Health program to help students focus, stay calm expands to 26 schools

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Breathing exercises and yoga poses are just a few of the things HISD students learn in the Sonima Health and Wellness program. Fourteen additional HISD schools now offer the curriculum, which is offered by the Sonima Foundation and teaches students multiple skills for a healthier lifestyle.

This brings the total number of participating HISD schools to 26. The first round of 12 schools launched the program at the beginning of the current school year, as explained in this story on the HISD news blog.

Breath control and yoga lessons are supplemented with group discussions and character education that help students focus, stay calm, and reduce stress. The additional participating schools are Almeda, Anderson, Benavides, Briargrove, Durham, Eliot, McGowan, Moreno, Pugh, Rucker, Scarborough, Sherman, and Sinclair elementary, as well as Energy Institute High School.

HISD teachers will begin implementing the health and wellness program in their schools on Jan. 12 with the support of weekly visits by Sonima mentors for four months, as well as online lessons and videos.

To prepare for the expansion, a teacher from each of the 14 HISD schools — mostly PE teachers — participated in a training program that included one month of digital training and video demonstrations followed by three days of live training. Sonima Head of Curriculum Eddie Stern led the training, which was created by the Sonima Foundation curriculum team.