Each student in the New Albany-Plain Local School District deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

That's what a "whole-child" approach to learning, teaching and community engagement really is. Research continues to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between learning and health. Well-being is defined as being healthy both physically and mentally in our classrooms, community and in life.

New Albany-Plain Local is improving student well-being by:

* Helping students develop capabilities which promote health and well-being.

* Ensuring school learning environments are safe and supportive.

* Strengthening engagement with parents, partners and the entire school community.

* Identifying gaps and implementing such programs as the R Factor to help students.

Our school district is committed to creating a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.

We are fortunate to have an outstanding and caring community to partner with us to create and implement well-being programs and resources for students and families.

I am proud of our community for acknowledging that such challenges exist and for creating opportunities to learn, discuss, support and improve well-being beyond the boundaries of our district campus.

Four years ago, the New Albany Community Foundation publicly launched the local mental-health and well-being conversation via its Jefferson Series for visiting speakers.

Bringing mental-health advocates Mariel Hemingway, Patrick Kennedy, Elizabeth Vargas and Glenn Close to speak in New Albany permits our students, families and community to engage in open discussions on the importance of mental health and well-being.

We are grateful as a learning community to have such a strong partner in this work and the commitment of the community foundation to well-being for our entire community, including our schools.

Well-being matters, and it directly contributes to the academic achievement and growth of our students daily.

The school district's well-being initiative is strengthened by our partnerships with Concord Counseling Services, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Healthy New Albany, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Mount Carmel Health System, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, the city of New Albany, Plain Township and community and parent volunteers committed to building well-being across our district campus.

It is evident in the daily efforts of school counselors, mental-health specialists, prevention clinicians and the growing partnerships and involvement of volunteers, parents, residents and local behavioral-health experts committed to meeting the developmental needs of students.

We continue to integrate well-being into our culture and remain grateful that we have such a caring community sharing resources that help our students.

To learn more about the well-being initiative or how you may volunteer or support the district's efforts, go to napls.us/newalbanywellbeing, attend a well-being forum, email Jon Hood, director of student services, safety and security, at hood.6@napls.us or contact any school administrator.

Michael L. Sawyers is superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.