Student Services Week! February 5–9, 2018

Special note: Images provided by Thinkstock and Getty Images.

Celebrating Day 5 of Student Services Week!

We hope you are enjoying these Stories From the Field. Today we are featuring stores from Volusia, Hernando, and Palm Beach County Schools.

Included is a special note from Dr. George Batsche, Director, Student Support Services Project.

Stories From the Field...

Volusia County Public Schools

The Volusia County Schools (VCS) Student Services Department has hosted a variety of student, parent, staff, and community events this Fall, with more being planned!

  • FACT Fairs – These four yearly events are designed to share information related to Student Services with families and communities, and are led by Student Services personnel.
  • Conferences – The FASSW Annual Conference was held in Daytona Beach on October 16, 2017, AND the FASP Annual Conference was also held in Daytona Beach on November 9, 2017! Dianne Martin-Morgan, VCS School Social Worker Coordinator, and Troy Radford, VCS School Psychologist Coordinator, coordinated these two events which provided participants from around the state with an interactive approach to learning within a SEL Framework. Entertainment was provided by VCS students.
  • Chronic Absenteeism – VCS is continuing to focus on reducing chronic absenteeism across the district. One strategy being employed are “nudge letters,” which are mailed to parents of students who have been identified as being chronically absent. These letters compare each child’s attendance with that of their peers (age, grade level, school, and district-wide). This is a collaborative effort among the entire Student Services staff.

High School Showcase – This event was held December 14, 2017, at the Volusia County Fairgrounds and showcased programs and career academies available at each VCS high school.

Stories From the Field... Hernando County Schools

Submitted by: Jill Kolasa, Supervisor of Student Services, Exceptional Student Support Services

Our Student Support Services staff do a wonderful job everyday but in the last week our department has pulled together to support one of our high schools that has lost two students in less than a week in two unrelated incidents. When we received the first call our social worker team united with school psychologists and substance abuse counselors to come together to support this school, the students, and staff.

This support allowed the school to handle other issues and to run effectively. The Student Support Services staff supports our schools on a regular basis so that our school administrators know they can count on them for support and to be there when needed.

This speaks to the relationships our staff has built with their schools and in time of crisis our schools know they can lean on the support staff.

Stories continued...Palm Beach County Schools

Standing left to right, keynote speakers Clarissa DeWitt, Dr. Loren Berry, and Coordinator, Michael Kane

A collaborative effort supporting student mental health and wellness continues to grow in the School District of Palm Beach County. Led by the School Counseling Team/Student Services Equity and Access, the Annual Student Mental Health and Wellness Conference is a full-day professional development event designed and implemented by a cross-silo group of professionals, including School Counseling, School Psychology, Safe Schools (MTSS), and the United Way of PBC.

Student Mental Health and Wellness Conference presentation

The Student Mental Health and Wellness Conference aimed at providing attendees with valuable information on:

  • Social/emotional learning
  • Mental health and wellness
  • Aligning behavioral and social/emotional services to meet the needs of students
  • District and community resources

The District believes that student mental health and wellness is important. Students and their families, who are supported by a comprehensive approach that includes core and responsive services, are less likely to experience behavioral difficulties, to be truant, and are more likely to succeed academically.

Conference evaluation

Last year’s conference was a huge success! The training included 283 school counselors, school psychologists, classroom teachers, school and district administrators, school nurses, and community partners. Attendees learned through 30 professional development break-out sessions, toured the community agency resource fair, and created connections in the Mix It Up! lunch. At the end of the day, they left with the resource book, Helping Children Succeed, by Paul Tough to help them continue their leaning. Participants gave the learning experience a 100 percent positive rating for program sessions, quality of content, and overall conference relevance. More can be found at https://sites.google.com/palmbeachschools.org/smhaw4/home.

A special Note...

Student services personnel are critical to the success of all students in Florida schools. The work of nurses, school psychologists, counselors and social workers improves directly the level of engagement that students bring to the classroom in order to maximize the benefits of excellent instruction delivered by teachers. They do this through improving student physical, mental, social emotional, and behavioral health as well as increasing the role of parents as partners in their children’s schooling.

A student’s “readiness” to engage effective instruction, develop leadership and interpersonal skills, wellness and self-advocacy are all supported by the work of student services personnel. This level of student “readiness” to engage the school classroom and school environment is a significant predictor of student success.

Student services personnel work as partners with teachers, parents and caregivers, administrators and other educators to ensure that students contribute to the development of a positive school climate and that the school climate contributes to the development of skills critical to student success. Contemporary research has identified clearly that the services provided by student services personnel are critical to positive academic outcomes and post-secondary success. Effective schooling and positive student outcomes require educators to work as partners ensure student success. Thank you for taking the time this week to support the work of student services personnel and to celebrate our collective mission to ensure success for ALL students in Florida’s schools.

Dr. George Batsche, Director, Student Support Services Project

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If you missed yesterday's Stories From the Field visit Day 4 for viewing.

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