As we start to look at this FY 2020 Operating Budget, can you please report on the status of a plan to expand mental health supports through more psychologists, social workers and greater access to a mental health support system for our students?

Question#: 1


In a more systematic perspective, the Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement is working with the superintendent of schools on the new Physical, Social, and Psychological framework design and implementation to address the social and emotional development and support for all students in an integrated, districtwide approach. The framework will be presented at a Board meeting in May 2019.

We recognize the need to provide all students with support and opportunities to develop appropriate social and emotional skills, learn about physical and mental health, and develop the understanding and skills to know when they are facing challenges, whether physical or emotional, and how to address these challenges or ask for help. This work cannot be done in isolation through the work of only our school-based mental health professionals, and we welcome the development of this framework and our involvement in it to think more widely and inclusively of all the stakeholders in the school system and community, including our families, in supporting our students.

Additionally, we are continuing to support districtwide events and observances, such as the Mental Health Month (October 2018).  We held a Mental Health Fair, asked schools to share information about mental health via a standard morning announcement and short mental health tips, and worked with the Public Information Office to prepare short videos and materials about mental health for distribution.

We also are in constant contact with community resources, as formal partners and as referral services, for our students and families who are in crisis or need mental health services outside of the scope of our school-based professionals.

The Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2020 Operating Budget includes an increase of $190,835 to add 3.0 psychologists (10-month) positions. With additional school psychologists and districtwide inclusive initiatives, we are working toward a more comprehensive system of support to meet the mental health needs of our students. In addition, the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2020 Operating Budget includes increases of 2.0 parent community coordinators, a 1.0 ESOL transition counselor, and 2.0 pupil personnel workers to support the social/emotional well-being of students.