rbr staff wellness cara leadPHOTO: RBR dance teacher Cara Scacco leads a yoga class for her fellow teachers in a Wellness Day arranged by the Source to promote health and wellbeing.

LITTLE SILVER, NJ – “This is the best thing after PARCC; It is a great stress release,” Stated Red Bank Regional (RBR) math teacher Mariah Iapicco.  She was expressing the common held sentiments of the RBR staff regarding the school district’s decision to provide a staff wellness day following six straight days of standardized testing.  PARCC, the state’s required standardized testing, encompasses every school district during six days in the spring. It could be as stressful for the teachers as the students.  Mariah, in particular had a lot to be stressed about as she was this year’s organizer of the testing program.

Wellness Day was a collaborative creation of Superintendent Louis Moore with the SOURCE Director, Suzanne Keller.  The SOURCE is RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program which provides many special services to its students including mental health counseling.



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rbr staff wellness workoutPHOTO: RBR staff work out under the direction of RBR physical education teacher and exercise coach Jack Provine

For this program they decided to marshal their resources and connections to give its staff some needed TLC.

Suzanne Keller explains, “We are coming up on teacher appreciation week, following the PAARC and we just wanted to do something special for them.  They give and give to their students and this school.”

Suzanne and her staff assembled a group of wellness professionals including physical therapists, physicians, dieticians and sports trainers.

Ms. Keller explains, “When the call went out to the staff to sign up, I received an overwhelming response as well as volunteers to share their own knowledge and skills with their peers.”

This included dancing teacher Cara Scacco who led a packed yoga class and physical education teacher and sports trainer Jack Provine who conducted a rigorous workout session.  Media Specialist April Bunn offered her knowledge of essential oils to the staff.

rbr staff wellness massage

PHOTO: RBR staff was treated to stress-relieving chair messages throughout the afternoon from several wellness firms in the area.

Community wellness groups conducted healthy –living seminars, acupuncture demonstrations and many chair messages.  Among the providers were Advanced PMR (Physical and Medical Rehabilitation) Red Bank, NJ; Thompson Healthcare and Sports Medicine, Tinton Falls; Dr. Claudia Huegel from Metamorphosis, Physician Assisted Weight Loss, Shrewsbury, NJ. Evolve Fitness offered several workout sessions. A representative from the school’s Employee Awareness program was on hand to inform teachers of the different resources offered through their insurance plan. The SOURCE also arranged for healthy lunch donations and delicious Playa Bowls from the popular Red Bank restaurant of that name.

Suzanne Keller stated, “I was overwhelmed with the incredibly positive response we received and all the thank yous from the staff.”

rbr staff wellness acaia bowlsPHOTO: Staff was treated to healthy food including playa bowls donated by the restaurant of that name in Red Bank. Pictured are SOURCE clinician Marisol Mondaca and Source Director Suzanne Keller.

It appeared to be an afternoon thoroughly enjoyed by all, even those being pushed to their limits in the boot-camp style exercise programs.

Math teacher, Angela Young states, “There was something for everyone.”

Math teacher Sunny Lenhard agreed stating, “Suzanne did a great job with the variety of options.” She added a final thought, “The rest of the world can go out at lunch time and work out.  We got a couple of our hours of our life back today.  I am so glad they supported this.”

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...