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Health & Wellness

Wellness Overview

Wellness Overview iconWellness Overviewtitle

District Wellness Coordinator

Wellness Coordinator
Ext. 22390

WSCC Model

10 Components of WSCC:

1. Health Education

2. Physical Education & Activity

3. Nutrition Education/Services

4. Health Services

5. Counseling/Psychological/Social Services

6. School & Emotional Climate

7. Physical Environment

8. Employee Wellness

9. Community Involvement

10. Family Engagement
These ten Core Components are the foundation for the nationally recognized Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. This focus on wellness in the schools highlights the fact that health is academic. Explore the tabs above for more details on these 10 Core Components. 

Health Ed

Health education helps students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need for making health-promoting decisions, achieving health literacy, adopting health-enhancing behaviors, and promoting the health of others. Comprehensive school health education includes curricula and instruction that address a variety of topics such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention, healthy eating/nutrition, mental and emotional health, personal health and wellness, physical activity, safety and injury prevention, sexual health, and violence prevention. 
Health Connected offers a two-week-long sex education curriculum in SUHSD schools. 
SUHSD has been a leader in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) education. The District piloted a one-of-a-kind cutting-edge Neuroscience of Addiction (NOA) curriculum with over 1,500 9th grade Life Skills classes in 2017. Next year the NOA curriculum will be expanded to all 9th grade Life Skills classes across the District. 

Physical Ed/Activity

The SUHSD's PE Department is committed to providing a well-rounded physical education curriculum. Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence. In addition to encouraging students to participate in a variety of activities and sports, the department also offers nutrition and safety education.

Effective since the 2012-2013 school year, all 9th graders in the district receive the American Heart Association's Family and Friends CPR training.

Most recently, with funding from the Dignity Health Foundation, SUHSD has started ImPACT testing of student athletes and Brainbook, a concussion curriculum in 9th grade PE. 

Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) and Body Mass Index (BMI)

The state mandates that students in 5th, 7th, and 9th grades take the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) that measures six areas of fitness. These include Aerobic Capacity, Body Composition, Abdominal Strength, Trunk Extension Strength, Upper Body Strength, and Flexibility.  Meeting the PFT performance standard is known as the Healthy Fitness Zone, which represents a level of fitness that may offer some protection against the diseases related to physical inactivity. 

Our district assesses Body Composition by calculating Body Mass Index (BMI). Your child’s weight and height are measured to calculate their BMI. The results of the screening compare your child’s weight and height to those of other children of the same age and sex. If your child is not in the healthy BMI range, they may be considered at risk for weight related health conditions. You may have talked about your child’s weight with your doctor before, but you can use these results to talk with the doctor again if you have concerns. 

As you know, height and weight will continue to vary for your child as they go through the normal growth and hormonal changes that occur during teen and young adult development. Every person is different, and genetics have a lot to do with body composition. In addition, BMI cannot tell the difference between muscle and fat, so an athletic person with a lot of muscle can have a high BMI. 

Healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes and it is important to not compare or judge individual health or fitness by appearance, or by measurements such as weight, height, or BMI.

Nutrition Environ/Svcs

Healthy eating has been linked in studies to improved learning outcomes and helps ensure that students are able to reach their potential. The school nutrition environment provides students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating through available foods and beverages, nutrition education, and messages about food in the cafeteria and throughout the school campus. 

School nutrition services provide meals that meet federal nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students, and help ensure that foods and beverages sold outside of the school meal programs meet Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. 

SUHSD supports a healthy school nutrition environment by marketing and promoting healthier foods and beverages, encouraging participation in the school meal programs, role-modeling healthy eating behaviors, and ensuring that students have access to filtered drinking water throughout the school day. All our campuses are equipped with water dispensers to promote optimal hydration.

For more information about SUHSD Food Services Department, please visit:
Name: Nora DeCaro
Title: Director of Food Services
Phone: 650-369-1411 EX. 22591       

Health Services

Nursing Staff

The District currently employs 3 full-time nurses. Licensed school nurses oversee health case-management and are a key part in providing wrap-around services to students.

They are:

  • Kristin Coronado, RN, BSN, PHN
  • Michelle Murray, RN, BSN, PHN
  • Heidi Flaig, RN, BSN

We also have health aides at each of the school sites. The health aides provide first-aid, health education, and make referrals.

