We are re-sharing this LiveChat Transcript from May 20, 2020 as we wind down our school semester, and take stock of what the ongoing disaster of the pandemic is doing to ourselves, our schools, and our students and their families. Fortunately, we have a fantastic SSW at SSWNetwork, Ms. Hope Bray from Netwown, CT, who shared how she has been working for years now as a trainer and clinician delivering the Bounce Back Program as a component of her school district’s trauma-informed care work, work that became ever more vital after the Sandy Hook school shootings of December 14, 2012. Thanks again Hope for sharing all your evidence-informed practice wisdom with us!
We had a great conversation that day on SSWNetwork about ideas for a trauma-informed re-opening response for both the COVID-19 crisis and the BLM uprising that was happening around the country, and that is still challenging all of us as we head into 2021.
I’m posting some additional LiveChats from our Loyola SMHAPP students and others who joined us on SSWNetwork before the pandemic changed a lot of how we live and how we do SSW. My co-host for this chat, Ms. Shannon Sterling of our Loyola SMHAPP Certificate, hosted the week of January 20, 2020 on our network and along with fellow SMHAPP colleague Samantha Prystawik, posted a bunch of excellent resources and ideas in their post “Getting Real About Educator Mental Health”) and this work has only become more necessary as we all head towards the end of 2020 with the pandemic still very much impacting all of us. We invite you to read this chat and let us know over at SSWNetwork what you think are the main issues for you and your schools now as we prepare to take a well-deserved rest and then start our school mental health work in 2021.
“Over the years, I’ve come across so many different SEL programs geared towards gen ed students and students on the spectrum — I’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t really work with my students, and then some things that actually resonated with them. I figured a good “jumping off point” for my SSWN post was to share some of the curriculum I’ve used that has been successful with my students in captivating their attention and helping them learn social skills.”
New article from IJSSW: “Quantitative data from Likert-scale items suggested that respondents felt generally underprepared for practice upon entering the field. This lack of preparation was felt generally and in regard to four areas of school-specific practice: knowledge of education policy, knowledge of special education, knowledge of school-based assessments and knowledge of school-based interventions.”
What I’ve learned over the years working with a multitude of school teams is that it’s easy to mistakenly think that students require Tier 2 or Tier 3 interventions when in reality Tier 1 needs to be strengthened.
Allowing our children to firmly plant themselves in uneven turf that consists of disappointment, challenge, and hurt ultimately promotes skills and introduces children to their assets. These experiences build on one another and lead to increased confidence and a robust sense of self. I have had a front-row seat to watching the students at my school navigate the return back to school this year. Not unlike the vines, their return has been fraught with the less than ideal routines and conditions of wearing masks, one-way aisles, spaced desks, lessons via Zoom, and outdoor classrooms. And like the vines, they have had to create new paths to find the sunlight and a new comfort level – and they have done it with grace and adaptability.
We are in the business of unmasking. Look beyond the surface. Unmask the discriminatory policies that prevent our clients from getting the assistance they need, unmask their learning difficulties that prevent their functioning in school, unmask their symptoms to tailor appropriate interventions to their needs.