Promoting Staff Health and Wellness with the #SelfieCareChallenge

SelfieCareChallenge Winner 2024

How do you practice self-care? As we go about our busy lives, practicing habits that are important for our well-being can fall by the wayside. We understand how difficult it is to balance your health goals while staying on top of daily responsibilities, especially for special education staff who can experience high levels of emotional and physical stress, as well as burnout. In a 2022 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, special education schools accounted for 45% of all schools reporting teaching vacancies. Reasons for these vacancies can be “closely correlated with burnout, something special education teachers are at high risk for compared to their general education counterparts.” (Brunsting, Sreckovic, Lane, 2014).

At the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, The Foundation Schools launched the #SelfieCareChallenge to encourage healthy habits both at work and at home, spread staff appreciation, and reduce our staff’s stress and burnout. Each of our four schools was tasked to design group health and wellness activities that could be easily implemented into their programs. Requirements were:

  1. Create an original activity that promotes physical or emotional wellness
  2. Submit a picture with at least two staff members participating in the activity
  3. Write a short description of the activity and its health or wellness benefits
  4. Recurring events can be counted as individual entries

Our staff tackled the challenge head-on, coming up with many creative activities focusing on different aspects of health and wellness. To encourage a healthy diet, some programs hosted food bars during lunch with nutritious foods like salad and Beyond Burgers, and healthy beverage options like tea and smoothies during #ThirstyThursday. Meanwhile, some of our other staff focused on physical wellness by spending their weekend at the Sea Gull Century bike riding event, where riders rode up to 100 miles in Salisbury. Practicing mindfulness is important for emotional regulation and improves our overall well-being. Some staff encouraged emotional wellness by taking nature walks around the campus during their break and hosting recurring morning yoga sessions led by our physical education instructor to start the work day with a positive attitude. Not only did the #SelfieCareChallenge remind us to prioritize our emotional and physical health, but it also allowed staff to collaborate and develop stronger relationships throughout the year, helping improve staff morale, our school culture, and student outcomes.



We received many great submissions, however, The Foundation School in Largo’s high school program took the win with 59 activities submitted! To celebrate their accomplishment, they received a plaque, a congratulatory banner, and funding to plan a health and wellness activity next school year. We hope to continue this challenge for many years to come and always recognize our staff’s amazing efforts in supporting our students’ emotional and academic progress!