Staff Wellness Day: A relaxing collaboration period

MVHS staff participate in various activities to destress and bond during free time

Michelle Chen and Ishaani Dayal

Before school on Wednesday, Oct. 16, many teachers attended Staff Wellness Day — an event featuring various activities such as board games, indoor soccer, Zumba, pen-making and coloring. These activities were meant to give the staff an opportunity to relax and connect with each other.

According to assistant principal Michael Martinez, the idea for a Staff Wellness Day originated from a similar event held years ago where teachers also participated in a variety of activities. After the idea was brought up again by the Leadership Team, the entire staff collectively voted to hold a wellness event twice a year.

In Woodshop teacher Ted Shinta’s experience, the idea for a time designated for teachers’ relaxation was based on a different activity in the past known as Menu Day, during which teachers would rotate between different departments in order to learn about the variety of classes at MVHS.

Ben Clausnitzer // Used with permission
Industrial technology teacher Ted Shinta opened the woodshop for staff members to make pens.


“Usually the staff don’t ever see what’s going on in the workshop, they don’t know what the students do here,” Shinta said. “And so this gave them a good chance to see what students are doing or get a taste of it. It’s nice to know what everybody else is doing, you know. And it’s interesting to learn something new.”

Martinez believes another positive effect of Staff Wellness Day was that it brought people with similar interests together and gave them a chance to build relationships with each other.

“We ha[d] no idea what people that we signed up for with, we just signed up for things that we were interested in,” Martinez said. “So we showed up and then there was all [these] different groupings of people that had common interests. So in a way, you’re in all of these vulnerable activities with people that you might not ever really be hanging out with. I think that’s one way that it was pretty special for people. We’re all having fun and smiling and enjoying [it] and I think that’s the most important thing.”

Physical Education teacher Dasha Plaza led a Zumba session to allow staff members to start off the day energized. Based on the feedback she received, she was pleased to see the positive impact it had on people.

“The teachers were really happy that they got to move and exercise first thing in the morning,” Plaza said. “So a lot of people said that carried on with them for the rest of the day, that they felt more relaxed and felt like the happy endorphins that kicked in after exercise [and] really affected their day.”

Although Plaza enjoyed the experience of teaching an activity, she would also like to be on the receiving end by participating in an event in the future. She hopes to do this during the next Staff Wellness Day, which will take place in spring.

One change Martinez would like to make in preparation for the next Staff Wellness Day is to have different activities that would be better suited for the springtime. While this wellness day was successful, he believes that adding activities such as hiking or swimming would add more variety that the staff would appreciate.

“It’s important that we continue to offer activities that people enjoy, but also give opportunities for the people that are leading to do other stuff, too,” Martinez said. “It’s up to the folks and their interests and passions and the time of year. In the wintertime, it was kind of cold, so we couldn’t do something like go for a hike because it was really cold outside.”

When he sent out a survey regarding the topic, most of the results Martinez received were positive. When asked to rate their experience out of 5, with 5 being the best, Martinez recalls that nearly everyone responded with a 5.

“[The feedback] was really positive,” Martinez said. “Everybody seem[ed] to have a lot of fun. So for everybody that provided the feedback, most everybody did feel like it impacted their day.”

Because of the generally positive feedback, Martinez believes that the Staff Wellness activities achieved the desired goal.

“I think it was successful because people were able to choose from things that they were interested in,” Martinez said. “And then when they showed up and saw all the different groupings of people and different folks and different faces, they were able to hang out and talk to different people that maybe they didn’t work with or ever had been able to hang out with before.”