Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Kaiser Permanente helps Sartori teachers relax

A new feature at the school helps educators perform better through stress relief

Teachers everywhere are facing high stress, leading to increasing staff turnover with 23 to 42 percent of teachers leaving the job in the first five years.

A 2017 brief created by Pennsylvania State University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation highlighted the issues of burnout in U.S. teachers. A major contributor is stress, 46 percent of teachers reported high daily stress, tied with nurses for the highest occupational group stress rates.

One of the solutions proposed in the brief is workplace wellness and stress management programs, which is just what Sartori Elementary School teachers are doing.

The school recently won a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente, applying against others in the Renton School District to put the funds towards a project for educators’ well-being.

Sartori staff used the funds to create a “Serenity Room” a small former office on the second floor that is now a space for educators to take a break when needed. The room features two chairs, floor pillows, and a privacy screen. The window is also covered up so the person can have a real break from the outside world. Some of the furniture was donated by staff.

Healthier Generation, Healthy Schools Program Manager Tara Witten said she works with all the district schools to guide them through making plans for healthier classrooms. Sartori’s school lead, school counselor Rekeda Rountree, is really active in the program and was really engaged during the grant application process, according to Witten.

Rountree used a staff meeting to do a Healthier Generation wellness survey to help identify what staff needed to support their wellbeing. Stress-management was the top result.

Staff decided they needed a “retreat” plan, and to show each other the school recognizes how sometimes educators need to step outside of the classroom and recharge, so they can return ready to teach.

The Serenity Room is located on the second floor, near the first and second grade classrooms. Principal Angela Sheffey-Bogan said this is a central location in the school. The office was formerly for the speech pathologist, who now has their own classroom.

Bogan said staff can use the room anytime, and their class can either be supervised by the partner teacher, Bogan, the assistant principal or the school’s behavior interventionist.

When the room began late last school year, two teachers who were nursing babies were able to use the room to pump in privacy. Other educators often come in around lunch time, Bogan said, but they are trying to increase the use of the space.

The school is working to reduce the stigma around breaks, and Bogan makes self-care an expectation.

“If the teachers aren’t their best selves, it impacts students,” she said. “We want to address their health before it boils over to the rest of the school.”

Use of the Serenity Room is tracked by a simple popsicle stick system. Staff move a stick from one can to another for each trip they take to the room in a day. In May, for example, staff say the room was used 55 times.

This counting system shows an ongoing engagement with the project, something Kaiser Permanente really liked in the proposal. They also liked that the idea came from a staff survey, Kaiser Permanente Senior Workforce Health Consultant Allison Emery said the grant was looking for small ways to contribute to a larger comprehensive strategy to meet educators’ needs.

This is the latest in wellness initiatives for staff at Sartori, the staff have a wellness committee, workout days and Bogan encourages teachers to prioritize their health.

The mini-grant program is part of Kaiser Permanente’s focus on educator well-being and encouraging teacher self-care, spokesperson Julie Popper said.

Kaiser Permanente’s “Thriving Schools” program has more information on how schools can make over their break rooms to help lower educator stress levels, available at thrivingschools.kaiserpermanente.org.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

Sartori Elementary School has a new “Serenity Room” thanks to a $500 mini-grant from Kaiser Permanente meant to create solutions for educator stress. Photo by Haley Ausbun.

More in News

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

File photo.
Renton man pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from hair salon robbery in Seattle

Investigators say the man stole $55,000 worth of jewerly and property from someone inside the salon.

U.S. Department of Justice logo.
Renton man sentenced for killing of woman in Olympic National Forest

Authorities say the he brutally beat to death the California woman who he was having an affair with.

Screenshot from GoRenton.com
Registration is open for 7th Annual Renton Career Fair

The event will be held at Renton Technical College on June 3.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.