Dear Springfield Public Schools Community,
I hope you are enjoying the Spring weather! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the purpose of this letter is to share updates about our work across our schools, and information regarding upcoming events.
Throughout this year, we have shifted resources and utilized our federal funding to provide additional levels of support for students’ mental health. There is no question that our students, like many across the nation (see Surgeon General’s December Update), have been affected by a wide variety of issues impacting mental health.
As a district, we continue to be committed to providing both academic and social emotional support in the school environment. As we noted in the beginning of the school year, we expanded our relationship with the Rutgers School-Based Mental Health Program, providing a full time social-worker to support individual students and provide group counseling opportunities. In addition, this year, our guidance counselors received training on restorative practices related to student behavior and counseling, and we are planning to continue this training throughout the 2022-2023 school year.
Across the schools, a wide variety of supports continue to be offered, from the school counselors, the district psychologists and social workers. At FMG, Connie Palmer, LCSW, visited individual homerooms to provide smaller group presentations. In late March, FMG and JDHS began to pilot a tool (EiPulse) allowing students to provide a weekly check-in, providing staff and leaders with the ability to track and respond to how students are feeling in the school environment.
Equally important, we are working to provide families with support. Throughout the year, we have shared a variety of workshops, and we encourage families to continue to check our Parent Series page, as more events will be offered. Our website includes virtual social-emotional resources that may also be of help. Tonight, I hope you will join me as Connie Palmer, LCSW, provides an in-person workshop “Social Emotional Learning: A Post-Pandemic Toolbox for Parents”. It starts at 6:30 pm in the JDHS media center, and as a parent and educator, I’m looking forward to continue learning.
Finally, it is important to recognize that these challenges may appear as bullying behaviors, which are required to be addressed through the district HIB (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) policy and process. Information regarding this process can be found on our website, and a variety of resources (at the bottom of the webpage) provide information related to how HIB cases are handled and resources for families in responding to HIB incidents.
In Springfield, our vision is to cultivate compassionate and extraordinary learners, and this means paying attention to our students’ academic and social-emotional needs. We will continue to work toward this vision, and recognize that our community is a critical partner in our work.
If you have any questions about these programs or the resources we have available, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal or child’s guidance counselor.
Thank you for ongoing support of our schools and students.