On March 23, 2022, Principal Ryan Ferrera cut the ribbon to a brand-new, mental health-focused staff room known as the ‘Wellness Lounge’. Located in Battlefield’s library, the Wellness Lounge features a variety of soothing sources such as calming music, dimmed lighting, plants, positive quotes, comfortable seating, and coffee, creating a ‘Zen’ atmosphere for staff. Sponsored by the SEL team and PTO, advocates for the Wellness Lounge believe that this is the way to bring staff together like never before.
Due to Battlefield’s large student population, the building lost its previous teacher’s lounge to provide the school with another classroom. Principal Ferrera made the decision to give up his conference room to support his staff with an added room to de-stress after years without one. “These last two years have become so isolating and for staff to have a place to catch their breath but also share some time with colleagues can help those build those relationships up again,” says Ferrera. Although this is a replacement for the old teachers’ lounge, it serves purposes beyond just socialization.
Throughout the past few months, the SEL [Social Emotional Learning] team has been working hard to create this fresh space for faculty to unwind in their breaktime. Battlefield counselor and member of the SEL team Terry Harbolick shares, “The SEL team is a Prince William County initiative that we’ve all been given funds to promote social and emotional wellness within our buildings. We are focused on educating and learning and working with staff burnout, so we make sure everybody is still feeling present in classes and making sure everyone has what they need.” She continues, “This year the SEL team has been put together with school counselors, the school phycologist, some teachers, and administrators, who are all focused on adult wellness this year (and) moving towards student wellness next year.”
Another Battlefield counselor Trilaina McCallum explains, “Lots of things have been donated to the room by random people in the building who believe in the rooms benefits.” The majority of the furniture in the room was generously donated by staff such as Mr. Sisson and Ms. Jamie Marsh. Ms.McCallum continues, “The SEL team maintains the room and makes sure to replenish the snacks when they are running low. The funding for food and snacks is from PTO, and the other furniture [separate from donations] came from money that the division has given to the school for SEL growth.”
Battlefield faculty and staff are delighted to call this new space their lounge and begin utilizing it. Mr. Street, who teaches, sponsors, and coaches at BHS, was one of the first staff members to enter the Wellness Lounge. He expressed, “This is Awesome, like this is Awesome. I’m working here every planning period (from now on). Very very cool.”
Mr. Ferrera and the SEL team would like to extend special thanks to Mr. McMillan, Mr. Sisson, Ms. Marsh, the library staff, the BHS PTO, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. McCauley for their contributions to bringing the Wellness Lounge to life.