Stress, anxiety, and chronic sadness increased for students in California during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this, how can schools use available mental health data to better support students? This session will address this question by discussing the newly released California Department of Education Health Indicator Report, which is available for all districts that administer the California Healthy Kids Survey. Presenters will describe several of the mental health and wellness indicators that districts can use to strengthen their support services. To highlight what this looks like in practice, staff from Paradise Unified School District will share their experiences using data to educate and support the mental health and well-being of students through the personal and collective trauma associated with the Camp Fire, which destroyed four schools and damaged several others, impacting the entire community.
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Michael Furlong, PhD is a research professor and a distinguished professor emeritus of school psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He coedited the Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools: Supporting Process and Practice (2009, 2014, 2022) and collaborates with colleagues on Project Covitality www.covitalityucsb.info, supporting schools’ efforts to foster all students’ social-emotional development.
Tom Hanson, PhD (he/him) serves as a Senior Advisor for the California Center for School Climate. Tom is a Senior Managing Director at WestEd. He has extensive experience in developing and validating survey instruments designed to measure school climate and other outcomes. He is the Director of the California School Climate, Health, & Learning Survey (CalSCHLS), a comprehensive youth risk-behavior and resilience data-collection service available to all California local education agencies. He has served as a principal investigator of multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials and has been lead methodologist for several studies examining the impacts of education interventions.
Scott Lindstrom is co-coordinator of trauma response and recovery for Butte County Office of Education (BCOE) and an advanced trainer of the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA). He currently coordinates the school-based mental health response to the Camp Fire disaster. Prior to his work with BCOE, he served 30-plus years as a school psychologist and coordinator of student support programs for the Chico Unified School District. In this role, he led the development of a sustained, multitiered support system that served students with school climate; social-emotional learning; restorative practices; positive behavioral interventions and supports; student interventions; and parent supports. For 20 years, Scott served as a trainer and consultant to the California Department of Mental Health for the Early Mental Health Initiative. In addition to his work at BCOE, he offers training and coaching for educators, parents, and mental health professionals in NHA, program development, and trauma-responsive supports.
Carrie Dawes is a 17-year Paradise Unified School District employee in Northern California. The majority of her time has been spent in administration, including as a school principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels (both comprehensive and continuation). She was the administrator for student services the morning of November 8, 2018, when the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history swept through the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. With her efforts, along with all of the PUSD teachers and staff, 3,401 students were successfully evacuated off the Ridge that morning. The trauma of that day has manifested itself in so many ways for staff, students, and families in the area. After the fire, Carrie became an administrator on special assignment to collaborate with county mental health agencies and to write grants to provide necessary services for the school community. She is honored to be a part of Paradise Unified School District’s commitment to staff and student mental wellness in the aftermath of this disaster.