  • Claudia Rendon (Sequoia)
  • Samantha Gingher (Carlmont)
  • Tonya Edgington  (Menlo-Atherton)
  • Nanette Pasion (Woodside)

Sequoia Teen Wellness Center

Sequoia Teen Wellness Center is conveniently located in Redwood City, across from Sequoia Station and next to Sequoia High School campus.  Our clinic is the only provider of healthcare services exclusively for youth in Southern San Mateo County. Operating as a clinic of San Mateo Medical Center, Sequoia Teen Wellness Center provides services for youth ages 12 – 21, regardless of ability to pay, citizenship or school enrollment.

Sequoia Teen Wellness Center providers specialize in working with youth. Our staff is knowledgeable about teen issues.  They are easy to talk to, respectful, and non-judgmental, thus making teens feel comfortable.



Counseling, psychological, and social needs in the SUHSD are supported by a wide variety of services and programs. Each school site provides support through a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) approach. Issues addressed include: stress, anxiety/depression, suicide prevention, addiction, and bullying, among many others.

Of the 10 Core Components, mental health is one of the top priorities for the SUHSD. School mental health leads have been meeting on monthly basis since in 2011, with the goal of coordinating and collaborating across the district.

2018-19 Mental Health Leads
 Carlmont  Shelley Bustamante
 Menlo-Atherton  Miki Cristerna
 Woodside  Sara Grace Vann
 Sequoia  Judy Romero
 Redwood  Laurie Karzan  lkarzen@seq.or
  East Palo Alto  Marco Calderon


School Climate

Social and Emotional School Climate refers to the psycho-social aspects of students’ educational experience that influence their social and emotional development. The social and emotional climate of a school can impact student engagement in school activities; relationships with other students, staff, family, and community; and academic performance. A positive social and emotional school climate is conducive to effective teaching and learning. Such climates promote health, growth, and development by providing a safe and supportive learning environment.
Starting 2018, SUHSD will administer the Panorama survey to gather data on school climate. Past data collected from the California Health Kids Survey (CHKS) can be found on

Physical Environment

A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff. The physical school environment encompasses the school building and its contents, the land on which the school is located, and the area surrounding it. A healthy school environment will address a school’s physical condition during normal operation as well as during renovation (e.g., ventilation, moisture, temperature, noise, and natural and artificial lighting), and protect occupants from physical threats (e.g., crime, violence, traffic, and injuries) and biological and chemical agents in the air, water, or soil as well as those purposefully brought into the school (e.g., pollution, mold, hazardous materials, pesticides, and cleaning agents). 
The SUHSD is committed to ensuring the safety of each student and staff member. Each school site has a disaster plan in place. The district is developing an Incident Command System (ICS), which is "a systematic tool used for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response" designed to deal with incidents of any size or scope.
Click the name to send an email message:
Navas, Enrique
Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services
Ext. 22217 

Employee Wellness

The SUHSD is committed to addressing this component by first taking a look at stress management and frequently offers PD for staff on wellness topics. Refer to the Professional Development and Curriculum Department homepage for information.

Employees also have access to the District's Employee Assistance Program. Programs like Quiet Time at Redwood High School and Mindfulness at Sequoia High School also incorporates stress reduction techniques for the benefit of both students and staff.
The Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) also publishes a quarterly wellness newsletter for all District staff. You may find past issues under WAC Newsletter Archives on the bottom of the page.

Comm Involvement


The District has longstanding relationships and collaborations with various community partners. The District's wellness efforts have been generously supported since Fall 2011, by the Sequoia Healthcare District through their Healthy Schools Initiative (HSI) grant. This grant supports the positions of the district's Wellness Coordinator and a full time credentialed school nurse, in addition to numerous mental health and social service programs, and reproductive health education.

Family Engagement

The SUHSD is committed to reaching out to a very diverse student population by offering a wide variety of parent education topics, and providing translation when possible. Each school site offers an engaging and dynamic parent education program, which is open to all parents and families in the district. Check the Parent Education Series page regularly for updates on each site's program.

Click on the name to send an email message:
Margot, Charlene
The Parent Education Series, Founder / Program Director

Anxiety Quiz & Answers

Healthy Habits and Anxiety: Test Your Knowledge


Evaluate each statement on whether it is true or false. Answers are below the quiz.


1. Teens need 7.5 hours of sleep a night.        

2. Exercising before bed is a good way to unwind and improves your quality of sleep.  

3. If you are having difficulties sleeping in the middle of the night, get out of bed and do something.    

4. The weekends are a good time to catch up on some ZZZs - sleep in as much as you can on Saturdays and Sundays.        

5. Weed (Cannabis) relaxes you, so it is good for treating anxiety.


6. Caffeine helps you be productive and get more out of your day. It can wake you up when you are stressed and tired and keep you going.    

