Meet the Wellness Specialist

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Camryn Calvert

Hall talking with a student in her office.

Wellness specialist Janeal Hall joins our school to aid in students’ mental health.

Hall meets with students regarding social, emotional and mental health in individual and group settings and administered threat assessments to ensure student safety and regularly attend site guidance meetings and collaborate with other administrators and staff.

“Based on feedback from students, parents and staff members, PYLUSD made a commitment to provide additional wellness and mental health support to school sites. The result of that was that all high schools received a full time wellness specialist on campus,” principal Gina Aguilar said.

Hall was originally a teacher and taught kindergarten and fifth grade, then taught at Kraemer Middle School. She decided to become a wellness specialist because she knew that “there was a big need for wellness support for students at schools and felt that with [her] experience and education, [she] could serve in that role.” Now she can help students with their personal well being with undivided attention.

Being a teacher has also helped helped her relate to students because she can “directly understand the current pressure, stressors and fears that they have in relation to coming to school, keeping up with academic work and other challenges that occur during high school,” she said.

Counselor Yvette Kettering said that having a wellness specialist “has been a lot of help” because it’s hard for the counselors to meet all the needs of their 550 students.

In order to see Hall, students have to be recommended to her by their counselor, and counselors recommend students to her if they “require more time or attention” than the counselors can give them, said Kettering.

“I think it is wonderful that there is an awareness of and commitment to the wellness needs of our students and that we have someone here full-time to complement the resources and interventions we already provide,” Aguilar said.

“I think having a wellness specialist is amazing,” said Kettering. “It’s a great thing for the schools in the district and is something we needed. We recognize the concerns of students but have had difficulty meeting all of those needs, but now, support has been given.”

“I hope to serve as a person and place for students to have a confidential and safe place to discuss personal concerns or issues and provide assistance and counseling that peers and maybe other people in their lives cannot provide,” said Hall. “I want Esperanza students to recognize how much the adults on campus care about them as individuals and their well being.”

“Esperanza was so lucky to have Mrs. Hall come on board with us,” Aguilar added. “She is dedicated to providing support to our students and has been an outstanding addition to our staff.”

And a piece of advice from Hall about relieving anxiety from the pressures of school is for “all students to have a plan prior to feeling anxious or overwhelmed on how to cope safely and effectively, similar to an ‘Emergency Plan’ for an earthquake or fire dire. It’s smart to establish the people, things and places you need when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, prior to the feelings occurring. Not all coping strategies work for everyone. It takes time for people to find effective coping skills for them.”