• One of the areas of school district focus and priority the past few years has been increasing our levels of student support and resources to assist with the social and emotional needs of our students.  The need to expand beyond the traditional guidance counseling program to address the social and emotional needs of students became apparent and the school district has responded with additional staffing and curriculum in this area.  The school district first added a school resources officer in the 2014-2015 school year (currently 2) and followed with school nurses (2) and social workers (2) in 2019-2020.  During that same timeframe, the school district added to its guidance counseling department by increasing to two full-time guidance counselors at the high school (grades 9-12) and one full-time guidance counselor at the middle school and both elementary buildings.  The school district has also completed its goal of one assistant principal per educational building to start the 2021-2022 school year to support student needs, school climate, and lead the resource teams in each building. 

    What is now known as the school district “resource team” is comprised of school resources officers, school nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, registered behavior technician, and assistant principals.  This team meets regularly at each building level and has provided the school district capacity to address student behavior and mental health issues at a higher level and promote improved collaboration with families and community resources to address individual student needs in regards to social and emotional health.  The school board received reports from the building level resource teams the past two months to review data and outcomes of the work done to help meet the needs of our students as well as overall school climate goals.  The resource teams provide extensive capacity to address issues and promote overall positive school climate, mental health, attendance, and overall student well-being.  The resource team can also coordinate for services outside the school district, which may include professional counseling and other external supports and resources as needed. 

    The school district offers social and emotional curriculum through a variety of methods K-12 as well as other programs such as COPE through our social workers to help students deal with their challenges and learn methods of coping with them in a positive way.  The school district has options for additional counseling through telehealth providers if the students and families are willing to participate in these programs.  Teachers in our school district are participating in a mental health first aid program to help identify the signs of students in need and to ensure students are referred for additional services if needed.  Students have access to anonymous methods to report any situations to a school official so it can be addressed by our administration or resource team.  The school district has recently adopted a new system for students to report conflicts with other students; the STOPit program will be available to students at all levels later this month.  While negative student interactions are a regular issue in all buildings; actual reported incidences of bullying, that meet the definition of bullying and a repeated powerless victim, are not common in any school building of our school district.  However, we continue to work vigilantly to ensure all students feel safe and ready to learn each day and address any negative interactions and relationships with students. 

    The increasing challenge each year certainly rests with the 24/7 environment of social media as many of the incidences that come into the school buildings happen outside our buildings and school day.  However, we still attempt to help students and families with these issues whenever possible.  The school district has security and access to all school issued devices to ensure students are using them appropriately, however, personal devices and those used outside of school hours will require collaboration with parents and families at a high level.  We are often unaware of situations happening outside of school and we encourage parents to let us know of any situations of which we can provide some assistance.  If we work together, we can attempt to ensure all our students feel safe and supported in our buildings and better monitor their social and emotional needs daily. 

    We take any situations involving student safety and well-being very seriously and do our best to address situations as they arise; we may not receive communication that allows us to intervene and help students on a timely basis.  Please encourage your student to reach out to someone in their building for help and parents please share concerns as they arise. 

    Please be on the lookout for additional resources and opportunities for further discussion on these topics in the near future.  We look forward to working with you on the many challenges facing our youth today and helping them make good decisions and develop the essential skills to be productive individuals and citizens in the future.