7. Drinking alcohol can be a good way to relax before a party.    

8. Exercise is not that important until you are middle aged and your metabolism gets slower and you begin to gain weight.    

9. Smoking or Vaping can make you feel more alert.    

10.  It's possible to develop an addiction to video games or the Internet.

Healthy Habits and Anxiety Quiz Answers

1. False. Teens actually need 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night yet most teens barely get 7 or 8! A lack of sleep seriously impacts our mood and our ability to think and learn! We are more cranky and frustrated plus it’s harder to pay attention in school. You will feel better if you get more sleep, so try to make getting enough sleep a priority!

2. False. Exercising 2 to 4 hours before bed will actually interfere with your sleep cycles and make it harder to sleep. Fortunately, exercise in general is actually good for sleeping. Just make sure it’s well before bedtime. Aim for 30 minutes a day of activity (such as fast walking, dancing, biking, playing sports, or active games on your Wii, Xbox, or other game console). Exercise increases endorphins, which are our bodies’ natural feel-good chemicals. So get moving (just not too close to bedtime)!

3. True. Although it might seem strange, the best way to fall asleep if you are having difficulty sleeping is to get up and do something boring (like reading a part of the newspaper that doesn’t really interest you) or relaxing (like listening to relaxing music). Try going back to bed after 15 or 20 minutes or when you start feeling sleepy. You may have to repeat this a few times some nights. Lying in bed worrying will just make it harder to fall asleep, so come up with some of your own ideas for boring or relaxing activities that you can do instead.

4. False. Although trying to catch up on missed sleep on weekends and holidays seems like a good idea, your body actually prefers a regular sleep cycle. You will sleep better overall if you try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (give or take an hour) – even on weekends.

5. False. If you are a person who tends to be anxious, doing drugs is a bad idea. Although you’ve been told not to do drugs before, if you’re anxious there are some especially good reasons not to. Many drugs (including marijuana) can physiologically make anxiety worse in the short term or long term. It can also bring on panic attacks in teens who might be prone to anxiety.

6. False. Caffeine can actually increase anxiety and interfere with sleep cycles. Having too much caffeine will eventually catch up to you in a bad way. Watch out for hidden sources of caffeine, such as soft drinks like Mountain Dew, Energy Drinks, chocolate, and chai-lattes.

7. False. In very small amounts alcohol may be somewhat relaxing and decrease anxiety, but it is actually a depressant. This means alcohol slows down the central nervous system. It can change your ability to perceive the world around you accurately and can actually change your emotions. Drinking to decrease anxiety prevents you from conquering your fear. If you never allow yourself to experience both anxiety and success in conquering it without alcohol, then drinking will just keep the negative cycle going. The next time you are in the same situation you will feel even more anxious, especially if you’ve been depending on alcohol to give you courage and confidence. You might also really regret some of the things you do or say when you’ve been drinking, which can give you even more worries and anxiety.

8. False. The current recommendation is that teens get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. Although it might not seem necessary now, exercise has benefits both now and in the future. Exercise releases endorphins – chemicals that make you feel calmer and more relaxed, and lift your mood. So find an exercise you enjoy and get moving!

9. True. Nicotine can act as both a stimulant and a depressant. At first, it will make you feel more alert. However, after awhile it makes you feel more depressed and tired, which is why you crave lighting up again. So add your mental health to the reasons to quit vaping and/or smoking!

10. True. Internet and gaming addictions is a growing problem, and teens with anxiety and other mental health problems may be particularly at risk. In fact, teens with psychiatric disorders spend almost 7 hours a day in front of screens. Teens with Internet or gaming addictions have been found to have more family problems, school and learning problems, more emotional problems, and more problems with their peers. Do any of the following statements describe you? You have tried to cut down on the amount of time you are online and are unable to. You feel anxious or irritable when you can’t be online. You feel like you are losing control of your gaming. You neglect important things in your life because of your online use. You feel like your Internet use is getting in the way of important things and relationships in your life. If you think you may have an addiction and need help, talk to a trusted adult or school counselor.

Source: AnxietyBC® youth

Health & Wellness Resources


The SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) was formed in 2005, and began work on new requirements for nutrition, health education, and physical activity. WAC has been an active leader in the wellness arena since that time. WAC meets once every two months during the school year, and the committee members bring to the table a wide variety of skills and expertise. Students, parents, teachers, health professionals, counseling/administrative staff, and Board members work alongside community members and outside agencies to discuss all aspects of wellness.
WAC Committee
2017-18 Wellness Advisory Council (WAC)

WAC Newsletter Archive

District Wellness in the News