ASSET Education was founded to address the rise in severe anxiety among high school students. Tessa Zimmerman, founder and executive director, grew up with severe anxiety, and when she would ask her teachers or guidance counselors for help, the only tool they could offer her was a stress ball. She quickly found that a stress ball was not an effective resource. Tessa believes that what will truly make students successful in life will be the ability to face adversity using effective coping strategies to mitigate stress and anxiety.
ASSET Education incorporates a variety of coping mechanisms, including mindfulness and positive psychology, and equips high school teachers with tools and lesson plans to support students in developing practices to effectively cope with stress and anxiety, not only in the classroom setting but in life. ASSET was awarded $9,000 in funding during the 2016 Design Challenge to support initial testing of her curriculum in DPS schools and the completion of a full case study. In 2017, ASSET received additional funding from the Imaginarium to support deeper testing during the 2017-2018 school year.
After 8-weeks of using ASSET tools in a classroom setting , students reported a decrease in stress levels and an increase in mindfulness.
Additionally, a majority of these students reported to have used an ASSET tool outside of school to destress and relax. Those who did use ASSET outside of school had an increase in their mindfulness compared to those who did not use ASSET outside of school. While these findings are preliminary, they show the promise that equipping students with ASSET tools may lead to decreased stress and increased mindfulness in students.
During the 2017-2018 school year, ASSET engaged in further testing by partnering with 3 Denver area schools: North High School, DSISD, and DSST-GVR. Through this round of testing, Tessa hopes to learn about the implementation model of training ASSET coaches in each site and more clearly demonstrate the impact of ASSET tools to help students mitigate adverse effects of stress and anxiety in school.
Click here for an update on the 2017-2018 project.