By Miriam Johnson
In light of this school year being Heritage’s first fully normal year back from the impacts of the pandemic, new changes are being made to the classes offered at Heritage including the living skills class. This class is taught by Ms. Nagode, the Mental Health Specialist, and has a focus on providing students with resources to have better social, emotional and mental health. Within the class, students are able to meditate, journal, discuss how to identify emotions and learn about different coping methods.
Ms. Riendeau, the principal of Heritage High School, discusses the universal importance of this class, “Every person needs to be more cognizant and aware of their mental health and how to stay healthy mentally.” With this in mind, this new living skills class is fulfilling that need that all students have in a way that is uniquely accessible, informative and allows for an environment where students do not feel singled out.
With smaller class sizes from 5-12 students, this allows students a safe space where they can build a community within the class as they talk about mental and emotional health. Ms. Kiraly, an assistant principal at Heritage, elaborates, “We have different traumas that come at us from every different direction … this class could be a place where nobody needs to know why you are there but it can give you the skills to manage whatever you are managing.”
In addition to being a universal tool for all students now, Nagode expands that students “will learn social, emotional and mental skills [that] will benefit them so much in the future.”
Overall, this class acts as a proactive measure that is relevant to students’ mental, social and emotional health now and in the future. If students are interested in this class, they can talk to their counselor about adding it to their schedule.