The W.E.L.L. Lab – School Coaching Centers


i.b.mee.’s W.E.L.L. Lab is being developed and implemented in schools in Asheville NC. For the past 6 years we have been integrating a coaching-wellness-resiliency-empowerment program with teachers, principles, parents and students. This program has shown promising results in supporting troubled youth (and all students) in shifting disempowering behavioral patterns into empowering behavioral patterns.  The students love school more and are less sensitive to external and internal stimuli and their parents and teachers are feeling more confident in how to handle challenges with their child or student.

The W.E.L.L. Lab brings together our W.E.L.L. Classroom, The Live Your Legacy Leadership Program for Students and the W.E.L.L. Home with empowerment coaching at the core. The W.E.L.L. Lab is designed to have sustainable effects. Teachers report there is no turning back as they change from the inside out. They then watch their students transform improving self-regulation, engagement, socialization, and excitement for learning. As a result, we begin to see both adults and students begin to use positive somatic experiences to move through emotional triggers and challenges. The positive results become a model for others in the school to want to get involved, not just challenged kids. The counselor’s load lessens. Teachers like their jobs more. Principals have less stress and standardized scores have the best chance of eventually going up. 


(1) As of Fall 2018, i.b.mee. is continuing to work with Buncombe County Early College– BCEC (3rd year) and this year will be incorporating a W.E.L.L. Coaching Center to work with challenged students and to eventually take the place of in- and out-of-school suspensions when possible. This program include Teacher Empowerment Coaching to bring the student-centered, whole-child values out in their curricula, and also Principal Empowerment Consulting/Coaching to support her in the implementation of her 21st Century, healthy and empowering strategic plan. This school is setting a new standard in how to treat their students.

BCEC focuses on young people for whom the transition into postsecondary education may be problematic. We serve low-income young people, first-generation college goers, English language learners, and students of color, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education. Their goal is to increase the number of  young people who attain an associate degree—tuition free. 

The ethnicity of the 265 students enrolled at BCEC in May 2016 was 75.5% white, 4.2% Asian, 1.5% African American, 14.0% Hispanic, 0.8% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 4.2% two or more ethnicities. Female students made up 64.9% and male students made up 35.1% of the total student population. We had 43.8% of our students receiving nutritional assistance through the free and reduced meals program.

IMG_9840 (2) copy(2) We are also working in our 4th year at a high needs school, Johnston Elementary, with a 3rd grade class of around 60. We have been implementing our W.E.L.L. System with them since they have been in Kindergarten and we are getting positive feedback on the type of class they are compared to others (more regulated, get along great, are engaged, love their friends). We also work with the Kindergarten classes (1 to 3 classes) every year to help give those students a great start into their education career.

Johnston Elementary in Asheville is currently ranked a D academic school with an estimated 7 average Adverse Childhood Experience score. Everyday Johnston teachers and their administration are overcoming trauma-related challenges & outcomes such as:

  • 48% living below the poverty line
  • 50 DSS referrals
  • 90% Reduced Lunch
  • High need for more MHS
  • 200 behavior referrals yearly

Teachers who have participated in this program learned to:

  • move through their emotional triggers more effectively & avoid projecting onto the students.
  • enjoy teaching again.
  • increase their clarity and confidence to handle challenging student behavior.
  • feel less exhausted & stressed.
  • feel more creative & authentic as a teacher.

Students who participated in this program learned to:

  • increase their ability to transform their emotional triggers (be more resilient to external challenges).
  • move up to a higher behavioral tier.
  • increase their intrinsic motivation to do academic work.
  • define success for themselves.

One teacher we worked with had nine highly traumatized students (207) and did not have one counselor intervention after learning our W.E.L.L. system. 


The National Education Policy Center reports nearly 3.4 million children are suspended yearly.

During the 2013-2014 school year, 109,000 students were paddled, swatted, or otherwise physically punished in U.S. classrooms.

Suspensions have been linked to “lower academic performance, higher rates of dropout, failures to graduate on time, decreased academic engagement, and future disciplinary exclusion.” 

Reports also show that one suspension triples the likelihood of a juvenile justice contact within that year. 

 When students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly.

African-American students and children with particular educational disabilities who qualify for special education were suspended and expelled at especially high rates.” 

It is no coincidence that the prison system mirrors the same high rate of incarceration for these populations. 

It is evident that with sixty-eight percent of state prison inmates not holding a high school diplomas we are missing an opportunity. 

Incarcerating these former disengaged students instead of successfully educating and empowering them while they are in school is costing them their freedom and taxpayers billions.

It is clear that these practices are outdated, unfair, and not working. There is hope for decreasing the the intensity and frequency of behavior problems and disruptions without further isolating or disconnecting from the student in need. Often the outbursts, avoidances, and defiant behaviors we are seeing are symptoms of a larger problem only uncovered when the student feels safe and valued enough to express their emotions and vulnerabilities.

With one in ten people living with a diagnosed mental health challenge that is “severe enough to impair how they function at home, school, or in the community…” it is likely that every classroom in America has a student or two that needs additional supports.

Principal and thought-leader of the infamous Lincoln High School in Walla Walla Washington, Jim Sporlder, encourages an innovative approach for responding to students’ cries for help by building positive relationships, providing access to wellness resources, and teaching resiliency and coping skills that will support students as they move through future life challenges.

 The U.S. Department of Education agrees that school-wide and individual interventions that use proactive, preventative approaches can address the underlying cause or purpose of the behavior.

Principals, counselors and teachers today are being bombarded with cutting-edge neuroscience, educational methodologies, mindfulness & wellness information on how to deal with these challenged students. They are in dire need of the HOW to implement these practices. Research shows that a combination of Discussion, Demonstration, Practice & Feedback, + Coaching will result in 95% of the participants doing the practices after one year.


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