I’m excited to share the work of one of our 2nd-year Loyola School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) students, Ms. Tonya Hernandez, and how she’s helping lead her entire state in this COVID-19 crisis time. Tonya Hernandez, LCSW is the SSW manager for Clark County, the 5th largest district in the country that includes Las Vegas. She was tasked by her bosses last week in coming up with the telehealth and service plan for all the SSW in the county, and given basically 72 hours to do it (!!). Using her moxie and the tools from our Loyola SMHAPP program (as well as the stuff we’ve been writing and posting at our SSWN site, and her peer community support network in the SMHAPP of SSW from 8 states around the country), she was able to create a telehealth and service plan that was not only fully approved by her district, but is now approved by the state board of ed to be adopted and implemented across the entire state of Nevada. Way to go Tonya!
Interns may find it difficult to know exactly where to jump in and contribute in an appropriate manner. The difficulty lies in knowing where to begin with the vast amount of tasks to accomplish; even in the first month of school. It is not like the crises, IEPs, and school life halts for interns and supervisors to catch their breath; which is why starting an internship can feel awkward and stagnate. So where and how do we begin? How do we improve the internship process?
Another great LiveChat thanks to Krista Sodt and the other SSW who joined in. Check it out and join us on future Saturdays for more practice wisdom from our SSWNetwork colleagues. Check out Krista’s article for SSWN introducing her week of hosting on our sister social media site SSWNetwork, “Forming a Magical Implementation Team” and check the network for updates on our regular Saturday morning LiveChats, 9-10 a.m. central time. As Krista says later in the chat that follows, “Honestly, it’s walking through the project steps from what we learned at SMHAPP that has made this possible…Previously I would have had a good idea, but been lacking many of the implementation skills that make a change project possible.”
Ice Breakers are a great tool for social workers to use when developing rapport with students. These activities can be used in either individual sessions or for groups. Ice Breakers are used in a variety of settings and can be changed to fit the context they’re being used in. Using these activities during the pre-affiliation stages of therapy, there’s more of a likelihood that students will loosen up, build rapport, and show up more authentically in sessions.
But now to the main event: here is the transcript of another great LiveChat we had over at our sister site SSWNetwork, led this time by Loyola SMHAPP students Kenya Butts and Patrick Wolf with lots of great input from an expert on SSW and restorative practices from Turkey, Professor Ozan Selcuk.
The changing role of the school mental health (SMH) clinician is an urgent issue, as we see increased mental health needs in our schools, and a need for more prevention work to get to kids earlier–still, SMH clinicians tell us that they are overwhelmed and struggle to implement EBP and work effectively within a 3-tier MTSS prevention framework. For the past 4 years, in collaboration with the expert educational trainers at Midwest PBIS, we’ve been focusing on identifying some of the key barriers to why so many school clinicians struggle, and what things they might need to become the Clinician Leaders they want to be for their schools. This is the first of our 4 articles sharing what we’ve learned and how we are helping build clinician leaders.
As a school psychologist and a 2nd year student in the School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program at Loyola, I am in the midst of a school change project in my small rural school district. The project I’m steeped in is to build teacher capacity to implement a tier I social and emotional curriculum in our 4 year old kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms. Professional development and on-going training is a big part of the success of this project. As we train our staff to teach the SEL curriculum to our students, we can’t neglect to acknowledge that to teach SEL to students, we as adults must be competent in our own social and emotional awareness and abilities. If we engage our staff in ongoing adult social and emotional learning, we will hopefully foster a supportive environment not only for students, but for staff as well.
Does Restorative Justice (RJ) work? Or better yet, to the extent that RJ does work in K-12 schools, how would we even know? Is it because the program that is offered at our professional development day claims to be “evidence-based,” or because we know that it is? And even more directly, how would we figure out if something is evidence-based, and where would we start in looking for that evidence? These are the questions I asked the 4th cohort of the Loyola School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) students. As part of the “EBP in School Mental Health”hey were asked to examine these questions around RJ and school violence prevention programs, and to create a Research Brief (RB) that described the evidence for a study that looked at RJ. Several of the students also wrote short descriptions of what they found, why they chose that specific article, and what they learned from the SMHAPP EBP class. What follows are their RBs, and some selected references from the articles they drew from.