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COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND VIOLENCE OCTOBER 18, 2011 How we are Addressing the Needs of our Students Now and in the Future.

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Presentation on theme: "COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND VIOLENCE OCTOBER 18, 2011 How we are Addressing the Needs of our Students Now and in the Future."— Presentation transcript:

1 COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND VIOLENCE OCTOBER 18, 2011 How we are Addressing the Needs of our Students Now and in the Future

2 Initiatives and Direction Partnership with Reading Police Department Updated Safety Plans and Coordinated Drills Revised Search and Seizure Policy Breathalyzers at School Events Engaged Community in Race to Nowhere Increased Social Emotional Curriculum in Schools Open Circle (K-5) Second Step and World of Difference (6-8) Cyberbullying and World of Difference (9-12)

3 Initiatives and Direction Review and Analyze Youth Risk Behavior Survey data Implemented Grade 9 Advisory at RMHS Hired Behavioral Health Coordinator Piloting Restructured School Psychologist Role Developed the Behavioral Health Task Force

4 FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Affords parents and students (when they turn 18) certain rights with respect to the students education records. Student education records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the parent or the student if they are over 18 years of age. Student discipline is considered an educational record under FERPA Some information (called "Directory Information") can be released without the parent's written permission. However, the parent may opt to consider this information confidential as well. Examples include A playbill, showing a students role in a drama production The annual yearbook Honor roll or other recognition lists Graduation programs Sports activity sheets and rosters A school department employee only has access to student record information for legitimate educational need only.

5 Behavioral Health

6 What is Behavioral Health? The social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of all students, including but not limited to students with mental health needs. Behavioral health concerns both the reduction of problem behaviors, and the optimization of positive and productive functioning.

7 Behavioral Health is Important Too many students with behavioral health challenges are doing poorly in school. Some are missing school, failing tests, falling behind, and eventually dropping out. Others experience punitive responses and are suspended or expelled in record numbers. Research tells us that behavioral health is intricately connected to academic, social, and emotional success at school. Yet, the needs of students with behavioral health challenges have only recently gained state and national attention. Massachusetts DESE Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework, 2009

8 Key Findings of Improved Behavioral Health in Schools Improved academic achievement: Students in SEL programming experienced significantly greater academic achievement than students who do not receive SEL. Improved school attitudes and behaviors: SEL instilled greater motivation to learn, a deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, better classroom behavior, and improved attendance and graduation rates. Fewer negative behaviors: Among students receiving SEL instruction, disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals decreased significantly. Reduced emotional distress: Reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, or social withdrawal significantly decreased among students receiving SEL instruction. Source: Durlak, J.A. Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, B.D., & Schellinger, K.B. The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta- analysis of school-based universal interventions (2010).

9 Purpose of Behavioral Health Task Force Continuation of Race to Nowhere discussions To assess the current behavioral health of our district using the Behavioral Health Framework and Assessment tool (DESE, 2009) Leadership Professional Development Access to Resources and Services Academic and Non-Academic Services Policies and Protocols Collaboration with Families and Community To provide a list of recommendations that will be used as a starting point for discussions with the community

10 Behavioral Health Task Force 26 Teachers, Parents, Administrators, Community All Schools Represented Met 5 Times During Summer

11 Behavioral Health and Assessment Tool Categories Leadership by school and district administrators to create supportive school environments and promote collaborative services in the interest of students' behavioral health. Professional development for school administrators, educators, and behavioral health providers on topic areas needed to enhance schools capacity to improve students behavioral health. Access to resources and services through the identification, coordination, and creation of school and community behavioral health services that improve the school-wide environment.

12 Behavioral Health and Assessment Tool Categories Academic and non-academic approaches that enable all children to learn, including those with behavioral health needs, and that promote success in school. Policies and protocols that provide a foundation for schools to implement and support work that promotes behavioral health. Collaboration with families in order to increase schools capacity to improve students behavioral health.

13 Some Guiding Principles Behavioral health refers to the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of all students, including but not limited to students with mental health needs. Behavioral health concerns both the reduction of problem behaviors, and the optimization of positive and productive functioning.

14 Some Guiding Principles Students behavioral health has a major impact on learning. If behavioral health needs are neglected, schools will contend with emotional and behavioral issues reactively and ineffectively, with a reduction of resources available to promote educational goals.

15 Some Guiding Principles A positive and supportive school environment reduces the prevalence of challenging, dangerous, and disrespectful behaviors; resulting in better student attendance, attention, motivation, and consequently, better educational outcomes.

16 Some Guiding Principles Behavioral health needs are best addressed when a school, and/or school district, convenes a support services, or behavioral health, team to assess the behavioral health needs of the school community, and to plan, coordinate, and evaluate programs and services. For efficiency and to minimize redundancy, schools use existing, well functioning teams with coinciding goals for this purpose.

