• SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL SERVICES

    OVERVIEW

    LAUSD affirms the importance of teaching students to be both physically and mentally healthy and creating and maintaining a school environment that promotes academic achievement and helps promote a healthycommunity. LAUSDrecognizestheconnectionbetweenacademic achievement and student wellness.

    Recent research indicates that:

    n  Of the population ages 9-17,an estimated 21% experienced the signs and symptoms of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) during the course of a year, 11% experienced significant impairment, and 5% experienced extreme functional impairment.

    n  On average, only one-fourth of children in need of mental health care get the help they need.

    n  Use of mental health services for children and youth has increased sharply to $8.9 billion spent in 2006 for these services.

    n  Doctor’s offices and schools are important settings in which children’s mental disorders can be recognized and addressed.

     

    Some disparities include:

    n  Under-represented students have less access to mental health services and are less likely to receive needed care.

    n  Under-represented students in treatment often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.

     

    The role of schools:

    n  Research suggests that schools may function as the de facto mental health system for children and adolescents.

    n  Only 16 % of all children receive any mental health services. Of those receiving care 70-80% receive that care in a school setting.

    n  Eighty-three percent of schools report providing case management for students with behavioral or social problems.

    n  About 60% of the nation’s 1500 school-based health centers have mental health professionals on staff and 50-60% of all school based health center visits have mental health issues as their primary need of services.

     

    Student social-emotional wellness is thecritical building block of student overall well-being. A student’s positive perception of self and their abilityto positively interact with peers, adults and the community has a direct effect on the student’s sense ofwell-being and academic achievement. All school programs must be integrated within the context of the school environment, family, and community at large.

     

     

    MEANS USED TO PROMOTE WELLNESS

    Every school should institutionalize school-wide systems and supports that address student wellness, student achievement, social emotional character traits, positive school climate, and attendance. By implementing the following eight interdependent resiliency- and asset-building techniques, schools will create an educational system that is safe, welcoming, and supportive for all students.

    High Expectations

    All staff should believe that every student is capable of meeting the highest behavioral and academic expectations. Students must be encouraged to set their own high expectations and be confident that they can reach their goals by:

     

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    Developing a culture that all members ofthe school community will be held to high expectations and clearly communicate those expectations.

     

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    Encouragingall staff to expect that all students have the potential to be successful.

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    Treating all students as learners, providing encouragement, and expecting students to meet their fullest potential.

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    Treating staff as professionals and expecting staff to meet the highest standards for their profession.

    Social Competence and Connectedness

    Students and families must feel welcomed and included in order to be successful. Through mentoring, unconditional caring and connectedness, schools can build relationships. Schools should increase bonds between staff, students and their families by:

     

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    Creating opportunities for every student to build significantrelationships with adults on campus through positive communication and mentoring.

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    Implementing culturally and linguistically relevant strategies to promote student connectedness and cultural competence.

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    Encouraging and nurturing parents’ involvement and participation in their children’seducationthroughcollaboration, volunteerism, and membership on school councils.

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    Helping parents understand their critical role in the development of their child’s sense of value withinthe home, school, and community.

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    Teaching LAUSD Human Relations, Diversity and Equity strategies to facilitate staff’s, students’ and families’ cultural understanding.

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    Teaching students to understand that there are multiple ways to communicate and interact depending on the setting.

    Opportunities for Meaningful Participation

    Students that feel part of the school and community are more engaged in learning. Opportunities for meaningful participation foster intrinsic motivation and a sense of ownership with the school and community. Schools can create opportunities by:

     

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    Creating opportunities for all students to participate in leadership, clubs, sports, and/or other school activities.

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    Promoting service learning through flexible scheduling options, opportunities offered in the curriculum and community partnerships.

     

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    Encouraging students to contribute to the school and community through volunteerism, service learning, and teamwork.

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    Recognizing, promoting, and rewarding student contributions to the school and community.

     

    Helping Students Develop a Sense of Purpose and Future

    Students need to understand the connection between education and their future. Schools must support students in setting guided short- and long-term goals. Schools should promote sense of purpose and future by:

     

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    Encouraging an optimistic outlook for the future of all students.

