To support training interns through the work of the Mental Health Service Professional grant, the Pennsauken Public Schools (NJ) team developed what they call “Mastery Mondays,” a full-day training seminar program.
On Mastery Mondays, interns are introduced to counseling techniques through immersive exposure in group counseling modalities. There are also presentations on topics such as behavior de-escalation, understanding the state’s special education code, and various learning styles. Activities to date have included roleplays in active listening and facilitating SEL lessons, and presentations and practice addressing anxiety in children. Buy-in from district staff has been a key driver of the program’s success. Presenters have included a veteran learning consultant, school social workers, occupational therapists, and school psychologists—all from within Pennsauken’s ranks. Future mental health professionals are gaining insight and experience in working cohesively in a school setting with multiple modalities and with various professionals to maximize student support. See a sample agenda for a Mastery Monday below.
This program also provides interns a safe space of support to practice skills prior to their encounters with students, as they continue to grow as future mental health practitioners. Of note, this safe space includes an actual physical space—called “Pennsauken University” that can be used on an ongoing basis. The room is dedicated to the interns. It is filled with various collaborative learning spaces, an infrastructure that integrates technology, a counseling resource library, and flexible seating options. See photos of the room below.
As Thomas Cox, project director of the grant, shares: “Mastery Mondays are giving our interns strength, confidence, and skills to be effective mental health professionals in their practice now and in their future careers.”
MASTERY MONDAY AGENDA
Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant
November 15, 2021
8:00am - 3:00pm
Pennsauken High School - Room 301