17 Some Guiding Principles Schools provide an array of behavioral health services and programs throughout the continuum of student needs, including: (1) prevention and promotion for all students, (2) early intervention for at-risk students, (3), intensive intervention for students with serious needs, and (4) crisis intervention for students with acute needs.

18 Some Guiding Principles The school curriculum systematically addresses behavioral health needs that help prepare students for lifelong success in the workplace, in the community, and in personal relationships. This includes instruction in areas such as social problem solving, life skills, social-emotional development, interpersonal communication, self-regulation, and violence prevention.

19 Some Guiding Principles Families are essential partners in schools efforts to support behavioral health needs. Parent input helps identify and prioritize needs of the school community. Parents are included to the greatest extent possible in the planning and evaluation of programs and services.

20 Some Guiding Principles School districts offer continuing education for all school personnel on behavioral health issues to help them (1) interact sensitively, respectfully, and supportively with students and families, (2) identify students at risk for behavioral health needs, (3) help support and deliver behavioral health services.


22 Leadership As a community, use the theme of supporting the behavioral health of the whole child as an overarching goal for all areas. Revise the mission, vision, and district wide goals of the Reading Public Schools to include and emphasize the behavioral health of all students in all areas.

23 Professional Development Align professional development with the district and school wide behavioral health goals. Use our school based and community experts and resources to provide training, where appropriate. Staff training needs to focus on the identification and understanding of the social and emotional development of students. Develop a robust data system that allows staff to easily access pertinent student data in a confidential manner, particularly during transition years. Include other community organizations (youth sports, Reading Recreation, RCASA, and church youth groups) and parents as participants in professional development opportunities.

24 Access to Resources and Services Provide a fully integrated behavioral health model so that all students have access to services when needed. Develop and implement a plan to increase building based clinical staff to improve access for all students, families, and staff. As part of this plan, examine current caseloads and restructure the roles of our mental health and other student service staff in order to provide equitable distribution of behavioral health resources throughout the school district. Improve reentry plans for students at all levels who have been out of school for a period of time. (i.e. hospitalization, family death, illness)

25 Access to Resources and Services Develop and distribute a district-wide set of protocols for all staff to identify students in need of behavioral health support. Address student privacy and confidentiality issues by developing a clear set of protocols. This protocol should include how to access resources and crisis support. Develop support for our mental health providers. Review other school districts to see how they address this critical need.

26 Academic and Non-Academic Services Provide a social emotional curriculum as part of every students schedule in grades PreK-12. This includes, but is not limited to Open Circle (Grades K-5), Second Step (6-8), Advisory (Currently in Grade 9) and Wellness (9- 12). Examine course offerings at all levels to integrate strategies and practices addressing the needs of the whole child. Expand high school elective programs to offer more engaging and relevant courses, including Health and Wellness choices.

27 Academic and Non-Academic Services Educate high school parents and students about making realistic choices for course offerings that provide balance in their lives, while preparing for post secondary options. As part of this discussion, develop guidelines on the number of AP courses a student may take in a semester. Develop and implement a set of guidelines at each level about homework. These guidelines should include the purpose of homework, estimated duration, support for students who do not complete their homework, and other factors.

28 School Policies, Procedures, and Protocols Revise the release of information form so it is consistent across the district and allows clarity of who has access to student information. Develop, publish, and communicate an effective protocol for release of information. Develop a common protocol, which informs and supports appropriate personnel in regard to behavioral health issues during the current school year. Provide a mechanism to allow sharing of information in regard to student issues across levels in a timely manner for transition purposes.

29 School Policies, Procedures, and Protocols Review all policies, procedures, and protocols regarding the behavioral health of students in all areas. Develop a set of protocols and procedures for early identification of student needs, regardless of age. Assess existing discipline policies and procedures at each level, including developing alternatives to suspensions. Focus on student at-risk data such as tardiness and absences to identify patterns and address the issue.

30 Collaboration with Families and Communities Conduct training and provide resources on a variety of topics including behavioral health issues in children, understanding student reports, and how to use Edline. Review student grading and investigate the possibility of adding comments that describe the social emotional development of students.

31 Collaboration with Families and Communities Hold a World Café discussion around topics that impact behavioral health issues (i.e. sports, extra-curricular activities, pressures of participating) and include community input and involvement in the recommendations. Brainstorm a Community Campaign to promote behavioral health once recommendations have been established.

32 Future Steps Engage Community Discussion on Recommendations Possible Resource Recommendations Health Education (6-12) Counseling Services (PreK-12) Substance Abuse Programs for Athletics and Extracurricular Review all policies, procedures, and programs regarding behavioral health and student safety Prescription Medication Athlete and Extracurricular Eligibility for Chemical Health Safety Drills Upcoming Events Dr. Robert Macy (November 2 nd ) Dr. David Walsh (April 12 th )

33 Questions and Comments

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