HISD, Sonima Foundation celebrate expansion of student wellness program

Curriculum is now being offered to 14,000 students at 26 campuses

Representatives from HISD and the Sonima Foundation celebrated the expansion of their health and wellness program at Sherman Elementary School on April 7.

The curriculum is now being offered to more than 14,000 students at 26 HISD schools. The program’s yoga-based exercises, mindfulness practices, and nutrition education promote student health and stress reduction.

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“I hear them say things like it helps them think more clearly, it helps them focus and calm their nerves during tests,” said Sherman Elementary Principal Ben Hernandez. “When I hear those things, it’s exactly what a principal wants to hear coming from the classroom.”

“We are already seeing improvements in attendance and decreases in disciplinary issues, as well as academic benefits among participating students,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “Seeing the results first hand, I can tell you this is a great opportunity for our schools.”

HISD launched the health and wellness curriculum, sponsored by the Sonima Foundation, at 12 schools last fall: Crockett, Elmore, Hilliard, McNamara, Oak Forest, Oates, Stevens, Shadydale, Thurgood Marshall, and Whittier elementary schools, Forest Brook Middle and North Forest High schools. 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 Sinclairelementary, as well as Energy Institute High School.

The celebration concluded with a demonstration by Sherman Elementary School students, who got a chance to show off the yoga poses they have learned through the program.