El Rancho Unified School District ACCESS Program

El Rancho Unified School District (CA), an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling (ESSC) grant recipient, used their ESSC funds to hire eight school-based mental health counselors (i.e. school social workers), provide all school sites professional development on early warning signs of students with mental health concerns, and establish a district-wide referral process known as ACCESS. The ACCESS process pairs screened students with mental health counselors directly at the school site. Throughout the course of the grant mental health counselors provided evidenced-based individual and group counseling services as well as teacher training on early warning signs of mental health concerns, consultation, crisis support services, and staff training on mental health issues such as the impact of trauma on student performance in school. As the ESSC grant period concludes, the district has witnessed a culture shift that has paved the way for implementation of new programs such as Restorative Practices, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).