This Baltimore educator is looking to help teachers stay healthy - Baltimore


This Baltimore educator is looking to help teachers stay healthy

With The Whole Teacher, Jenna Shaw is bringing wellness programs to local educators.

Jenna Shaw pitches at the JHU Social Innovation Lab finale.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Teachers are focused on helping students, but they face their own challenges.

In nine years as an educator in Baltimore city schools, Jenna Shaw has seen “how hard it is to be a teacher and sustain a healthy lifestyle.” Many factors like stress and life events can lead to burnout and put educators’ health at risk.

The Whole Teacher, which Shaw founded, is looking to provide wellness programs in schools that provide health services to teachers.

The nonprofit’s platform aims to collect data about what teachers need. Using the data, The Whole Teacher assists in designing and implementing programs within a school that can address those areas.

The org also looks to establish partnerships with health and wellness organizations that can introduce the services. The Whole Teacher has connections to 12 such services, Shaw said.

In Baltimore, Shaw said sees a population of teachers that benefitted from salary increases being tied to performance rather than seniority since Baltimore implemented an innovative new teacher pay scale in 2010. Their overall well-being is important for maintaining that high level.

“Thats a population that Baltimore city should be concerned about,” Shaw said, and thinking about “what they need holistically. Those are going to be the teachers that have the opportunity to make huge change with their kids.”

Along with helping the teachers stay healthy, the programs can also help schools retain educators, Shaw said.

Shaw piloted the model for gathering data and developing programs in three Baltimore schools in the fall, and recently completed Johns Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab, which provides support for social ventures over six months. Moving forward, she┬áis looking to ramp up development of the tech platform that includes data collection and a dashboard to implement the wellness programs.


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