Superintendent's Update - June 2, 2023
From the Office of the Superintendent:
BOARD AGENDA CALENDAR
The Board agenda calendar can be found HERE.
Reading skills built over the school year can be expanded by engaging throughout the summer. Students can improve their ability and have the pleasure of reading both at home and while traveling. PAUSD librarians have created the following slides to keep the joy of reading alive.
MENTAL HEALTH AD HOC COMMITTEE
As part of the district’s focus on mental health and wellness, the Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee met to identify the tiered levels of mental health support offered at the secondary level. The Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework is a cohesive approach to the identification and response to student needs. Mental health interventions range from universal services supporting all students to more intensive services for select students presenting higher levels of need. Middle and high school students, parents, counselors, psychologists, wellness staff, administrators, Board members, and a (Parent Teacher Advisory Council) PTAC representative participated on the committee.
Committee members discussed best practices for Tier 1 mental health support, which focused on school climate, teacher and staff well-being, positive behaviors and relationships, positive discipline practices, mental health literacy, and social emotional learning. Site teams identified specific mental health supports at each tier. Committee members shared insights on how students access the tiered levels of support, how supports are communicated to students, and future data needed for further analysis.
Consistent practices across sites are highlighted below:
Universal Tier 1 Highlights (all students):
- Wellness Center
- Counselor check-ins & drop-in availability
- Social-emotional learning (SEL) lessons
- SEL and Wellness student surveys
- Lunch clubs
- Wellness activities and events
- Parent nights
- High School: Living Skills course; Paly Advisory and Gunn (Social Emotional Learning and Functionality (SELF) programs
Targeted Tier 2 Highlights (some students):
- School-based therapy drop-ins and support
- Behavior interventions
- Regular check-ins with school counselor
- Student Success Team meetings
- School team meetings (Instructional Support Team / Coordination of Services Team)
- Student and Family Engagement (SaFE) specialists
Individualized Tier 3 Highlights (few students):
- Individual school-based therapy
- Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)
- Section 504 Plans & Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
- Safety Plans / Risk Assessments
- Return to school meetings from hospitalizations
- Community referrals
The committee also evaluated the infrastructure and outcomes of the Middle School Wellness program. Mental health and wellness associates provided an overview of the Wellness Centers at each middle school, current strengths, and hopes for future programming. Committee members identified areas of celebration and ideas for expansion in the coming year.
Areas of Celebration
- Sense of Belonging: Students develop a sense of belonging and are engaged in activities in a safe place with trusted adults.
- Normalize: The SBMH program helps normalize and reduce mental health stigma and allows for cross discipline collaboration to support the whole child.
- Relationships: The Wellness program has provided opportunities to develop supportive relationships with students with diverse backgrounds.
- Growth: Students in short-term school-based therapy demonstrate growth and success in meeting treatment goals.
Opportunities for Future Development and Programming
- Communication: Ensure that students are aware of the Wellness Center and how to get mental health support and provide reminders
- Access: Explore ways to increase Wellness Center hours so students have more time in wellness space
- Community Partners: Collaborate with outside agencies to provide resources and presentations for students, families, and staff
- Peer Leadership and Mentorship: Create opportunities for a student wellness representative and/or peer mentors to uplift student voice
- Training: Investigate Mental Health First Aid training for staff and students to build skills in identifying, understanding, and responding to signs of mental health needs in students
- Outreach: Offer additional wellness education to destigmatize and normalize mental health support for students and families
- Student Voice: Continue Student Listening Sessions to make informed decisions on how to best support student mental health