WHITTIER – Whittier Union High School District students are receiving expanded Social Emotional Learning (SEL) services during the 2022-23 school year, an initiative that aligns with Whittier Union’s commitment to supporting the development and well-being of students.
Guided by the District’s multi-tiered SEL Pyramid, Whittier Union aims to have services available for all students, whether they need someone to talk to or need crisis intervention and referral services. Students are supported by an SEL Collaborative of student well-being liaisons, student well-being interns, counselors, psychologists and school social workers.
“For students who have identified mental health needs, we have the ability to address those needs in different ways,” Director of Student Support Services Amy Larson said. “This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people want someone to talk to, others just need a space where they can relax.”
Every Whittier Union school has one full-time social worker on staff to assist with the day-to-day concerns of students. At the District office, two full-time social workers are available to work with students who have more pressing social emotional needs and offer a lifeline of support to keep them in school.
Whittier Union is committed to ensuring all students have access to a safe and nurturing school environment. Calming rooms with comfortable furniture and amenities have been created at every school, providing students a safe space where they can ease their stress and anxiety. Additionally, each school has dedicated times for students to connect with support staff and faculty, during which they can relax, chat with their teachers, enjoy a meal together, play games or speak one-on-one with counselors.
Student surveys – conducted through a partnership with Panorama Education – identify areas of concern that can be addressed at the school site level, as well as identify which students are in need of supportive relationships with caring adults.
Monthly parent Zoom workshops have increased in popularity since the onset of the pandemic, with some topics chosen by the parents themselves. The workshops – facilitated by the student well-being liaisons, as well as school social workers and community partners – have touched on subjects such as stress management, grief and loss, supporting LGBTQ+ youth and the emotional impact of social media on teens.
To learn more about Whittier Union’s Student Well-being Program, visit their website.
“Whittier Union High School District is committed to fostering the growth of each of our students and that begins with a focus on their health and well-being,” Superintendent Dr. Monica Oviedo said. “Our Social Emotional Learning services continually adapt as we learn more about what our students need and how to better serve them. We want all of our students to feel supported and strive to continue to provide the tools and resources they need to succeed in their academic and personal pursuits.”
WUHSD_SEL_1: Whittier Union High School District’s calming rooms provide a safe space where students can go to ease their stress and anxiety.