion resources. The focus of a positive school climate is not only on students, but on everyone in the school community. Studies by the National Center on Safe, Supportive Learning Environments have shown that students in dis- tricts that focus on creating a safe, healthy, and supportive school climate are more likely to engage in the curriculum, achieve academically, and develop positive relationships. The broader picture shows that teacher turnover is lower and staff job satisfaction is higher. Healthy employees are a critical component of a thriving school. In a healthy workplace, employees are more satisfied with their jobs, are absent fewer days, and are more likely to stay in their positions. Healthy employees provide the continuity and stability that is so essential for educational success. A healthy environment also promotes innovation, inquiry, and risk taking. It rein- forces and enhances the leadership capacity of staff because dedicated, competent educators thrive in positive, supportive environments, according to William Parrett and Kathleen Budge in Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools . Supporting school employee wellness is an important way to communicate that each staff member is respected and valued. Sustain- able Jersey for Schools notes that wellness programs, such as those described in Charles Brazeale’s article in this month’s issue of School Business Affairs , can create a culture of health and deliver a wide range of benefits to employees, including: • A safer, more supportive work environment. • Improved health and well-being, self-image, and self-esteem. • Better ability to cope with stress and other factors that affect health. • Reduced out-of-pocket expenses for physi- cian office visits, medications, procedures, or hospitalizations related to acute or chronic illness. • Improved job satisfaction. Teachers and other school employees who are interested in their own health are more likely to promote healthy behaviors and practices to students, who are then more likely to engage in health-promoting activities themselves. By working together as a team, administra- tors, teachers, staff, and students can create and sustain a healthy, supportive learning, teaching, and working environment that car- ries over to positive lifelong health and well- ness habits. The Importance of Wellness By Tom Wohlleber, CSRM president’s message Tom Wohlleber Chief Financial Officer Casa Grande (Arizona) Elementary School District Charles E. Peterson, Jr. MBA, PRSBA, SFO Immediate Past President Marvin Dereef Jr., SFO Director through 2020 Bill Sutter, SFO Director through 2020 Michael Johnston Director through 2019 Angela Von Essen Director through 2019 2019 Board of Directors WORKING TOGETHER to ma ke a difference Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO Vice President Susan Harkin Director through 2021 John Hutchison, CPA, SFO Director through 2021 David J. Lewis Executive Director