Home / News / Burncoat High School wellness room wraps up successful pilot

Burncoat High School wellness room wraps up successful pilot

Aug 28, 2023Aug 28, 2023

WORCESTER, Mass. - Whether its comfort from a furry friend or words of encouragement from a counselor, the wellness room at Burncoat High School is designed to supports students, however they may need it.

"They've asked for it over the years, like, 'why don't we have a place we can go?'" said school adjustment councilor Lindsey DiLeo. "So now, that is here and it's open."

DiLeo is also the wellness room teacher and, in a room that used to be a storage closet, she has been spending the last school year helping students with their mental wellbeing.

"We meet them where they are," DiLeo said. "So if a student comes in and says, 'Mrs. DiLeo, I just needed to take space can I listen to music,' sure. Or, 'Mrs. DiLeo, can you work with me on some breathing exercises?'"

The room is full of color and positive messages. It offers everything from a full-time school adjustment counselor to mental health resources and exercises.

"Throughout the room we put up QR codes where students can scan," DiLeo said. "If they just want to read and self regulate they can do that. There's manipulatives and fidgets over there, there's coloring and crayons."

The room was first started following a rise in students struggling with mental health who eventually had a hard time coming to school, but it's now helping students with so much more.

"We see everything, every case is individual," assistant principal Thomas Gibbons said. "There's so many different students with different needs and we are trying to accommodate all of them. "

Wrapping up the room's pilot year, Gibbons said the wellness room is doing exactly what they hoped it would, supporting students needs and getting them back to class.

"We have students coming to school more often and ultimately, back into classes," he said. "So in some cases, they start in the wellness room and maybe attend three classes and build up to where they are back in class and just come when they need support."

There is a referral process for students to get time in the wellness room. Once approved, they get a pass to present to teachers whenever they feel they need to go.

The wellness room was made possible with help from the team at Hanover Insurance, who helped transform the room into the space it is today.