WELL Initiative

What's W.E.L.L.?

RIDE's $3 million Wellness in Education Leads to Learning (WELL) Initiative aims to support students and educators through the development and expansion of school wellness spaces. The initiative comes as education systems nationwide reimagine education and school facilities to meet the holistic needs of students in the wake of the pandemic.

Local education agencies will be eligible for up to $150,000 depending on enrollment. LEAs will be provided with $5,000 to conduct professional development to support the award.

Learn more about the WELL Initiative:

The WELL Initiative is complementary to a number of existing RIDE initiatives already underway. RIDE has fostered strong relationships with Yale University's Center for Emotional Intelligence which provided a 10-hour online course entitled: Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty and Stress. The Rhode Island Foundation, along with National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI) and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP) partnered to make this course available.

RIDE has also partnered with Pure Edge to provide professional development and self-care strategies via adult Brain Breaks, trainings, and webinars. Pure Edge offers ongoing support for our partner districts and organizations. RIDE has continued this partnership and is currently exploring opportunities to share this resource statewide in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has statutes, regulations, and policies that support student and staff wellness. The following legislation and regulations were enacted prior to COVID-19. The Rhode Island Board of Education regulation, 200-RICR-20-10-1.4.2 Accountable Operational Systems requires that:

“...each LEA shall develop and implement policies and protocols that promote the health of school employees to support their overall well-being and their performance as educators and role models, including, as necessary, wellness programs, employee assistance programs, referral systems, and/or other services or supports as may be needed to help school staff maintain healthy lifestyles.”

The State of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-21-28 requires each RI School Committee to establish a School District Health and Wellness Subcommittee. Per the statute:

“The subcommittee will make recommendations regarding the district's health education curriculum and instruction, physical education curriculum and instruction, and nutrition and physical activity policies to decrease obesity and enhance the health and wellbeing of students and employees.”

Finally, State of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9. General powers and duties of school committees assert:

“The entire care, control, and management of all public-school interests of the several cities and towns shall be vested in the school committees of the several cities and towns. School committees shall have, in addition to those enumerated in this title, the following powers and duties: …. (24) To address the health and wellness of students and employees.”

Further, RIDE convenes a Statewide SEL Committee. This advisory committee, composed of various stakeholders (including general and special education teachers, principals, school psychologists and social workers, special education directors, parents, higher ed., and community groups), advises RIDE on SEL practices and initiatives, and provides practical information from the field. The Committee has worked to develop the Rhode Island SEL Standards: Competencies for School and Life Success and developed the accompanying Introduction and Guidance to Rhode Island Social Emotional Learning Standards and SEL Grade Span Indicators. RIDE recently offered a SEL endorsement on an educator’s professional certificate. Additional information for the SEL Committee and CoP, including local wellness resources, can be found at RIDE’s Social and Emotional Learning webpage.