Healthy educators are more productive, less likely to be absent, and better equipped to support student development when they themselves are mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally well. By creating opportunities and infrastructure for employee wellness programs, state boards of education and other policymakers can foster the physical and emotional well-being of teachers and school leaders.
A new policy update from NASBE that draws on its State Policy Database on School Health shows that 12 states have policies to address at least one of the ten aspects of employee wellness outlined in the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework. Three of these states-Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Nevada-address educator wellness more fully.
Nearly half of all U.S. teachers report experiencing high levels of stress daily during the school year. Chronic stress is associated with higher teacher absenteeism and turnover, which are most prevalent in schools that serve low-income students. Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, and exhaustion impair teachers’ performance.
By creating opportunities and infra-structure for employee wellness programs, state boards of education and other state policymakers can help foster the physical and emotional well-being of teachers and school leaders. Doing so will mitigate a significant cause of educator turnover, create more supportive school environments, and enable school personnel to do their jobs better.