Mental Health Service Professional grant recipients Greg Hickey and Heather Ormiston, PhD, know how to partner strategically and effectively.
Greg, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Mental Health Specialist with Region 15 Education Service Center in Texas, works with school counselors in 45 districts, whereas Heather, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and Health Service Provider in Psychology, and the Director of the School-Based Mental Health Research and Training Initiative at Indiana University Bloomington, works with just one district in Indiana and with school psychologists. Despite their differences, both Greg and Heather have leveraged and maintained effective partnerships with both local universities and community organizations.
Of the strategies they employ to maintain these partnerships, Greg and Heather credit the use of a multi-tiered system of support, model, and framework as main tools of their partnerships’ success. Heather relays that a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework helps to keep the school, community, and partners all in touch and aware of who does what, who is in contact with whom, and how often. This awareness is key in the sustainability of partnerships through an integrated system in which all partners know what their role is and how to do it. Greg agrees that a common language is important to address training needs and that a MTSS helps provide that.
In addition to a MTSS, Greg and Heather highlight the importance of less-formalized partnerships with local community agencies and organizations. Greg claims awareness of local agencies that already exist is key in initiating effective partnerships. Talking routinely, showing up to regional meetings, and being a present and visible part of the community are vital for partnership building. Heather agrees about the importance of these partnerships and highlights the necessity in recognizing that these community organizations share a similar goal of serving children and their families.
To hear more from Greg and Heather and their partners, listen to their episode of In Session: Partnering Strategically and Effectively with Dr. Heather Ormiston and Greg Hickey | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE)