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Mental Health and Wellness

Strives to provide social, emotional, and physical health needs of all students.

PAUSD strives to provide for the social, emotional, and physical health needs of all students, staff, and families. Our goal is to cultivate positive, identity-safe school environments that promote high levels of connection, resilience, and overall wellbeing throughout the school community.

Key Strategies

Key strategies for Safe and Caring Schools are organized into three general themes: Mental Health, Physical Health, and Wellbeing.

Mental Health

  • Provide a user-friendly way of sharing all predictable resources sequentially in one place.
  • Select and administer a universal mental health screener to identify opportunities to expand mental health Tier 1 supports for students through the universal screening process.
  • Define and offer mental health prevention and intervention services as part of a Districtwide Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) plan that incorporates elements of the School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program.
  • Evaluate and improve the School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program to better support students and align mental health services across sites.
  • Create a parent and staff mental health District webpage to provide resources for families and staff on critical mental health topics.
  • Develop an ongoing professional development plan for classified and certificated staff that supports students across the three tiers of behavioral intervention.
  • Build consistent MTSS behavior practices focused on tracking, training, and data collection to promote alignment across schools regarding strategies in supporting students with dysregulated behaviors.
  • Leverage Behavior Support Team and Behavior Intervention Coach (BIC) supports.
  • Increase access to quality mental health support within the structure of the educational environment through parent education, staff development, and student outreach.
  • Establish clear, universal crisis response protocols from the District level to the site level.

Physical Health

  • Streamline and systemitize communication regarding health services support for students.
  • Analyze attendance data to continue to provide support to students and families and identify causes of school refusal and effective interventions.
  • Create gun safety and other safety plans that involve partnering with law enforcement, the City of Palo Alto, and the local PTA, and include procedures, guidelines, and training, as well as measures to improve physical security and enforce access controls.
  • Improve full participation in school life through regular health screenings and needs assessments.
  • Provide structured, age-appropriate consent education across all grade levels to keep kids healthy and equip them with the tools necessary to self-advocate in all peer situations throughout development and adulthood.
  • Create an internship program for students to become partners on safety in partnership with the District Office & Facilities Department to implement site specific projects around safety and emergency preparedness.
  • Promote and increase the availability of fresh, whole foods in school meals through Nutrition Services and educate students on the benefits of healthy eating to encourage them to make healthy choices, both in and out of school.


  • Incorporate a staff and student working group to develop practical solutions and propose specific actions, at District and site levels, aimed at reducing academic stress and promoting student wellbeing.
  • Implement a Districtwide TK-8 Social-Emotional Education curriculum with correlated data. Establish Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum Committee to curate additional materials that will provide the opportunity for deeper engagement and connection with SEL concepts.
  • Explore and/or adopt the California Department of Education's Transformative Social and Emotional Learning (T-SEL) Framework next school year, and improve Social-Emotional Learning & Functionality (SELF) and Advisory at both high schools. Identify priority SEL standards for high school and explore alignment with SEL curriculum resources
  • The Special Education Department and each specific childcare provider will determine availability for students requiring additional support and/or services based on reasonable accommodations for after-school childcare.
  • Implement Districtwide TK-8 Social-Emotional Education curriculum with correlated data
  • Hold regular student outreach meetings and education opportunities for students, parents, and staff
  • Administer homework surveys and evaluate outcomes.
  • Calibrate grading and homework practices to reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes.
  • Foster Resilience:
    • Embrace Collaboration: Create a supportive work environment for sharing challenges and solutions, promoting teamwork and collective problem-solving.
    • Develop Adaptability: Navigate change with flexibility, openness, and creativity to thrive in various situations.
    • Celebrate Small Victories: Acknowledge and celebrate successes to foster accomplishment and motivation in the face of setbacks.
    • Foster Independence: Encourage children's independent decision-making and responsibility to build confidence and skills for navigating challenges.
    • Model Resilient Behaviors: Show healthy coping mechanisms during disappointments, highlighting perseverance and adaptability.
    • Reinforce and Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Help students view failures as learning experiences rather than personal inadequacies, for a resilient and adaptive outlook.
    • Develop Emotional Intelligence: Recognize, understand, and manage emotions during setbacks for a balanced perspective on challenges.
    • Strengthen Problem-Solving Skills: Approach challenges creatively and adaptively to thrive in diverse situations.
Key Performance Indicator to Measure Progress
  • Evaluate School Based Mental Health services, including the rate and quality of programs, through continuous improvement.
  • Evaluate homework surveys and grade calibration to reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes.
  • Administer exit surveys for students and parents to obtain feedback on service delivery and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions
  • Measure student perception of school climate, safety, and sense of belonging through the Panorama SEL survey.
  • Assess student wellbeing progress from year to year using a universal mental health screener.
  • Measure growth in physical and mental health through the bi-annual California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS).
Goal Progress

Follow the progress report to the board