SEL & Mental Health

NOTE: This document is based upon current guidelines and recommendations from the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department. It is a living document and is subject to updates as more information becomes available.

The school closures due to the pandemic have had a significant impact on the social emotional needs of students. Students were removed from the day-to-day structure of the classroom in a very swift manner, with little warning. Students were separated from their teachers, friends, and activities, which provided them with social interaction. In addition, many students have had to deal with family members who contracted Covid-19, loss of income within the family unit, and other strains related to the closure and quarantine we have experienced the last few months.  Now, more than ever, we must be ready to address these needs and ensure the well-being of our students.

The first step in addressing the social and emotional needs of students will be a pre-screening. The screener was developed by the Student Supports sub-team. This pre-screener will be administered to all parents prior to the beginning of school.  The results will then be analyzed by building administration. A student specific screening will then be administered to those students whom parents have identified as in need of more support.  Support will be provided in numerous ways. Access to social groups, individual counseling sessions, check in/out with adults, and individual charts/plans for students are just some of the ways needs will be addressed.

In addition, the District will be implementing approaches for the entire student body. Each school will implement a “mindful moment” program. A mindful moment includes a one to three minute break within the school day where students can “unplug”, or remove themselves from any work related task to re-center and re-focus themselves.  Ongoing work will continue with the collection of District-wide lessons & activities for Social Emotional Learning, which all teachers and providers have access to. Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS) will be reviewed by each school to establish norms within the various learning models. The District will also work in partnership with Putnam County agencies to provide families with the necessary referrals and contact information for home support.