While our world has become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate for children, schools have been charged with the enormous task of meeting a myriad of student's educational, social, emotional, psychological and biological needs... all while having to maintain the goal of producing intelligent and capable young citizens who will contribute meaningfully to life on this planet. Navigating Success Through Wellness ("NSTW") is an innovative and dynamic approach to bio-psycho-social-emotional learning that provides students with a unique opportunity to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them while honoring their well-being and aspiring to realize their hopes, dreams and greatest successes
Our mission is to provide students, parents and educators with the knowledge and skills that serve to fuse the gap between success and wellness in order to help young people evolve into a more empathic, conscious, healthy and accomplished global society. Navigating Success Through Wellness strives to do so by provided a plethora of research and evidence based multi-disciplinary learning modalities to address the biological, psychological, social and emotional needs of developing young people.
We like to brag that Navigating Success Through Wellness had its beginnings at the top! In 2018, Jill A. Pantaleo, LCSW and Associates, LLC / Bergen County Therapy had the privilege of participating in a prominent mental health awareness program for one of the most acclaimed and prestigious school districts in our nation, The Bergen County Technical Schools in New Jersey. This district boasts four high schools, including Bergen County Academies (ranked by Niche as the number one public high school in America in 2020) and Bergen County Technical High School: Teterboro (ranked by Niche as the number 3 Best Magnet High School in New Jersey in 2020). The presentation was so well received that the Superintendent, Dr. Howard Lerner, and the Assistant Superintendent, Ms. Andrea Sheridan (both of whom have professional backgrounds in the field of mental health) invited us to propose an initiative to meet the wellness and mental health needs of the district's more than 2500 students. That initiative was Navigating Success Through Wellness, which was launched in September of 2018 and is now approaching its third highly successful year in The Bergen County Technical Schools and has served thousands of children.
Navigating Success Through Wellness is so much more that your "garden variety" SEL program. It is, instead, an intricate and fluid system of learning developed by an expert team of mental health practitioners, educators, and wellness professionals that reaches far beyond the simplicity of "one-size-fits-all" SEL curriculums. It is a holistic and comprehensive approach that delves deeply into the inter-connectedness of the biological, psychological, social and emotional characteristics of human development critical for survival and success in today's complex world. Navigating Success Through Wellness helps children, teens, parents and educators explore themselves in relation to the world around them by addressing topics such as nutrition, body image, sleep hygiene, movement, stress management, self-regulation, interpersonal accountability, self and other awareness, empathy and compassion, and global responsibility and conscious living.
Simply stated, teachers should be allowed to do what they do best in the classroom: teach. In many ways, teachers are often expected to take on the roles of social workers or therapists due to increases in the mental and behavioral challenges among children and teens. This not only takes away from the precious time teachers have to teach their subjects and help children learn, but it also places undue stress and anxiety on them. This stress can potentially lead to teacher burn out, absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, lower performance and compromised mental and physical health.
According to a 2017 study reported by the American Federation of Teachers, 61% of teachers surveyed in the United States reported feeling significantly "stressed out" by the increasing demands of their profession, and a 2020 study from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Collaborative for Social Emotional and Academic Learning found that teachers often feel anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed, and sad. While many factors contribute to these findings, common causes include increased responsibilities and the expansion of teacher's roles in the classroom, larger class sizes, and overwhelming demands placed on teachers to meet student's mental, emotional, social and behavioral needs.
Typical SEL curriculums are not only expensive for school districts, but are often outdated and limited in their scope, they eat up time and money for teacher training, and place an added burden on teachers to deliver lessons on topics outside of the realm of their subject area and expertise. We say let teachers teach, and let Navigating Success Through Wellness handle the rest...
Do you envision a school culture in which your students begin their day with a short meditation to foster empathy and compassion, or join in a group conversation with a registered dietician about healthy body image and the role of social media in our definition of beauty and self worth? Can you imagine students exploring with a licensed social worker the definition of a truly successful life, and how to practice self-love and self-care to realize such an existence? What would be different if students learned to use a "feeling menu" to identify and express their sadness or anger, rather than acting out their uncomfortable feelings through aggression or self-harm? Would students improve productivity and classroom behavior if they were taught to use evidence based mindfulness practices to enhance focus and executive functioning? What if parents received on-going support and education on children's developmental needs.. and teachers were offered mindfulness classes or sleep coaching to help manage stress?
Navigating Success Through Wellness can provide all of this, and much, much more. Our staff can take the burden of outdated and ineffective SEL lessons off of teachers and administrators and seamlessly deliver our unique and cutting edge brand of bio-psycho-social learning right to your school's classrooms, hallways, counseling offices or lunchrooms... in-person or virtually!
