Social Emotional Well-Being
To address the social-emotional needs of students, staff, and families during the 2020-2021 school year, the guidance provided by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) on “Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools” includes the following requirements:
- Ensure that a district-wide and building-level comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan, developed under the direction of certified school counselor(s), is reviewed and updated to meet current needs.
- Establish an advisory council, shared decision-making, school climate team, or other collaborative working group comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and/or district/charter leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers including school social workers and/or school psychologists to inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan.
- Address how the school/district will provide resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs.
- Address professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide supports for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the current state of our nation regarding civic unrest in response to structural racism, the return to school this year will be unlike any other in our history. This moment will call on all members of our school community to deepen our social and emotional competencies and create equitable learning environments where all students and adults can process, heal, and thrive.
To rebuild thriving schools, we need to prioritize safe, supportive, culturally sustaining, and equitable learning environments that promote the social and emotional competencies of both students and adults. This requires centering our transition plans and processes in relationship-building and authentic partnerships that honor the voices and experiences of all members of the school community.
Plan for Reopening:
A strong set of universal interventions designed to support social emotional well-being will be crucial to our collective success as students and adults return to instruction and the school environment with increased needs. The supports represented in the universal tier are foundational to secondary and tertiary supports.
MTSS - Tier One Supports for Social-Emotional Well-Being:
- Counseling Plan - The District’s current counseling plan will continue to be monitored and updated to reflect the change from face-to-face delivery to a distance or hybrid delivery, should that be necessary. The counseling plan will also be edited to include input from a variety of sources including family and community sources.
- Universal screening (Parent Referral) to identify social-emotional needs of students.
- Parents and students will be surveyed regularly.
- Screening Development Resource
- National Association of School Psychologists. (2020). Returning to School Following COVID-19 Related School Closures: The COVID-19 School Adjustment Risk Matrix (C-SARM) [handout]. Author.
- Universal screening to identify social-emotional needs of adults - survey regularly
- Administrators continue to monitor and provide platforms for staff to check-in (Zoom meetings/email). Staff mental health and care is important to ensure their ability to support students. Staff Wellness Check-in
- Possibly set up a staff buddy system to be sure that each staff member has a colleague to discuss challenges with – be sure to include all staff (admin, teachers, food service, transportation, maintenance, etc...)
- Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Resources
- Community Resources from Midlakes Home Page
- Prioritize community-building activities for staff
- Implement training from Trauma, Illness, Greif (TIG) Consortium – trauma sensitive language
- Continue to be vigilant with confidentiality practices, especially with situations related to Covid-19
- Town Hall Meetings to disseminate information to families, students, and staff
- Community-building circles (students and staff) * Be sure that students feel heard prior to reopening (perhaps a modified version of a town hall meeting for students or a virtual circle)
- Family support opportunities should be considered. Perhaps optional open zoom sessions targeted to discussions surrounding wellbeing
- Community offering for families (presentation and Q&A with Admin and PSO staff). Continue to share resources with families.
- How Parents Can Support Children Through Their Worries
- Building Positive Conditions for Learning at Home
- Single Parenting During the Coronavirus Crisis
- Professional Development Resources:
- Self-Care & Stress Management
- Trainings offered to staff on self-care and supporting students as they transition back to school (Whether Full or a staggered re-entry).
- Guidance for Managing Stress and Anxiety
- Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Time of Coronavirus
- Self-Care During Covid-19
- Helping Children Cope with Changes Due to Covid-19
- Quick Reference Sheet – Supporting Children’s Mental Health Tips for Parents and Educators
- Self-Care & Stress Management
- Trauma-Informed Practices
- Culturally Responsive Practices & Equity
- Social Emotional Learning Resources
- Restorative Practices
- Data for continuous improvement
- August 11th tentative date for working on plan with Building Improvement Teams K-12, entire plan needs to be rolled out throughout the year with emphasis on frontloading the components that are aligned to reopening plan/needs
- Middle School piloting FastBridge assessments this year which includes an SEL screener.
