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Health and Wellness

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The Health & Wellness Team is staffed by licensed mental health professionals, a school nurse, health educators, and clinical and nursing interns. The Wellness Office offers a range of clinical services to our students and their families including crisis intervention, short-term counseling support, group counseling, family support, coaching/mentoring, and case management support. These services are provided to support students’ emotional functioning and academic success and are available to all BAA students free of charge.

Clinical Services

Students can talk to a clinician at any time during the school year, and we work with students to ensure that they do not miss critical class and instruction time. We have found that when students have a space to talk about their concerns, they are better able to focus on their education. Information that a student shares with our clinical team is kept confidential, and we can only share that information with caregivers if the student gives permission.

Caregivers must provide written consent in order for their child to be seen for ongoing counseling services. If the student has suicidal or homicidal thoughts or has reported self-harm, a caregiver will be consulted. Additionally, we are required by Massachusetts law to report any past or current physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect to the appropriate agencies.​

Prevention Services

The Health & Wellness Team is committed to early identification and treatment of psychological and social emotional concerns. As such, we have developed a number of initiatives that allows the Health & Wellness Team to better understand our students and to consult with teachers and department about a range of student concerns:

  • Administering a Personal Wellness Assessment to all new students, which helps us determine the level of services that will benefit each student.

  • Administering the anonymous BAA Teen Health Survey to all students. The information from this survey helps us better understand the needs of our students, to improve the services we provide, and to be more targeted in seeking grants and other funding that will support students’ needs.

  • Collaborating with teachers to teach, co-teach, and support classes around social-emotional learning.

  • Working closely with Arts and Academics teams to identify and address various student concerns.


All students are assigned to an advisory with 10-13 other students within the same Arts Major but in mixed grade levels. Advisories meet twice each week. Students also stay with the same Faculty Advisor for all four years, ensuring that each student is known well by at least one adult in the building. Advisors serve as the primary liaison between the school and caregivers.

Circle Practice

Circle Practices in schools create a sense of belonging and a supportive community, where members of the school embrace each other and advocate for equality for everyone. Members also hold each other accountable to ensure respect for individuality and the school community. Such practices also help nurture and develop empathy for each other, thus leading to more and more students being able to relate and understand one another.

Because of Circle Practices in schools, more specifically when a restorative conference is used to address harm caused in a classroom, both teachers and students are active participants of the conference. This creates an equal playing field for voices to be heard. The presence of a hierarchy is not present and thus it allows for students to be heard and not hold back on expressing and communicating their experiences. The facilitator needs to ensure that the process and norms created are honored so a space of safety and respect is present at all times. Students when in a restorative conference are provided a space to be heard and seen. This experience creates an opportunity for them to practice expressive skills and for others to practice and develop listening skills.

We have found that behaviors change when students are held accountable for their actions by their peers. Students are also able to develop leadership skills. Circles are most effective when students lead discussions and mediate conflict. Students who are interested in becoming Circle Leaders are trained by an outside professional, and once trained, are prepared to lead any level of intervention.

Health Class

Students take Health & Wellness classes one semester per year. Led by the Health & Wellness Team, the class covers topics such as coping with anxiety and depression, healthy relationships, substance abuse education, decision-making, and sexual health. These classes are required of all ninth graders and attendance is mandatory.

Health & Wellness Team

Dr. Kwame Dance
Dean of the Health & Wellness Team

Jocelyne Aboujaoude, BSN, RN, Med
School Nurse

Sarah Nichols, Med, LICSW
Bridge Program Coordinator

Stacy Swasey, LICSW
Social Worker/Family Engagement Coordinator

Sarauna Moore, LICSW
Social Worker, Children’s Hospital

Meagan Hemeon
Health Educator, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)

Royal Nunes
Health Educator, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)

Jehvonie Robert
Clinical Intern, William James College

Lydia Mitchell
Clinical Intern, Simmons University School of Social Work

Boston Arts Academy Foundation

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Boston, MA 02215