Niagara Falls City School District (NFCSD) is using the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant initiative to provide new wraparound support services to students and families. Key activities include:
- providing direct emotional support to students in school by placing up to 15 mental health interns in all district schools;
- partnering with a local counseling agency to provide individual and family counseling to students and families;
- training and coaching district staff on trauma-informed care; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and other mental health topics; and
- utilizing the District Social-Emotional Learning Committee to create a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support.
Interns collaborate with supervising mental health staff members to offer family outreach and support to teachers and other staff members. In addition to providing significantly more direct mental health services to students and families, a key focus of the project is to use data to build a strong Multi-Tiered System of Support through the implementation of behavioral screeners as well as monitoring student data to assign students to appropriate intervention tiers.
NFCSD used project funds to purchase a SEL behavioral screening tool through Pearson. This screening tool will determine the social-emotional needs of students so they can be placed into an appropriate intervention tier. The screener was piloted among students in Grades K-2 in 2020-2021.
The District Social-Emotional Learning Committee will meet regularly to determine the roll-out of the social emotional behavior screening tool for students in Grades 3-12 in the 2021-2022 school year. Trainings will be offered to staff on the behavior screening tool and how to implement the tool.
Monitoring Student Data
The District Social-Emotional Learning Committee monitors student data and collaborates with the local evaluator, Via Evaluation (VIA), for data collection and evaluation. To create consistent practices across schools for identifying students who need attendance interventions, VIA applied the research of Hedy Change at Attendance Works (click to learn more) to analyze student attendance data to determine which students were in each of the four attendance categories: Satisfactory, At-Risk, Chronic, and Severe Chronic.
Attendance data were presented to the District Social-Emotional Learning Committee by school. Representatives from each school were able to identify which students were in each attendance category so that a consistent supportive intervention could be assigned.
NFCSD is eager to continue this work in the next school year and beyond. The needs of students and families has never been greater.
Project Director, Grants Coordinator, Teacher on Special Assignment
Senior Evaluation Project Manager