- Restorative Resources, Educator Toolkit
- Character Strong K-12 SEL Curriculum
- Character Strong Curriculum
- Multiple staff participants in virtual Character Strong training opportunities
- Character Strong - October 28th Conference Day with teachers
- PSO staff at elementary have already begun planning a scope & sequence of lessons for reentry in September then embedding Character Strong throughout the year with Anna Corrente pushing-in to co-facilitate lessons with each class at least once per month and providing teachers with the lesson materials for follow up lessons the rest of the month (SEL block in the schedule once every 4 day cycle for each class) -
- Ali Hearn as keynote on September 8th and is willing to provide follow up PD to our Admin Team virtually throughout the year
- Consider establishing year-long homerooms or advisory periods that create opportunities for students to check-in before engaging in the instructional day.
Opening Week Goals for Re-Entry:
- Week #1: Establish connections and re-establish routines
- Week #2: Support students in understanding emotions and strategies for coping
- Week #3: How we support each other/Citizenship/Community building (update to school version once available)
- Week #4: Goal-setting/Self-monitoring
Our SEL plan also includes a process to help identify and provide supports to students or staff perhaps at higher risk for significant stress or trauma from COVID-19. This will involve conducting psychological triage to determine who needs crisis intervention support through a review of data about students and staff that they received during the closure. Data will include those experiencing death or loss of someone close to them; those with significant disruption to lifestyle such as food insecurity, financial insecurity; those with a history of trauma and chronic stress or other pre-existing mental health problems; and those with exposure to abuse or neglect.
MTSS - Tier Two & Tier Three Supports for Social-Emotional Well-Being:
- Weekly PSO meetings to review student referrals from parents, staff, and from engagement/attendance tracking data
- Continue to utilize Sharepoint to track referral and assign PSO staff based on assigned intervention and caseloads to give parents and staff a consistent point-of-contact for that student
- Utilize these PSO meetings to also review monthly tier 1 pre-/post-assessments on CharacterStrong/quarterly climate surveys to identify areas for targeted Tier 2 groups
- If possible, identify students who may have heightened anxiety around re-entry prior to the start of school via the parent survey and other parent communication
- Ensure students have a counselor/mentor that (is able) to provide support on the date of return or prior to facilitate a smooth transition.
- Continue IEP/Building Individual or Group counseling. Counseling team is developing curriculum for students that targets needs related to re-entry (calming strategies, relationship building, organizational strategies) for our most at-risk students.
- PSO staff push-in for follow-up classroom and/or Zoom lessons for subgroups/classes where additional needs are present
- Social workers and counselors participate in home visits when necessary while maintaining social distance when needed.
- TIG teams will continue to review guidelines to be prepared for significant losses in our community including:
- Steps when notified of student’s loss of family member:
- Notify student’s counselor or assign counselor if student doesn’t already have a relationship with a PSO member and ensure building leadership is aware of the loss.
- Assigned family point-of-contact reaches out directly to student/family.
- Counselor can choose to review this My School Plan document with student/family.
- Based on conversation with student/family, update PSO and leadership team, and notify staff working directly with student. Utilize resources such as 12 tips document.
- Counselor maintains regular check-ins with student until a fading seems appropriate.
- Steps in the event of a staff member or student’s significant hospitalization or death:
- Building leadership team and PSO meet to review information and develop a plan.
- Assess building needs among staff and students.
- A PSO staff member is identified to coordinate support efforts based on students most directly impacted and PSO member’s own level of grief.
- A plan is developed to meet with students who directly worked with that staff member or was in that student’s cohort, participated in teams/club directly with student (potentially online until re-entry is established).
- A release is sent to community through the Superintendent and Public Information Officer. Contact information would be shared for the larger school community of grief support resources available through school for any student that would like to check-in (virtually until back in session).
- Building staff could be sent tips for supporting students through during times of grief document and also be able to check-in with PSO/admin staff as well.
- Establish a PSO staffed location or online forum (if not back in session-information shared in release) for students to access throughout the next couple of days to check-in. Complete a notes section when check-ins are conducted and keep a log of students requiring a follow-up.
- Supporting Grieving Students in Schools
- Steps when notified of student’s loss of family member:
Additional resources influencing our re-entry planning: