Students pose with Santa at Holiday Family Wellness Night

Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, the need for supports related to social-emotional learning and mental wellness has risen sharply at schools across the country.

As part of its longtime mission to educate and support the whole child, Silver Creek Central School District invited all its families to an inclusive Holiday Family Wellness Night on December 8th, 2022. Festive, themed holiday activities preceded an informational session hosted by representatives from #SameHere ahead of the districtwide wellness initiative rollout for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Transportation was provided for families that requested it, and childcare activities were available. 

“Part of an ongoing focus to connect with families, #SameHere is designed to help everybody in our district,” says Superintendent Todd Crandall. “We all were isolated during the pandemic. We all were faced with challenges to our social-emotional and mental well-being. We are now excited to be at a point where we can focus on prevention and development.”

At heart, #SameHere is a simple concept having to do with how we are managing every day stressors along with totally unexpected ones. At the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, faculty and staff were immersed in learning about #SameHere resources during a Superintendent’s Day. Then planning began on sharing resources with students and making their parents aware of those resources. The Wellness Night was the result of weeks of thoughtful planning to engage families and share #SameHere resources with parents.

The #SameHere student assemblies the next morning (Friday, December 9, 2022) were well-received by students across the district.

“We are continuing to roll out #SameHere appropriate to the ages of the students in our three buildings with different approaches tailored for each level,” says District Administrator Delia Bonenberger. The district’s next steps will be determined based on staff and community feedback, which will help fine-tune future implementation.

For years, Silver Creek has proposed a family outreach type of program, but drawbacks, including funding, hindered its success. But the American Rescue Plan grant funding, made possible due to the pandemic, has helped the district make it a priority. The district is now abiding by a required process for obtaining the money to sharpen its focus on mental wellness.

 “We were already in the process of working on relationships and positive behavior prior to the pandemic, and the #SameHere resources are helpful as we continue moving forward,” says Mrs. Bonenberger.

Instrumental in the #SameHere initiative is the Family Outreach-School Connectedness (FOSC) team, which planned the Holiday Family Wellness Night. The FOSC team continues to meet and additional opportunities for family engagement with the school around wellness and other topics such as literacy, math and technology are anticipated. Anyone interested in providing feedback can access the Parent Wellness Survey and American Rescue Plan Funding Plan Feedback forms here:

Parent Wellness Survey 

American Rescue Plan Funding Plan Feedback 

The district believes communication is key to the success of #SameHere. Mrs. Bonenberger added, “We wanted to give parents an opportunity to learn about #SameHere resources before the assemblies with the students. We hoped it would stay fresh in families’ minds when their students came home Friday after school and hopefully led to some good conversations.”

Silver Creek CSD staff pose with Santa at the Holiday Family Wellness Night held December 8, 2022. 

Fun, themed activities were featured, including this festive background ideal for photo opportunities. 

Attendees enjoyed an elaborate hot cocoa bar, above, and freshly baked treats from the North Pole Cookie Co., below, during the Holiday Family Wellness Night.