Grandview Heights Schools understands that the key to student success is supporting and honoring the whole child.

We believe that Wellness for Life is a core value of the district and community. Unlike many other districts just beginning to broach the subject, Grandview Heights Schools' Wellness for Life model and district committee have been in existence for five years.

Composed of educators, psychologists, nutritional doctors, parents, school counselors, administrators and advocates, our Wellness for Life Committee works diligently to continue the important mission of integrating the most critical subject of our children's lives into each grade level, content area and support services program.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one out of every four people will struggle with a mental-health condition in their lifetime. This is an issue that transcends every community, every tax bracket, race, age and gender, thus making it the most important subject we should teach at every grade level and within every content area in every school in the country.

The recently passed state budget has allocated funding to Ohio's schools with free, evidence-based prevention curricula and professional development for school personnel. Our district is projected to receive $25,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $36,000 in fiscal year 2021 to enhance and improve our mental-health services and programming.

We are thrilled to receive this financial support to continue building opportunities to support students in a preventative and systematic approach.

Educating our staff is an integral part of this endeavor. In August, Grandview Heights Schools co-hosted the Big Think Learning Symposium, focusing on Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning. We partnered with the best in the field of mental health, including those from Nationwide Children's Hospital, to offer sessions about prevention, treatment and how to best help our students.

Additionally, we hosted keynote speakers Kate Fagan, author of "What Made Maddy Run," and former college football player Inky Johnson. On Sept. 26, Grandview Heights High School counselor Bryan Stork will attend a statewide conference and mental-health summit in Dayton.

Because wellness extends beyond mental health, we have implemented several wellness strategies this fall. These actions range from offering salad bars in all three school buildings, including fresh vegetables grown in our tower and outside gardens, to the technology department's implementation of Digital Wellness with its 1:1 initiative. In addition, our health and wellness center is being used year-round by our student-athletes both in and out of their seasons.

These are just a few examples of the many initiatives we are both launching and building on this year at all levels of education.

Finally, Start Talking Grandview has been hard at work. Aside from speaking at the fall athletic code of conduct meeting, the group is scheduled to offer presentations regarding the opioid epidemic and young-adult risk-taking behaviors Sept. 26 and Nov. 14 at the Grandview Heights Public Library. These opportunities invite parents and community members to take part in our wellness initiatives.

To learn more about the program, visit

Wellness for Life is an important part of the learning experience at Grandview Heights Schools. If students are happy and healthy, they are more prepared to learn.

For more information about our Wellness for Life curriculum, visit our website,, or email me at

Jamie Lusher is chief academic officer of Grandview Heights Schools.