NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– When students return to the classroom next week, some for the first time in a year and a half, school districts are making sure mental health is just as protected as physical health.
That’s why the staff at North Syracuse Central School District is implementing new and existing resources to make sure their students’ social and emotional needs are met.
“I think initially there will be the excitement about being back and then I think a lot of the mental health and behavioral issues that may have been under the surface will start emerging and so I think we can expect just about anything,” Director of Social Emotional Learning and Social Studies, Lisa Goldberg said.
Their services go beyond daily lessons in the classroom though. For the first time, the district will bring what Onondaga County calls Promise Zone Specialists to its schools for students needing emotional and behavioral help beyond what the building staff can offer. They also plan to extend the Liberty Resources year-round mental health clinics for students and their families from five clinics to six.
“Increasingly we understand that we need to be in full-blown partnership with families, families can’t do it alone and schools can’t do it alone,” Goldberg said.
The district has also added two Restorative Practice Specialists and two Family Engagement Specialists to further work with students and their families on social and emotional needs throughout the school year.
Social and emotional learning is something that can be taught at home too. The New York State Office of Mental Health recently released a new video series to help parents and students prepare for the new school year. You can find the full video series here.