Uplift Education Implemented Rhithm, Inc’s Application This Year to Determine Students Daily Mental Well-Being
Uplift Education implemented Rhithm, Inc’s application this school year for students. It is an easy-to-use mental health wellness check-in tool that allows educators to proactively shape the culture of a classroom, and school daily during instructional period. In less than three minutes each day, educators have the information to determine how students are mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally and can proactively respond before an incident manifests in the classroom that day.
With concerns related to mental health, learning loss, and the achievement gap increasing due to learning inconsistency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Rhithm, Inc. allows Uplift teachers to rapidly check in on student well-being while simultaneously ensuring their focus remains on supporting learning loss and closing the achievement gap. Uplift 2nd through 12th grade students log into Rhithm daily and do a “tempo check” using a series of five questions related to mood, energy, emotion, physical body, and social life, using a simple to understand emoji rating system.
The application’s data platform provides administrators and school district personnel with real-time student well-being metrics. Uplift then examines the metrics further by reviewing specific schools, grade levels, and/or demographic information. For example, Uplift is able to see if a student is repeatedly reporting that they are angry, hungry, exhausted, or in conflict with another student. The school social counselor can respond to this data quickly by doing a live check-in with that student. Following each “tempo check”, teachers play a 60 second video that promotes self-management by doing a quick breathing or body stretch exercise. These quick and easy breaks give our students a chance to calm themselves and reflect on their learning. Recently our Director of Well-Being was rushing in to volunteer at a primary school and was out of breath. A first grader came up to her and said, “You need to put your arms like you are holding a ball and breathe while you lift the ball. That’s how you calm down.” When our students are teaching the adults how self-regulate, we know we’ve done our work.
Approximately one in six American youths aged 6-17 experience signs or symptoms associated with a mental health disorder each year (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2021). The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates a rise in youth mental health needs, with more than 25% of U.S. parents reporting increasing concerns with their child’s mental health between March and June 2020 (Patrick et al., 2020). With symptoms of mental health disorders regularly appearing in students within the school setting, interventions focused on identifying early signs of mental health needs are critical before student academic progress, and overall well-being is irrevocably impacted (Eccleston, 2021; Kessler et al., 2005; Ohrt et al., 2020). Having a strategic system to address student mental health needs in the school setting is imperative to account for the link between student academic achievement and overall well-being (Borntrager & Lyon, 2015).