WHITTIER – Whittier Union High School District has launched a Social/Emotional Collaborative to develop class lessons, tools and videos to support students, staff and parents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to ease their transition to the 2020-21 school year.
The Collaborative – consisting of Student Well-Being liaisons, 14 District counselors, school psychologists and licensed clinical social workers – has developed resources to address a plethora of issues confronting students and families: the effects of trauma on student learning, time management strategies, practicing mindfulness, the benefits of taking breaks from social media, coping strategies, and the benefits of gratitude.
These efforts enhance the comprehensive supports offered by the District’s Student Well-Being program, which provides mental health and case management services to students, as well staff development on topics like how trauma impacts students and suicide prevention.
“The coronavirus impacts us in different ways, with many suffering through job loss, grief and isolation, as well experiencing the absence of social support typically provided by teachers, staff and peers,” Director of Student Services Amy Larson said. “We are extending a lifeline of support to our Whittier Union community to let everyone know they are not alone during this health crisis and that tools are available for all who need them.”
Student Well-Being liaisons will host a virtual parent presentation, “Helping Your Teen Thrive During the Pandemic,” at 6 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish on Thursday, Sept. 10 via Zoom.
Meanwhile, the Collaborative has developed lessons and activities for teachers provide suggestions on how to check in and build relationships with students during a 100% remote learning or a blended learning model, both of which include elements of virtual learning and daily interaction. This includes a universal screener, which schools may use to determine if students require additional support through the Student Well-Being program or community partners.
Parents and teachers can benefit from informational videos about self-care, how to keep a healthy balance in life, as well as the impact that stress has one’s life. Other videos, such as how gratitude leads to happiness and the five benefits of social media breaks, are geared toward students and adults. Additionally, the collaborative created videos with progressive relaxation and mindfulness exercises that students, parents and staff can use as a tool when they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
“With the start of the school year taking place completely online, we want to make sure our students, families and staff have the tools to cope with the challenges this learning environment brings,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “I want to thank our dedicated group of social/emotional leaders for spending the summer creating these resources and providing our families and staff with what they need to succeed.”
For more information about community resources, mental health and wellness topics, visit the Student Well-Being Program website. If you have a student that may need counseling services, please click here to submit a referral.