As a member of the 2018-2020 SMHAPP cohort (c/o Loyola University – Chicago), I was asked to develop a ‘school change project.’ I was tasked with identifying a problem that I hoped to investigate, use research and data to develop a plan, implement said plan to address the problem, and report the results and insights gained. This is what I did and what I learned.
“That’s helpful information, but next time, could you please talk about high schools?” This comment was feedback from a school where I had given a presentation. All of the content was from high schools, but I just forgot to be explicit that all of it was from and for secondary schools. That is where I learned a valuable lesson that if an example did not happen in a high school, it did not happen.
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.
My name is Krista Sodt and I am a school social worker at a PK-4 elementary school near Seattle. I am in my 3rd year working in this position. I am also in my final year of the School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) certificate at Loyola. Through that program I have reflected on, and continued to refine my practice. I have evaluated our current programming through an evidence-informed lens, and identified opportunities for improvement. I would like to share with you one effort that I am leading, to transform Tier One behavioral support in my building. First, I’ll share where I began.