Social-Emotional Learning and Mental Health
Berrien Springs Public Schools believes mental and social-emotional health is a critical and foundational piece to the success of this coming year. Although we understand the requirements stated in the roadmap are minimally stated, we wholeheartedly believe this work and intentional planning will be critical in every other part of the living-work plan. Therefore, we will elaborate on our plan to support our school community which includes students, families and community, instructional staff, support staff, administration and other school leaders.
Berrien Springs Public Schools has established a Wellness and Response Team. This team has an established purpose, process, action plan and outcomes that will be described in this Preparedness and Response Plan for returning students to school. Collaborative efforts with Berrien Springs and Berrien RESA staff, the Berrien County Health Department along with county mental health organizations will allow for this plan to be implemented with fluidity and consistency.
Given the challenging context of the Pandemic, we recommend going “back to the basics” by (a) focusing on a small number of evidence-based and culturally relevant practices, across social, emotional, behavioral, and academic domains, that have an equitable and big impact and (b) doing them well. Specifically, we recommend that educators connect, screen, support, teach, and monitor.
Screening and Referral Process To Identify and Support The School Community:
The Berrien Springs Public Schools (BSPS) will establish a comprehensive crisis management plan that leverages available internal and external/community-based resources, which can be activated efficiently as needed for situations such as the loss of a student or staff member. Once established, our Crisis Management Plan will be communicated to all stakeholders and placed on our district website, www.homeoftheshamrocks.org.
BSPS will implement a wellness screening for all students. This tool will comply with HIPAA and FERPA policies. Screening instructions (offered verbally to younger students) will provide age-appropriate and transparent disclosure of protocols in place to protect confidentiality while adhering to mandated reporting guidelines.
- Connect. Enhance relationships among educators, students, and families to promote effective communication during times of disrupted learning and the return to school. Check in with students daily and with families regularly to identify support needs as they emerge.
- Screen. Formally or informally screen to efficiently identify students who need more support.
The district will use a Screening and Referral Process Action Plan to create a format to organize the work around our screening and referral process. The most powerful informal screener during this time will be a simple Check-in process. Teachers can have students rate energy level on a scale of 1-5 and state basic emotions as to how they feel. This approach emphasizes the most powerful screener available, relationships, and what is learned in the context of relationships. Data from this basic screening is part of our Student Support System through our MTSS process and informs our implementation of SEL learning/curriculum and formative assessment (free google form).
We are currently considering the following screeners:
● Ages and Stages Questionnaire-Social Emotional (ASQ-SE ) for all pK-K students
● Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS) for all students in grades 1-12, which is a free screener.
Funds from the 31n grant could be used to support implementation and monitoring of these screening tools.
Data from selected screeners are part of our Student Support System through our MTSS process and informs our implementation of social emotional learning, curriculum and formative assessment.
A Google form will be developed and implemented to gauge the wellness of students on a frequent basis.
We believe that SEL should be an integrated component of our instructional and wellness approach as supported. Members of the Wellness Team, counselors and other key staff to be the primary contacts at each building. As a primary contact these individuals will have the responsibility for reviewing referrals, communications to families/students, and preparing/providing wellness materials. Checking in regularly with staff, families, and students helps to build relationships, shows them we care, and provides valuable information to help us understand what our stakeholders are going through. It can also provide insight into learning experiences and potential barriers that we might help remove. A check-in is a way for people to have their voices heard. “How To” Guide for Check-Ins
Protocols will be established and communicated to all staff for identification and rapid referral of
at-risk students to appropriate building-level support teams. In order to ensure that staff can identify at-risk students in a timely manner, our district will utilize support from the Berrien County Health Department, mental health agencies and the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency.
Protocols for the identification of at-risk students will be developed and shared with all staff. All staff
will understand the protocol for referring students for additional support.
- Student level protocol: Students identified as needing support will be identified in three ways: 1. Universal Screening; 2. Selective Screening; 3: A student in Crisis
- District level protocol: This will be work through the following MTSS Whole Child
The district will provide school staff with a resource that allows for personal evaluation of physical and wellness status. This information will not be required to be shared with school personnel, rather as a tool for individual staff to gauge their well-being. However, staff that may be experiencing a crisis will be encouraged to request assistance from the district. On-site wellness team members and additional resources will be provided to assist all staff.
Below are some examples of forms that can be used to check-in with families and students:
Family Check-In example - Google form that can be used to check in with families with K-12 students
Birth-5yrs Check-In example- Google form that can be used with birth-5 years old students as a check in
Elementary Check-In example- Google form that can be used with elementary students as a check in
Elementary Check-In example - Google form that can be used with elementary students as a check in using Zones of Regulation
Secondary Check-In example - Google form that can be used with secondary students as a check in
Wellness Check-In - a template with questions to be used when connecting with students and families.
- A Workplace Health Screening specific to COVID-19 will be required for staff. https://misymtomapp.state.mi.us/login Guidelines for implementation of this screening will be established by the Berrien County Health Department and Berrien Springs Public Schools. This screener will be used to log answers for staff physical health each day before coming to work. Mental health screenings will take place weekly through a survey included in the district newsletter.
- Following recommendations from the Berrien County Health Department, students will have daily health screenings.
The district will activate communication channels for school stakeholders to address wellness concerns resulting from COVID-19 . The district will have an email address that families can use to alert staff to wellness concerns of any student within the district.
- BSPS will partner with the Berrien County Health Department and our local mental health agency to promote and monitor the use of a COVID-19 emergency telephone line (1-800-815-5485).
Berrien Springs Public Schools will compile and regularly update comprehensive lists of wellness resources available to our school community that can be provided in conjunction with screening activities, and that reference school and community wellness resources. These will be placed on our website and so that everyone has quick and easy access to them.
We will provide regular communication to our school community and parents, via a variety of
channels: district website, social media channels, and our district newsletter. It is important that we provide information about the return to school transition that destigmatizes COVID-19; understanding normal behavioral response to crises; general best practices of talking through trauma with children; and positive self-care strategies that promote health and wellness.We will maintain a wellness resource page on our website.
Our Wellness Team members will create and cultivate content in collaboration with community agencies to ensure the list is comprehensive.
Here are some of the resources we use as we design our the Wellness website page:
Berrien County Health Department
Michigan Department of Education
Michigan Department of Education: Social & Emotional Learning Resources
Building Positive Conditions for Learning at Home
Return to School Mental Wellness Toolkit