Social-Emotional Wellness Supports
Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program
The social and emotional wellbeing of our students and staff at Eastchester schools is essential for student success. Cultivating and deepening relationships, providing support, and developing social emotional skills are at the forefront of the district-wide and building-level comprehensive school counseling program.
The district has an established Counseling Program Advisory Council. The purpose of the council is to provide feedback on program goals, review program results, participate in making recommendations to enhance the comprehensive plan, and serve as advocates for the program. The council meets no less than twice a year to review the comprehensive plan and advises on the implementation of the school counseling program. Members of the council can be found here.
Mental Health Re-Entry Team
The Eastchester School convened a Mental Health Committee composed of teachers, psychologists, administrators, principals, and school counselors to collaborate and propose professional development and resources to students, staff, and families. Some of the needs that were identified included, fear of returning to school, transition back to school (students out of “synch”), school refusal, and concerns around contracting the virus.
In order to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships and supporting students with the transition back to school as a fundamental approach to social emotional learning.
Eastchester Schools will utilize a Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS), an evidence-based approach to comprehensive program delivery, to ensure that each student, based upon their unique needs, receives the level and type of support necessary to be successful.
- Proactive activities for all students (Tier 1),
- Targeted activities for students identified at-risk (Tier 2)
- Intensive activities for students identified at high risk (Tier 3)
Instructional Support Team or Team meetings will be utilized at each building to identify students who would benefit from targeted or intensive interventions. Screening tools and referral forms will be available to identify students who are at risk and may require additional supports or interventions.
The Eastchester Schools participates with the Putnam Northern Boces, Administrative Regional Crisis Team (ARCT) and the Regional Crisis Team (RCT). These teams consist of school counselors, school psychologists, and administrators districtwide. The ARCT and RCT teams’ purpose is to share best practices in the areas of crisis prevention, intervention and response, as well as, to expand available support to the Eastchester District and the region during a crisis.
The Eastchester Schools has implemented Dialectical Behavioral Training (DBT) throughout the K-12 schools which has provided students and staff the opportunity to learn about mindfulness, stress tolerance, and emotional management. Elementary students will continue to be provided lessons using the Second Steps Curriculum, which will be aligned with the DBT program and the CASEL Core Competencies, to better address student mental health in the fall. Push in and pull out lessons throughout the school buildings will continue to focus on relevant issues related to the current school climate and help students take a more active role in their own social-emotional growth.
In consultation with a representative from each school building, strategies for re-entry will include surveys (staff, students, families) prior to the start of the school year to identify the most current concerns. Workshops for families and staff will be developed prior to the school year and provide social emotional support and ways to address stress and anxiety. The Eastchester Schools Medical Director has been an integral part of the re-entry process, she will also be available to provide workshops to staff and students prior to the school year and to answer any questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus and the return to school.
The district will continue to use existing communication channels including newsletters and the district and building websites to provide resources for students, staff, faculty, and families that will be updated regularly. The District Wellness Committee will be reinstituted to provide faculty driven wellness activities to support the mental and physical wellbeing of our faculty and staff. Community resources can be accessed here.