Dr. Amy Miner, PhD

Dr. Amy Miner, PhD

What do we know about well-being?

Well-being is the overarching, inclusive, and comprehensive term that encompasses physical, social, emotional, mental, and academic skills and dispositions.

  • Well-being is integrated and holistic and a fundamental human goal.
  • Well-being includes the experience of functioning well, for instance: having a sense of engagement and competence, being resilient in the face of setbacks, having good relationships with others, and a sense of belonging and contributing to a community.
  • Well-being is not just the absence of “ill-being.” There are specific conditions that support it, and deliberate work is associated with it in order to ensure it.
  • Well-being is not the mere absence of psychological or behavioral problems but reflects the presence of strengths and wellness.
  • Well-being is described as balanced and peaceful living and learning, the ability to navigate the ups and downs of life, and the stability that enables one to thrive and contribute to society in meaningful and impactful ways.

Everything that happens in an educational setting is an integrated experience that impacts daily life in and outside the school setting and therefore impacts well-being. A further examination of effective well-being approaches includes the following fundamentals:

  • We know that well-being needs to include stakeholder partnerships between students, parents, teachers, administrators, and service providers.
  • We know that well-being instruction needs to empower students to create strategies and solutions to navigate their everyday lives in successful ways.
  • We know that well-being instruction needs to address the problem(s) created by technology and empower students to increase their sense of connection and relevance through technology.
  • We know that well-being instruction needs to be implemented systematically, providing students and faculty a common language and set of skills to draw from.

When considering how to implement a well-being program into the school setting, one must consider how well-being skills can be taught through direct instruction, at the classroom level. Clear lesson objectives and activities need to introduce students to new concepts and provide opportunities to model new skills. Through a balanced and integrated approach, students need opportunities for group and individual practice as well as time for self-reflection and assessment.

Additionally, we advocate for a systematic K-12 approach to well-being suggesting that key stakeholders consider the following questions:

  • What do we want all students to know and be able to do upon graduation?
  • What competencies should they have?
  • What are our district’s goals, outcomes, core values, and student skills?
  • What kind of culture and climate does our district want?
  • What will our district look like after achieving our well-being vision? [1]

Well-being ensures that all students and educators thrive physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and academically.

Through a whole system approach, the In Focus well-being curriculum helps teachers and administrators create the conditions and environments that support teacher and student well-being in the classroom, school, and personal/home life.


  1. Hanover. (2019). Social-emotional learning, a best practice report. Prepared for Utah Leading through Effective, Actionable, and Dynamic Education.


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More to explore:

Creating the Conditions for Well-Being

Fundamental to the In Focus framework on well-being is Maslow’s Hierarchy, which suggests a 5-tiered model of needs that must be satisfied

Thriving is more than Surviving

Well-being is integrated, holistic, and a fundamental human goal. Well-being includes the experience of functioning well, having a sense of engagement and

Funding and ESSR Information

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funding is intended to address students’ needs for underrepresented and highly impacted student subgroups.

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