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    Utilizing advisory periods for goal setting and giving examples of success through motivational speakers and alumni success stories.

     

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    Providing opportunities for students to participate in leadership, college visitations, and career and vocational planning.

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    Ensuring all secondary students have the opportunity to meet with grade-level counselors a minimum of two times per year for the purpose of academic and career planning.

     

    Clear and Consistent Boundaries

    School rules are clearly established, communicated, and consistently enforced in school policies,guiding principles as established by the Discipline Foundation Policy, staff follow through, and school- wide positive support.  Schools can establish clear and consistent boundaries by:

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    Ensuring all members of the school community have a clear understanding of school policies, guiding principles, and positive behavior supports.

     

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    Developing a partnership with staff, parents, and the community to support school rules, policies, and guiding principles.

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    Posting developmentally appropriate District, school, and classroom guiding principles throughout the campus and clearly communicate these to all stakeholders.

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    Implementing research-based Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) strategies.

     

    Teaching and Reinforcing Social-Emotional and Life Skills

    Promotethe well-being of students and the developmentof their sense of self by teaching them the necessary skillsrequiredtobesuccessful in life by:

     

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    Incorporating opportunities to build social-emotional skills within the core curriculum.

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    Helping students understand the link between physical fitness, good health practices, positive body image, and self-esteem.

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    Providing students with opportunities to practice learned skills, advocate among their peers, and have leadership opportunities in the school and community.

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    Providing professional staff development to educators and support service providers about the preventive and therapeutic benefits of 40 Developmental Assets and resiliency-based programs.

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    Teaching social-emotional skills and nonviolent conflict resolution skills.

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    Educating teachers and administrators about the impact of social-emotional challenges on academic performance and behavior.

    School-wide Screening and Early Identification of Problems

    In order to prevent the escalation of social-emotional problems, schools should have methods and procedures for screening and early identification of behavioral problems. Schools should promote early identification by:

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    Establishing a multidisciplinary team that is charged with identifying students needing support, developing intervention strategies, monitoring, implementing school and community resources, and evaluating the effectiveness of support services.

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    Helping staff become more aware of behaviors and health conditions that may require mental health or medical interventions and/or support.

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    Developing systems to assess the wellness of all students.

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    Utilizing referral systems as well as District data systems such as MiSiS and MyData Elementary and Secondary Alert Reports.

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    Conducting mental health screenings and assessments of students for classroom preferred behaviors, trauma, and/or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

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    Implementing a process for the identification of students with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity) that are known to have co-occuring social-emotional issues.

    Coordination of School and Community Resources

    Schools should establish community-based partnerships to coordinate and provide support to all students. Supports should meet the individual needs of students who are struggling with academic, attitude (behavior), and/or attendance problems by:

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    Utilizing community-based resources to supplement student support services that promote student wellness.

     

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    Assuring that support service personnel have sufficient time to communicate and collaborate in order to ensure the best use of available resources and the delivery of services.

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    Participating on local Resource Coordinating Councils.

     

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    Utilizing existing funding sources, including LCFF, to promote and expand health and mental health programs and services.

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    Collaborating with Organizational Facilitators to foster the development of community partnerships.

                                 

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    Utilizing staff development time to discuss students’ academic, social, and emotional needs across grade levels and during transitions between schools to ensure coordinated support.

     

    Comprehensive Student Support Programs

    Schools should develop programs to offer comprehensive student support that addresses student achievement, attitude (behavior), and attendance utilizing established screening and early identification processes. The Pupil Services Unit provides a variety of programs, services, and strategies to increase student attendance and implement evidence-based strategies for school dropout prevention and re-entry, including early identification of at-risk youth, intensive case management, support for transitions, enrollment in appropriate educational programs, and parent engagement. Every school shall have a formal, written, proactive Attendance and Dropout Prevention Plan E.C. 48340. The principal shall designate an Attendance and Dropout Prevention Team and convene with them at least twice a year to develop, review, and implement a school-wide Attendance and Dropout Prevention Plan consistent with the policy set forth in BUL-4926.2 Attendance Manual: Policy and Procedures for Elementary, Secondary, and Option Schools.