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The mission of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education (CWAE - a 501(c)(3) non-profit) is to reduce school violence, stress, and substance abuse, and improve educational outcomes and student and faculty well-being through the implementation of programs that reduce stress and strengthen the physiological foundation of behavior, learning, and teaching. Our current focus is on working with schools in the Bay Area.
Too many students in the Bay Area are failing. About half of the one million students who attend public school are not performing at grade level. One third of all students drop out of school before graduating. Of those who do graduate, only one third meet the requirements to apply to a four-year college. Among the Hispanic and African American subpopulations this rate is significantly lower.
The solution to this problem is not simple. We need better teachers, better curricula, more resources. In addition, we need to address the physiological conditions that too often are undermining the children's readiness to learn and the teachers' ability to teach effectively. Paramount among these are stress, sleep deprivation, and malnutrition.
Sleep deprivation is also a major problem. It has been called the biggest brain impairment, and it is widespread. In one recent survey more than 25% of students reported being very tired frequently in school.
Malnutrition is also widespread in the US today. Thirteen million children in the US suffer from the most severe form of malnutrition - hunger - but many times this number suffer from diets that undermine the ability to focus and promote ill health.
There are two poles to the education process - the objective pole, the knowledge that the student is supposed to learn; and the subjective pole, the student who is doing the learning. CWAE provides programs that focus on the physiological conditions that impair mental and physical functioning, strengthen the subjective pole and thereby create a foundation for school learning and healthy student development.
Stress is a pervasive problem among students in our nation's schools, leading to negative school behavior, attention deficits, anger, violence, and poor physical health, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. It is a particular problem for students in inner-city schools, who suffer disproportionately from major life stressors, including poverty, violence, and broken families. It is an important factor impairing student readiness to learn and psychological health and an important factor undermining the creation of school environments conducive to learning.
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