By Sally Marks | Apache Junction Unified School District Communications Department
Focusing on health and wellness has expanded beyond students to include teachers, administrators and staff at Apache Junction Unified School District.
One of the new activities includes staff hikes in the nearby Superstition Mountains and surrounding areas.
This school year’s activities included a hike in December and another one in March where hikers explored the beautiful scenery of the Hieroglyphic Trail.
Patricia Smith, student wellness coordinator for AJUSD, said those who participated and others have already expressed they look forward to the next hike.
“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to spend time with our colleagues outside of our normal work day to get to know one another and find common ground,” said Smith. “It has been enjoyable not only because of this and the exercise, it has also been refreshing to the mind, heart and soul. We live in a beautiful community with the majestic Superstition Mountains in our backyard.”
In addition to coordinating the staff hikes, Smith — in her new, grant-funded role as student wellness coordinator — oversees, implements, monitors and reviews multi-tiered systems of support at all school sites. The program’s emphasis is to create a positive impact on academic performance, improve students’ health, and reduce high-risk behavior.
Smith works closely with interventionists, leads for social workers and nurses, and gives support to site leaders to build systems that address the whole learner.
Coordinating the staff hikes was more than a fun expedition.
“We are a small school district and we value the strong ties we have developed with our students and families” said Heather Wallace, AJUSD superintendent. “I believe forging those bonds is easier in a smaller community. However, like all school districts, we add new staff to our district every year. The staff hikes provide a way to strengthen our health, friendships and appreciation for the beautiful and unique place where we work and play.”
In an effort to recruit top candidates for numerous job position, Apache Junction Unified School District is hosting job fairs 8:30-11 a.m. March 20 and April 1 at the AJUSD District Office, 1575 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction.
Positions include elementary teaching positions in K-5, math, science and English language arts for grades 6- 8, Special education positions for K-12, as well as school psychologists, speech language pathologists and more. Openings are also available in food services, custodial, transportation, paraprofessionals and for substitute teachers.
Registration is underway for all Apache Junction Unified School District schools. For information visit ajusd.org.