One of the primary characteristics that makes Navigating Success Through Wellness stand so tall among other more limited and traditional SEL curriculums is the ways in which it addresses the needs of the larger educational system. NSTW is founded on the belief that within any "system", all parts influence and impact all other parts. It is for this reason that NSTW utilizes an innovative "3-Prong Approach" to its bio-psycho-social-emotional learning strategy: services for students, staff and parents alike. With our program at the award winning Bergen County Technical Schools district in New Jersey, parents received twice monthly virtual meetings on relevant topics and teachers are provided "drop in" mindfulness, yoga and stress management classes. These services have been highly successful and very well attended, and are of course in addition to our plethora of student services.
Navigating Success Through Wellness consists of 6 individual components that encapsulate the teaching, development and enhancement of the skills, personal insights, and functional practices to enrich life, improve well-being and realize success. The various components are executed via a wide variety of multi-disciplinary modalities facilitated by our NSTW team.
Each component has 6 intricately defined targeted goals.The 6 components of NSTW are:
1. Practical Skills-Based Mindfulness Training
2. Functional Wellness and Lifestyle Training
3. Enhancement of Interpersonal Connectedness
4. Defining Success Through Self-Exploration
5. Development of Affect, Resilience and Self-Empowerment
6. Global Perspectives Training
Services that NSTW provides include:
Nutritional and dietary counseling
Yoga and movement
Mindfulness, meditation and relaxation
Support and rap groups
Individual and group counseling
Teacher and staff training, development and support
Parent education and support
Classroom wellness support
Executive functioning training and support
Peak performance coaching including FITLIGHT training
Positive social media
Diversity, inclusion and equity training
Mental health and wellness events
Mental health support, assessment and counseling services
We realize that every district is different, and, to us, that makes every district special. And that is exactly how we will treat you: special! We recognize that the needs of a county wide district with 2500 students are distinctly different from a small district with a single elementary school with 250 students. Another appealing aspect of NSTW is the individualized program design that permits each and every school to have a wellness plan developed specifically to meet their individual needs. This allows NSTW to be highly functional, highly impactful, and highly cost effective, as it is not a "one-size-fits-all" curriculum. It is, frankly, not a curriculum at all, but is, rather, a system of services that are designed and delivered to each school or district in a professional, well thought-out, and personalized manner. Our social workers initially meet with administrators, counselors, teachers and, occasionally, even students to facilitate an informal needs assessment. This assessment yeields a blue-print for the direct delivery of a wide variety of wellness, psycho-educational and skills based services by our team of professionals. The rest, as the saying goes, is smooth sailing! Kids engage, parents participate, and teachers and administrators enjoy the benefits of stress management, mindfulness, and support.
We are aware that finances are always a critical factor when considering a service or program for your school. As stated above in the Individualized Program Design section, every school is provided a unique "blue print" with recommendations designed specifically for their needs. We believe that it would be silly and wasteful to purchase a curriculum in which you are forced to pay for things you don't want or need. That is exactly what makes NSTW so cost effective! Think of it as an a la carte menu in which you choose exactly what suits your appetite! Therefore, the cost of the program is determined by the amount and specificity of the services required. Services are provided on an hourly fee, all predetermined and contractually calculated. And everything is based on the needs and the budget of the school. No surprises, no hard sell. Another factor that makes NSTW so highly cost effective is the use of graduate level social work interns from local colleges and universities. Interns are supervised by the NSTW licensed clinical social workers, and offer schools an opportunity to have a greater number of services delivered at a fraction of the cost. Please contact us to discuss your needs and potential cost.
The Navigating Success Through Wellness team consists of many experienced and highly trained multi-disciplinary professionals including social workers, mental health counselors, educators, a behavioral coach, a registered dietitian, yoga, meditation and mindfulness trainers, creative arts instructors, a variety of life coaches including parent, sleep, peak performance and wellness coaches, graduate level interns and more!
Navigating Success Through Wellness was designed and pioneered by Jill Pantaleo, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and owner of Bergen County Therapy, along with her talented and passionate team of associates. Jill A. Pantaleo, LCSW And Associates, LLC also known as Bergen County Therapy, is one of the most prestigious and long-standing therapy and consulting practices in Bergen County. They have been providing professional, effective, compassionate and comprehensive care to the residents, families, schools and businesses of Bergen County for over 25 years. The staff consists of experienced and highly trained Licensed Clinical Social Workers, a registered dietitian, a behavioral consultant, yoga teachers, educators, neurofeedback technicians, and more. Our professionals have advanced and specialized training in a multitude of treatment modalities and clinical approaches (ie- EMDR, hypnotherapy, play therapy, mindfulness training, CBT, DBT, Imago Couple's Therapy, etc.), and are experienced in working with a wide variety of conditions, diagnoses and populations including children and adolescents. Many of our clinicians are also affiliated with local institutes of higher education as professors or administrators.