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Social and Emotional Well Being

In planning for our re-entry in September, FEH BOCES has formed task force teams to examine the guidance provided by the Department of Health and NYSED for our re-entry in the fall and we are also partnering with The International Center for Leadership in Education strategizing for re-entry and beyond. Our partnership includes three modules, and our first module includes 12 hours of executive coaching focused on SEL. Our work is grounded in our beliefs the most equitable opportunities for educational success relies upon the comprehensive support for students and families provided in our schools with our professionals and the systems of support we have built. These supports include academics as well as the social and emotional well-being of our students. We are committed to prioritizing social emotional well-being, not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social and emotional space to access rigorous academic content with confidence. In support of this belief, a Social-Emotional Learning team will be created consisting of certified teachers, certified school counselors, and school administrators. This task force team will be created to develop a cohesive and strategic plan, regardless of the re-entry phase, to support students and staff upon for the 2020-2021 school year; this includes a means to identify and actively support student and staff well-being and mental health concerns through a range of pre-determined tactics to be employed by those dealing with difficult situations. This plan will focus specifically on how to best support students and staff in a blended learning model scenario, which includes a mix of both in-person and virtual classroom instruction. This plan includes considerations for teams to rapidly transition between face-to-face and continuous remote learning, which may be required based on the pandemic.

Research shows the importance of mental and emotional well-being for students and staff, which has both psychological and ultimately academic outcomes. We know, after this prolonged closure, many of our students and staff will require social-emotional supports to help them re-engage and re-enter work and school. As a BOCES, our commitment is to create emotionally and physically safe, supportive and engaging learning environments promoting all students’ social and emotional well-being and development. The pandemic has elevated the role of leaders in creating conditions helping students practice empathy, create social bonds across distance and adapt to new learning experiences. Counselors, school based health programs, and wrap around supports will play an extremely important role in the adjustment period when buildings reopen and access to school counselors and school-based health programs will be invaluable supports to our students. It will be critical to determine which students might be at risk for needing mental health supports. School counselors and administrators will be equipped with tools and information needed to see each child through a social emotional lens. We remain committed to supporting all students and maintain our whole child commitment as well as equipping all staff to connect, heal, and build capacity to support our students. Supports will include resources from the FEH BOCES Instructional Support Team and BOCES Counselors. Additionally, all FEH BOCES employees have access to the MD Live virtual counseling services through Excellus BCBS. Information about all social-emotional supports will be made widely available to the FEH BOCES through the online Community at FEH and on our FEH BOCES website. We are committed to developing/making accessible family/caregiver-appropriate social and emotional learning (SEL) content to be used during all phases of our re-entry.

Transitions are important every year, and they will be even more important this fall returning from continuous remote learning to in-person instruction in buildings or a phased in approach to in-person instruction. Districts should support transitions in a culturally responsive manner and engage students, families, and communities in the process of identifying needs and supports. Transitions take many forms and include returning to school in the fall, moving from one grade band to another, or dealing with the varying emotional needs as a result of the health pandemic.

As school and district personnel adapt to environments that result in substantially less time spent interacting in-person, ensuring intentional and meaningful inclusion of social emotional learning (SEL) across all aspects of operating strategies is critical to support the well-being and success of students, staff, and families. Along with physical health and well-being, schools and districts must also prioritize social emotional well-being – not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur.

Ensure that a district-wide and building-level comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan, developed under the direction of certified school counselor(s), is reviewed and updated to meet current needs.

  • Administrators, teachers and counselors will provide monthly voluntary wellness and support check-ins for staff, families and students via google forms.
  • When in a remote learning environment only, virtual student check-ins will be either individual or small group as appropriate with guiding prompts to support the counselor/teacher or whomever is collecting this data.
  • A flowchart of support services and contact information will be created and distributed for students/families/teachers when an individual identified is at risk.
  • Students will continue to access home district SEL programming and events when offered.
  • Individualized student support and interventions with school counselors will be utilized as needed.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Training will be provided for all staff working with students.
  • Link to district comprehensive school counseling plans:

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Establish an advisory council, shared decision-making, school climate team, or other collaborative working group comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and/or district/charter leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers including school social workers and/or school psychologists to inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan.

  • Develop a BOCES wide social emotional wellness committee made up of counselors, educators, and administrators to focus on culture and climate.
  • Develop a regional SEL committee to support one another, provide professional learning and leadership opportunities to support systemic integration of SEL.

Address how the school/district will provide resources and referrals to address mental health,behavioral, and emotional support services and programs.

  • A flowchart of support services and contact information will be created and distributed for students/families/teachers when a child is at risk.
  • BOCES counselors will collaborate with the student's home district and defer to their comprehensive school counselor’s plans.
  • FEH BOCES will collaborate with community agencies to provide lists and resources for students, staff, and families.
  • Access resources available through the School Library System for all component districts, these include the Rosen Interactive eBook series on Social and Emotional Well-being with instructional support and guidance in using the resources. All middle and high school students have access to the Rosen Teen Health and Wellness database.

Address professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff.

FEH BOCES will provide educational and support staff with professional learning opportunities grounded in SEL. Staff would learn the CASEL framework and strategies that support the five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships skills, and responsible decision making.

  • Take time to cultivate and deepen relationships, build partnerships and plan for SEL.
  • Foster new relationships that elevate student and family voice.
  • Use two-way communication strategies
  • Examine the impact of SEL efforts (surveys monthly)
  • Design opportunities where adults can connect, heal, and build their capacity to support students
  • Allow space for connection and healing among adults
  • Ensure access to mental health and trauma support
  • Identify opportunities for innovation and antiracist practices (reimaging distance learning, culturally responsive teaching, and approaches to equity)
  • Provide embedded monthly professional learning for all staff, students, and families to engage in:
  • SEL for adults including Stress Management and Mindfulness Strategies
  • Restorative Circles for adult and student engagement
  • Trauma informed strategies
  • Create safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments that promote all students SEL
  • Build adult-student and peer relationships
  • Integrate SEL into all BOCES programs and curriculum,see 3 Signature Practices
  • Discuss the impact of the pandemic and any other inequities experienced
  • Collaborate with families and partners
  • NYSED SEL Poster Campaign will be utilized around BOCES building to promote SEL strategies and supports.
  • Train staff to look for warning signs for quarantine related mental health needs
  • Train staff on how to access crisis support and other mental health services
  • Use data as an opportunity to share power, deepen relationships, and continuously improve support
  • Elevate student voice in reflecting an acting on data, barriers to attendance, learning engagement and action planning
  • Support educators in reflecting on instruction and environment-The Community at FEH BOCES
  • Partner with families and community members to improve
  • BOCES Instructional Support Services staff will provide Youth Mental Health First Aid training for all educational staff during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to provide lists and resources for students, staff, and families.