In an effort to foster a healthy and robust social-emotional environment, CASA has employed a full time Health and Wellness Counselor. Laurel Elliott has an MA in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy, and offers services at CASA as a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist under supervision of an outside licensed therapist. Laurel offers individual wellness checks and wellness groups to CASA kids who could benefit from some extra support. Laurel also acts as our on-site Positive Discipline and Restorative Practices coach, an invaluable resource to our teachers and families.

Kindness Is Cool
At CASA we work closely with our students to encourage respect, empathy & kindness. Each year we offer a week of workshops investigating these themes and aiming to combat bullying. Our students explore what it feels like to inhabit all three roles in the bullying cycle: The Bully, The Target & The Witness. Through experiential creative arts projects, participants are shown how inclusion and being a Witness-Hero can end the bullying cycle.

Our Kindness Is Cool programming is inspired by expressive arts therapist, Maryam Mermey who takes an innovative approach to addressing bullying. This video is from a 2010 workshop with CASA’s then 5th graders: https://vimeo.com/17425737

Wellness Center
Our Wellness Center is a quiet oasis, a healthy escape from the often hectic school environment. Students can drop-in to the center for support with a comprehensive array of social-emotional needs. The Wellness Center additionally offers targeted, evidence-based resources focused specifically on the areas of bullying prevention & intervention, mindful relaxation techniques, sensory integration development, and emotion identification and regulation.

More information abut CASA’s wellness offerings can be found here: http://www.cardasiscounseling.org/casa.html

CASA’s Commitment to Social Justice
It is important to us that our teaching team reflect the diversity of our city and represent a myriad of intersectional identities. More than 75% of the CASA staff is LGBTQ+ and more than 50% are POC. In committing to a diverse family of artist/educators, our students have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in our staff, and also to make positive connections with teachers who have different cultural backgrounds. All of our teachers infuse their curriculum and daily student interactions with social justice themes.